Thursday, September 20, 2007

Excerpt from Mr. George's Reflection

George Pulikuthiyil
Exec. Director
Jananeethi Institute
Kerala, India

What did I learn from the folk school?

1. The quest for freedom and democratic rights by the people of Asia and their unrelenting sufferings and struggles to achieve their fundamental rights as humans and as civilized body are similar and unequivocal. Democracy, no matter the diverse social, cultural or political hegemonies, was fought and won through eternal vigilance and wary surveillance over decades and for many generations. The cost of democracy was abhorrent sufferings, blood bath, tortured death, physical and mental persecution, unending anguish, pain and unsurmountable perseverance.

2. The brutal dictators, the tyrants, the perpetrators of torture, the power mongers and the irate and monstrous invaders of human and democratic rights make no difference in all countries and at all times. Their language has been violence, their strategy was elimination of critics and opponents, their targets were unhindered abuse of power and misappropriation of the wealth and resources of the nation and deprivation of the human and democratic rights of the people.

3. Democracy means development of people. It means the strengthening of the poor and the marginalized, the weak and vulnerable. It is possible and is successful only where the people are organized, motivated and capable of defending their civil liberties. This needs constructive and diligent educational and capacity building programs, innovative cultural expressions, rigorous monitoring of public governance, responsible citizenship, access to justice and equity, decentralization of power, transparency and accountability of public servants including those in power, and appropriate, scientific documentation.

4. During the 18 days of my stay in Gwangju, enjoying the profound hospitality and patronage of The May 18 Memorial Foundation, I could feel, see, read and learn from class rooms, audio visuals, visits to monumental places, exhibitions, institutions, archives, and further by interacting and exchanging views with people who are living monuments and legends of the epoch making people’s uprising for democracy and human rights against tyranny and oppression in the 1980s.

My appreciation and admiration:

The commitment of 5.18 Memorial Foundation to democracy and human rights and its profound efforts for nurturing its legacies through its progenies are laudable. I place on record my heart-felt thanks and gratitude to every member of the wonderful Team for international cooperation in the Foundation. I wish to express my gratitude to Mr.Hong Gil Lee, the Chairman, Mr.Myungsuk Cha, the Executive Director, Mr.Jintae Jo, the General Secretary and Mr.Chanho Kim, the Director of International Cooperation Team for giving me this opportunity to be part of the 2007 folk school.

I am grateful to my organization, my colleagues in the office for their encouragements and support in this regard. Lastly, I congratulate myself for applying to this prestigious and much coveted training program.

No comments: