leyphoto.com Remembering Gwangju (33 Beispiele von insgesamt 51 Arbeiten)

  • The Provincial Hall of Gwangju city, seen here in the early morning, was a key site during the Gwangju Uprising and Movement for Democratization. In the days leading to May 18, people gathered around the fountain in front of the Provincial Hall and demonstrated against the military dictatorship. Later in the week, the fountain was a meeting point where Gwangju citizens held speeches and rallies and practized direct democracy.

  • JANG DU SUK, born 1938, says he started his underground activities already back "in 1960". Before the Gwangju Uprising started, he fled the town to avoid being arrested. While on the run, his wife and son were beaten and arrested, their house searched. During the days of the uprising, he was hiding during daytime and at night he printed and distributed antigovernment leaflets and pamphlets. Although he was a member of the Citizens Settlement Commitee, "I kept my gun", he says.

    Then, on June 21, he was finally caught, too. "Because the military needed a scapegoat", Jang Du Suk remembers, "I admitted to all charges. I was tortured 1n prison, but did not sign my confession". In the trial Jang Du Suk called out to the judges: "How can you judge me, all you know is killing people". He appealed to the higher court his first sentence of 20 years in prison, which was later finally reduced to 3 years. On October B, 1980, he was pardoned and released. The police and secret service, however, continued to observe him until 1991.

  • On May 18, in front of the Chonnam University intersection, students were battling paratroopers. "I had helped students escape with my car on several occasions", KANG GIL JO says. Because he had a car, the soldiers mistook him for a student leader, smashed the windows and pulled him out. "The soldiers beat me until I lost consciousness", Kang says. "When I woke up, I was on a very slowly moving military truck, and there were several lifeless bodies stapled on top of me. The truck was completely sealed oft, and some soldiers sprinkled teargas powder into the truck and amused themselves as they watched the prisoners suffer in angony. "I tried to breathe, my eyes were burning", Kang says.

    "After arriving at Gwangju Prison, I saw that there were many dead bodies on the truck''. There was a mock execution. Life in Gwangju Prison was hell. The prisoners were tortured, and systematically dehumanized. Kang Gil Jo later testified: " We clamored for water … after having no water for severaldays. A paratrooper said, 'Give them piss'. A soldier relieved himsef in a glass and handed it to us. One of the citizens grabbed it and drank as if he were drinking cold water … We were no longer human beings, we were animals … We ate and went to the bathroom amidst corpses … We had to crawl to the toilet one by one and come back with excrements on our tongues".

  • A torture room in the 505 building of the National Secret Police.

  • Prison cell at Sangmudae Prison. In each  cell like this around 200 inmates were kept.

  • LEE JAY was a junior student at Chonnam University in 1980. "I joined the uprising", he explains, "because I happened to be in the middle of the massacre. A young man was shot just next to me, and scenes like this made us angry and naturally we joined the uprising". On May 18, Lee Jay was watching the events from the post office building near the former bus station. "Paratroopers attacked everybody in the streets, entering houses to look for young protesters", he says. Looking into this tiny alley, he saw soldiers enter the home of an elderly woman, a student had run into her house seeking refuge. "The soldiers beat the woman unconciousness, and dragged the student by his legs out into the street".

    During the following days, he saw many horrible scenes. "On May 24", he admits, "I sneaked out of the city. I told myself, that if we all died in the sealed off city, no one would ever know what had happened here". Lee Jay, who later was arrested and tortured, started with some friends to secretly interview key figures and victims of the uprising some years later." At that time, it was still deadly to do that", he says, but in 1985 I published our research in a book, under the title: 'Gwangju Diary: Beyond Death, Beyond the Darkness of the Age. The Korean edition became an instant underground bestseller, "showing to the world the truth what was happening in isolated Gwangju".

  • On the evening of May 18, the city had sunken into fear and terror. This alley is behind the former bus stop, where during the day many people were arrested, beaten and killed.

  • LEE GYEONG NAM, who today is a Methodist Protestant Priest in Pyeongtaek, started his mandatory military service in 1979. In the camp, he was selected for a special training to become a paratrooper. "On May 18", Lee recalls, "we got the order to move down to Gwangju, where we arrived at 2 am the next day". I was with the 11th division, and we were supposed to crush the students' protests.

    First, we drove around scaring the people, but soon the soldiers started to beat, stab and kill". Having studied theology he knew the difference between good and bad, and did not join the violence and killings. "The soldiers were basically uneducated and brainwashed by the government", he explains, "and trained for fighting behind enemy lines, not for a situation like this". Lee Gyeong Nam's Truck got hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during a friendly fire incident on the highway to Mokpo south of Gwangju on May 24.

    The 10 minute fighting resulted in 40 injured soldiers on both sides, Lee got hit with several pieces of sharpnel and passed out. "After realizing their error'', Lee says, "the soldiers got very frustrated and aggressive, and randomly shot several villagers while driving around".

  • The main Geumnam Avenue was the site of heavy fighting between citizens and paratroopers.

  • The photograph NA GYEONG TAEK, 61, is holding shows an army medic beating an unresisting citizen. "I took this photo in the morning of May 19, 1980", Na Gyeong Taek explains, "from the 8th floor of the Cheonil Building". Like the other professional photographers, he had to secretly shoot his images, "because both sides, citizens and military, did not like reporters. The citizens did not trust the media, because they did not report the truth about what was happening then, and the military did not want us to gather any evidence". So he always hid photographing from higher floors using his telephoto lens. Despite the high risks, Na Gyeong Taek says that "as a photographer, it is simply my job to report and photograph. I knew that I was photographing for the future, as these images would have never been allowed to be published at that time".

  • CHEON OK JU visited Gwangju on May 19 because she had an appointment with a friend. "In the city, I saw many students being arrested by paratroopers", she says. She decided to help, and organized broadcasts with others. "We collected around $470", Cheon Ok Ju says,"and bought an amplifyier. We added a speaker, and first I walked around speaking into the microphone, later we got a bus. Because it was very dangerous outside, especially at night, I dared not to go to the toilet and simply shit in my pants". She broadcasted announcements, encouraged the citizens to join the resistance and cheered them up. Because of that, she became famous as the Jeanne d'Arc of Gwangju.

    Later, at the National Security Headquarter, she was interrogated and tortured. "One guy hit me with his gun above my eye, I was beaten many times with a baseball bat. When they were not satistied with my answer, the torture continued. Nine times they stabbed me near the knee, and I had to pee outside in front of them". Even today, Cheon Ok Ju still gets scared when she sees someone in a uniform.

  • Outside Suchang Elementary School, a young man was hanged upside down, stripped and severely beaten by paratroopers with their batons. He screamend and lost conciousness. The young man's face was a mass of bleeding flesh.

  • On May 19, a military helicopter appeared above the people demonstrating at the banks of Gwangju River. Without warning, the soldiers onboard opened fire, killing and wounding several citizens.

  • During the night of May 19, paratroopers combed the small neighborhoods, arresting citizens and dragging them away into the night.

  • KANG HAE JUNG is a very lovely woman who loves to laugh a lot. 30 years ago, her eldest son had just finished his military service and was working at the Sangmudae office. He advised her to take the family out of Gwangju to a safer place. Kang Hae Jung went near to Junnam village. Accompanied by some of her kids, she watched a bus filled with members of the citizen army drive by on May 20. Then paratrooper snipers fired at the bus. "One of my daughters laid down immediately'', Kang says, "and I did the same. When I lifted my head to check on my children, a bullet hit my eyes from the side. I fell down, tried to crawl, but lost consciousness".

    After 4 days she woke up in the Army Hospital. "I had a totally bandaged head", Kang remembers, "so I didn't know yet that I was blind. Later I tried to lift my eyebadge, but couldn't see anything. Only when I touched my face I realized that my eyeballs were gone, and that indeed I lost my eyesight". She was so shocked by this that she decided to kill herself by refusing any food. More bad news were waiting for her. "My first daughter and her husband went out looking for me", Kang says, "they left their baby alone at home. When the parents came home, they found the baby had fallen in the traditional toilet and was dead". Through the contact of a military priest, she later joined the Catholic faith. "I learnt to accept the loss of my eyesight", Kang says, "and am happy that I survived. Without my religion and Lord Jesus I would not be alive today'', Kang says.

  • Catholic Fathers JO BI O (left) and KIM SUNG YONG, pictured here outside Namdong Church, were both active during the uprising.

    "On May 20", Father Jo Bi O, 73, remembers, ''students were beaten outside the Catholic Center on Gunnamro avenue". All over the city students and youngsters were hunted down and then brutally beaten by paratroopers. "Then I saw the first dead bodies, and the military started to shoot at normal citizens, too". Faced with this onslaught of violence, "I got really angry", Father Jo Bi O says, admitting that "if I had a gun then, I would have shot,too". Instead he worked in the Citizen Settlement Committee, who held first meetings at Namdong Church, and later moved to the Provincial Hall which was occupied by the citizens army. "As a religious person", Father Jo Bi O says, "I wanted to solve this situation peacefully''.

    The Citizen Settlement Commitee tried to negotiate directly with the military, and urged the citizens army to surrender their weapons, "to avoid further Bloodshed". Father Jo Bi O recalls that "although I could understand the position of the falcons who wanted to keep their weapons I was deeply troubled of the prospects of an ongoing battle killing so many more people every day''.

    Father Kim Sung Yong became the spokesperson for the Citizens Settlement Committee. He led the "March Of Death" on May 26, where citizens including Father Jo Bi O walked from the Provincial Hall to the Korea Electricity and Power Company on the outskirts of Gwangju, where the military had gathered their troops and was planning their attack on the liberated city. "It was a tense moment, snipers watched, two tanks had their cannons pointed at us, when we layed down in front of them to force them into negotiations. "As a Catholic priest I was ready to sacrifize my life for my country", Father Kim Sung Yong says. A general suggested to move negotiations to the Sangmudae Prison". There, two star general Kim Ki Sok "admitted to brutality, and told me that they had so many dead bodies that they had to double stack them in iceboxes. He also made the big mistake to reveal that breasts of dead women had been cut off by soldiers. Because the general repeated that he only was following orders and couldn't do anything, the negotiations failed, and I told him that I would escape to tell the world what was happening in Gwangju". Surprisingly, they let him walk away. Later that day, Father Kim indeed made his way out of Gwangju. With his dark tan and long hair, "Idid not look like a priest". Not many Koreans at that time carried IDs, "mine looked like a passport. After learning at one barricade that the soldiers spoke no English, I pretended to be a foreigner from then on and was never hassled. I must have had divine protection".

  • YOON JE CHEON (right) and JANG MYEONG HUN (left) were taxi drivers during May 1980, both joined the uprising.

    Yoon Je Cheon was pulled out of his taxi and severely beaten, resulting in many broken bones. He managed to escape and stumbled home. There, he hid in his own house. Terrified and full of fear, and didn't even dare to go to the hospital. He was unable to work for one year.

    Jang Myeong Hun joined the big taxi and bus convoy on May 20, which drove to the Provincial Hall. "Near the Cheonil Building", he says, "I was attacked by paratroopers and nearly killed, but some brave citizens rescued me".

    Both men still need to visit the hospital weekly, for pain and other treatment.

  • AHN SUNG RAE (third from left) was a nurse at the Christian Hospital during the uprising in Gwangju. They had about 500 patients every day. Several times, until June, a 505 secret police team from Seoul visited her at the hospital, always at night. They treatened her and demanded to be allowed to look through patients charts. "They wanted to identify student leaders, and take them to the Army Hospital for interrogation", she says. Her mother was famous at that time, so they did not dare to touch her, but threatened her family and friends. But Ahn Sung Rae bravely resisted all threats, and never gave up one single patient to the authorities.

    After the uprising, Ahn continued to be active in the Movement for Democracy. In 1990, she visited Argentina, where in the 70s and 80th thousands of men, women and children disappeared during the reign of the military junta. The victims' mothers had build Mother Houses, where they could meet, and Ahn was very impressed with them. Inspired by these women in Argentina, she opened her May Mother House in Gwangju in 1996. Twice a week, up to 60 Korean ladies meet there, to talk, to support each other and to do yoga together.

  • MOON GWI DOK, now 80, is clearly still traumatized bv the loss of her youngest child. On May 21, 1980, seventeen-year old Park Geum Hee secretely donated blood at the Christian Hospital like the days before. On her way home, her bus was ambushed by paratrooper snipers, killing the young high school student.

    "My daughter just wanted to donate blood", her mother says,"she was an active girl, and good and well-liked student". Moon Gwi Dok recalls that it was her daughter's dream to find a good job after graduation, so "we all can move to a bigger house". "After they killed my child", Moon Gwi Dok says, "everything died inside me".

    Today she suffers from heart problems and other serious ailments, and from depression.

  • PARK SANG CHOL was living near the Provincial Hall in 1980. On May 21, the 14 year-old boy went there to watch the demonstrations. He was standing on the side, when the soldiers suddenly opened fire at the crowds, killing and wounding many. "Everywhere was blood and cries, everybody tried to run for safety", Park remembers. He got shot in the spine, and is confined to a wheelchair ever since.

    He suffers extreme pain nonstop to this day, and needs 500 heavy painkillers every month. Because of the pills, he has difficulties to wake up in the morning. Because the obtainable amount per month from one hospital is much lower than the 500 pills he needs, he has to collect his medication by visiting several hospitals. Once a year he has to go to Seoul for two months for treatment, and 10 years ago he travelled to the US. Unfortunately, the pain remains.

  • PARK NAM SUN, here photographed on the roof of the Provincial Hall, already was a powerfuland well-connected man in 1980. "When I learned that my younger brother has been seriously beaten by paratroopers on May 18", Park says,"I was full of rage. Together with some friends, we went out in the streets looking for some soldiers we could attack". On March 21, Park whitnessed the shooting of demonstrators in front of the Provincial Hall, "and we started to think how we could defend ourselves against this strong military threat". So they went to the Asia Motors factory to get some armored trucks and armed themselves at various police stations and army depots. They had installed a heavy machine gun on the roof of the Chonnam University Hospital, "and we fired it from there towards the Provincial Hall, which was still occupied by the military". At 5.30pm, the military started to retreat, Gwangju was briefly liberated for 5 days. The next day, Park Nam Sun became the leader ot the Citizen Army, headquartered in the Provincial Hall.

    During the final assault on the Provincial Hall in the early morning hours of May 27, Park Nam Sun moved up to the second floor. "The paratroopers were everywhere in the dark building", Park remembers,. "There was gunfire everywhere. It was hard to tell who was friend and who was enemy. Then I heard a soldier shouting at me 'don't move', and I was arrested".

    At the 505 building, he got tortured many times. "They drilled needles under my fingernails", Park says, "and I lost all teeth due to the beatings". He was moved around various prisons, and on October 23, sentenced to death. "My wrists and ankles were tied together", he says, "so I could only move like a puppet. They put me and 3 other people in a room of the size of a door, after I complained that I was not allowed to see my family. There were icicles hanging from the ceiling, and we had to eat like dogs".

  • In the following nights, nobody dared to go outside again.

  • Today the Army Hospital is abandoned and sealed off.

  • LEE CHU JA (left) was three months pregnant and at home when a stray bullet hit her in the belly on May 22. "I fell down and passed out", Lee says, "and was carried to the Army Hospital. On the 23rd, the doctor decided to operate on me to retrieve the bullet despite the high risks involved". Because of her baby, she had to endure the whole operation fully awake and without anesthesia. In early June, her name was called up and she was brought to a room in the first basement of the hospital. "There were many young people in there, and they were tortured by military people", Lee says. "Then one soldier started shouting at me 'you bitch, you bitch' and hit me on my shoulders and legs with a stick for a long time. Even when I pleaded with him that I was pregnant, he did not stop". Finally, he stopped and said that they got the wrong person and that she could go home now. Lee Chu Ja's baby, miraculously, survived.

    LEE SUNG SOON (right) also was at her home on May 22, when a bullet fired by paratroopers hit her in the chest. "I was unconsciousness for 10 days in the Army Hospital before I woke up", Lee Sung Soon says. "I lost my right breast". In the hospital, she met Lee Chu Ja and they became friends. "Every morning", Lea Sun Soon says, "they wheeled me off in a wheelchair to interrogations and beatings". Today, she still has bullet parts in her body and needs to go to the hospital regulary, and the emotional scars remain, too.

  • IM YOUNG SOO was 26 years old at that time. He just had finished his mandatory military service and was looking for a job. "After seeing students brutally being beaten on May 17", he explained, I joined the uprising'. On May 22 he got shot two times in the left leg in front of Provincial Hall. Laying defenseless on the ground, some paratroopers beat him and stabbed him in the ribs and back. When lm Young Soo grabbed the bajonet with his bare hands to avoid further stabbing, one soldier got really angry and slammed the butt of the gun into his head, the injuries are still visible today. Later, he got arrested, interrogated, tortured and was kept two times in solitary confinement.

  • Some villagers were arrested and severely beaten by some soldieres. Two different soldiers got the order to take two prisoners, whose faces were totally bloody and swollen, away for execution. After they shot them on this exact location in the bushes near Nokdong Village, the paratroopers went through the belongings and ID cards of the dead men. One of the soldiers was shocked to discover that he just had killed a cousin.

  • Corpses of victims were laid out in the Sangmugwan Gymnasium, so that relatives could identify loved ones.

  • HONG SUNG DAM today is a well-known established artist. "During the uprising", he says, "I was making banners and posters". He was especially impressed how the citizens equally shared food during the brief days of liberation, "and it reminded me of the bible where Jesus shares his food with the 12 apostles". On May 26, he was sharing a last cigarette with citizens army spokesperson Yun Sang Won. "There was a rumor about an imminent attack by the military", Hong Sung Dam remembers, "and Yoon Sang Won knew that his destiny was death. Watching the cigarette smoke dissolve into the air, he wondered if their battle for freedom would equally disappear. That was the last time I saw him".

  • Only streetlamps illuminate one of the corridors inside the Provincial Hall at night. The building currently stands empty and has no electricity, evoking the eerie mood of 30 years earlier, when armed citizens took position at these windows to prepare for the final assault of the paratroopers.

  • PARK BYEONG JUN (left) and NA IL SUNG were members of the citizens army. When the citizens armed themselves, Park Byeong Jun felt that ''we really are one as citizens. People really stood united and fought together, and strangers fed us riceballs". When the military attacked the Provincial Hall in the early hours of May 21, he was shot in the left leg." I saw my mother's face pass by in front of my eyes", he recalls, "but do not remember anything else". His left leg had to be amputated days later.

    Na Il Sung was 19 at the time. After the first violent days, his cousin brought the 19 year old Na II Sung to safety in Seoul, "but I decided to go back and joined the citizens army on May 23". His duty was the safeguarding of food supplies and oil. After his arrest, he was tortured at the 505 building, and still needs constant medical attention today.

  • The younger sister of Son Byeoung seop was bayonetted to death during the uprising. "When you see such senseless and cruel killings", Son says, "you automatically join the struggle of the protesters". Son was heavily beaten during the uprising, and still suffers physically and mentally. "My memory is fuzzy sometimes", he says, "and sometimes I had difficulties to find my way around".

    For 10 years, he couldn't get a job due to his mental condition, and he couln't talk to others. He seperated from his wife and family, and lives alone in an old isolated house in Gwangju, "because I did not want to be a burden to them".

    Today, he suffers from all kinds of aliments, "except cancer". To forget the pain and to combat frequent nightmares, he needs 17 different medicines and alcohol. "That's why my body is not normal", he says.
    20 years ago, he changed his life. He started to work as a newspaper delivery man, and also collects cans, bins and bottles. With this income, he started to fund scholarships for poor students, and he also helps elderly or disabled people who are living alone. Today, he is heading a prize winning NGO with 18 representatives, and they continue to receive individual and corporate donations.

    "I got the idea of helping others in need", he explains, "because once, when I was laying down unconciousness in the street, nobody helped me. Only a 11 year old boy got some water for me, and I was touched by his kindness".

  • At the May 18 National Cemetary, names and photographs of hundreds of victims are displayed. The real number of all victims will never been known.