FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Peace is a Process, Not a Single Act, No Matter How Historic
A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
The world is a little safer today than it was yesterday. Talking is always better than threats. Lunch always preferable to launching missiles. Dialogue over death and destruction every time.
Yet it is uncertain what exactly came out of the hours of negotiations and nibbling at the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. Not much, the pundits say. Photo ops and smiles, mostly. Nothing concrete.
Clearly, peace is a process, not a single act, no matter how historic. It’s been 70 years of bloodshed and bitterness. It will take time.
Nevertheless, the handshake and face-to-face meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un was a hopeful step up the slippery slope of peace and denuclearization of the peninsula.
Both leaders are to be commended for their persistence in making the summit happen, sometimes over the objections of their hawkish advisors and political allies – and sometimes despite themselves.
Still there is much more work and many more handshakes, meetings, negotiations and compromises – on both sides – to go before we can exhale and the threat of “fire and fury” consuming the Korean peninsula and maybe much of the rest of the world is extinguished.
Think how tight we hold on to our nuclear arsenal – and we are the most powerful nation in the history of the earth. Our leaders would laugh out loud and tweet all night if another country, especially one of our enemies, asked us to give up our bombs.
De-nuke, are they crazy?
One key player in the pursuit of peace on the peninsula was missing from the summit, South Korea President Moon Ja-in. He should be at the table. He built it.
The thaw began when South Korea invited the North to take part in the Winter Olympics. Kim Jong-un sent a team and his sister, one of his closest advisors, to the games. President Moon and Kim Jong-un shook hands and held a unity meeting in the DMZ, a sight many thought they would never see. When the proposed summit between North Korea and the United States was derailed, it was President Moon who got it back on track.
The United States should play the constructive role of arbiter as the two Koreas work to heal the wounds of the past and build bridges to a future of family reunification after so many decades of hatred, fear and separation.
Early Monday morning, on the eve of the summit between the United States and North Korea, I attended a special prayer service just outside of Chicago with Korean-American community leaders, ministers and other members of the clergy, including Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Rev. Martin Lee and Bishop Sally Dyck, at the First Korean United Methodist Church in Wheeling, IL.
We prayed – as did millions of people around the world – that the summit would be a success and open the door to a lasting peace and family reunification up and down the peninsula. We prayed that the two men in Singapore would have the wisdom to know that war is futile, and the costly machinery of death should be replaced with a peace-industrial complex.
We prayed in English and in Korean. We prayed in silence and we shouted our petitions for peace up to the rafters of the church in the Korean practice of Tongsung Kido – praying together out loud.
We will continue to cry out together loudly – and march, demonstrate and vote – until our prayers are answered and peace and justice and love break out all over the world.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.
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