A South Korean documentary film was screened Thursday, depicting how local residents learned to love their hometown and homeland, while fighting against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).
"Blue Butterfly Effect," directed by Park Moon-chil, showed residents in the Seongju county, North Gyeongsang province who have protested against the U.S. missile shield's deployment for the past year.
The government under impeached President Park Geun-hye announced its decision in July last year to install one THAAD battery in the country's southeastern region. The deployment site was changed in September to a golf course at Soseong-ri village to the northern part of the county.
Since the announcement, Seongju residents have held a candlelight rally every night. People in Gimcheon city joined the everyday demonstration as it borders the county.
Anti-THAAD protesters in Seongju were mostly mothers who started to fight against the deployment for the safety of their children. The THAAD's AN/TPY-2 radar is known to emit super microwaves detrimental to human body and the environment.
The film, which won the documentary award at the 18th Jeonju International Film Festival earlier this year, focused on how the ordinary mothers indifferent to politics turned themselves into brave warriors against the conservative Park government.
The North Gyeongsang province, including the Seongju county, was a traditional home turf for then ruling Saenuri Party, the predecessor of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, as well as the ousted president Park.
One of the residents, featured in the film, said most people in Seongju unconditionally voted for the Saenuri Party in the past, but everything has changed since the THAAD deployment decision in their hometown.
The mothers, who started to fight for their children, learned later that the U.S. missile interception system was not needed anywhere in the Korean Peninsula as well as in their hometown.
They came to recognize that their protest against the THAAD deployment was an opportunity to learn how to love their neighbors and their home country.
By producing the ribbon of "blue butterfly," a symbol of peace and their fight against the U.S. weapons, together, Seongju residents began to know how to share and sympathize with their neighbors in everyday life.
After watching distorted South Korean media reports on what happened in Seongju, people recognized that their indifference to the pain of neighbors, including the bereaved families of the Sewol ferry disaster, boomeranged.
The country's worst maritime disaster in April 2014 killed over 300 passengers, mostly high school students on their school trip to the southern resort island of Jeju.
The documentary film ended with a TV footage, in which U.S. soldiers drove trucks to deliver the first elements of the THAAD to the golf course at the Soseong-ri village by violently suppressing the villagers, mostly in their 70s or older.
It showed their fight has never ended. The THAAD deployment is one of the most complicated issues that the new South Korean government must resolve. President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10 after winning a landslide victory in the country's first presidential by-election.
The U.S. forces stationed in South Korea transported two mobile launchers on March 6 to the golf course. About two weeks before the presidential election, four more launchers were delivered to a U.S. military base near Seongju.
One THAAD battery is composed of six mobile launchers, 48 interceptors, the AN/TPY-2 radar and the fire and control unit.