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Bible Speaks

Amnesty International publishes the story of a Jehovah's Witness from South Korea.

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    • Guest
      By Guest
      Behind this large sign is a double Kingdom Hall in a three story building complete with elevator. The Congregation we attended today has 115 publishers, 20 elders, 7 ministerial servants, and 62 regular pioneers, two special pioneers. These very active brothers and sisters also host a Japanese Group. By Ecua_gringo
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
    • Guest
      By Guest
      The vast majority of the Seoul population live in secured high rise buildings. Thus the most effective way to reach them is through the literature carts positioned in high traffic areas. These brothers were assigned to the exit of a major department store. By ecua_ ringo
    • By The Librarian
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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      he 23-year-old Jehovah's Witness Muhammetali Saparmyradov was jailed for one year in March for refusing compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. He has joined 11 other jailed conscientious objectors in the labour camp in Seydi. Labour camp officials refused to discuss their prison conditions with Forum 18.
      Another conscientious objector to Turkmenistan's compulsory military service has been jailed. A court in the south-eastern town of Bayramaly sentenced 23-year-old Muhammetali Saparmyradov to one year's imprisonment in March. He has since joined 11 other jailed conscientious objectors in the labour camp in Seydi in eastern Turkmenistan. All are Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Saparmyradov is the second Jehovah's Witness conscientious objector known to have been jailed so far in 2019. Eleven are known to have been jailed in 2018, 10 of whom are still serving their sentences (see below).
      The 12 Jehovah's Witnesses imprisoned for their conscientious objection to military service - all aged between 18 and 25 – are serving one or two year jail terms (see full list below)
      Turkmenistan offers no alternative service for those unable to perform compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. The United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe have repeatedly called for the government to introduce such an alternative (see below).
      Turkmenistan has ignored 11 United Nations Human Rights Committee Decisions – the most recent published in April - that jailing conscientious objectors violated their rights. It also ignored another Decision published in April that the rights of two Jehovah's Witnesses jailed on fabricated pornography charges were violated (see below).
      Conscientious objector jailed in Bayramaly
      Muhammetali Charygeldiyevich Saparmyradov (born 11 November 1995) is a Jehovah's Witness from Bayramaly in Mary Region, east of the capital Ashgabad. He refused his regular call-up to compulsory military service.
      Prosecutors then brought a case against Saparmyradov under Criminal Code Article 219, Part 1 ("Rejecting call-up to military service"). They handed his case to Bayramaly City Court. At his trial on 19 March, the Judge sentenced him to one year's ordinary regime labour camp, Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18.
      As Saparmyradov had not been held in pre-trial detention, he was arrested immediately after the court hearing.
      Saparmyradov and his mother decided not to appeal against his conviction, Jehovah's Witnesses added.
      The authorities then transferred Saparmyradov to serve his sentence at the ordinary regime labour camp in the desert near Seydi, in Lebap Region. (The prison now seems to use the designation LB-E/12, not LB-K/12.) Many other prisoners of conscience jailed to punish them for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief have been held in the camp, where torture is said to be routine and prisoners are denied their freedom of religion and belief and other rights.
      The address of the Seydi Labour Camp is:
      746222 Lebap velayat
      Seydi
      uchr. LB-E/12
      Turkmenistan
      Saparmyradov was the second conscientious objector known to have been jailed in 2019. The first, Azamatjan Narkulyev, was given a one-year jail term on 7 January.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      The law allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription was ruled discriminatory by Finland's Parliament.

      Parliament on Wednesday turned over a law that has allowed male members of Jehovah’s Witnesses to skip military or civilian service without facing a prison term. The exemption dating from 1987 has long been considered problematic from a constitutional standpoint.
      Last year, the Helsinki Court of Appeal ruled that the Finnish practice of allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription is discriminatory. The ruling related to a discrimination case brought by a man who was imprisoned in 2016 for refusing conscripted service.
      Under current legislation Jehovah's Witnesses may postpone their entry into service for three years at a time (starting at age 18), until their obligation officially ceases at age 29.
      Proponents of the religious faction say their objection is rooted in their pacifist reading of the Bible. With the exception of women, who have never been legally bound to enter conscription, no other groups in Finland have had the same right.

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    • By The Librarian
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The Minister of justice has announced that on Friday, 30 November 2018 all conscientious objectors who have fulfilled at least one third of their 30-month sentence will be placed on probation. Therefore, 57 of the 64 Jehovah's witnesses who are currently in prison must be released. We hope that the other seven brothers will obtain freedom by turning six months in jail.

      This early release has been possible following the historic decision of the supreme court of 1 November 2018 that recognizes the conscientious objection as "justifiable reason" to refuse to perform military service.




    • By The Librarian
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The Minister of justice has announced that on Friday, 30 November 2018 all conscientious objectors who have fulfilled at least one third of their 30-month sentence will be placed on probation. Therefore, 57 of the 64 Jehovah's witnesses who are currently in prison must be released. We hope that the other seven brothers will obtain freedom by turning six months in jail.

      This early release has been possible following the historic decision of the supreme court of 1 November 2018 that recognizes the conscientious objection as "justifiable reason" to refuse to perform military service.




    • By The Librarian
      Court set to rule on fate of conscientious objectors later this year, as human rights groups call for forms of alternative service 

      This year, South Korea’s Constitutional Court is supposed to rule on the constitutionality of the Military Service Act, which requires the prosecution of conscientious objectors.This is the third time that the court has tried the case. While the court upheld the constitutionality of the law in 2004 and 2011, there are some cautious predictions that things may turn out differently this time. The Hankyoreh met with people who chose to go to prison instead of serving in the military and heard about their past, their present and what they desperately desire for the future.In March, a lawyer went to prison. Every day, he faces a gray wall in a cramped room, about 4.61 square meters in area. The prisoner is Baek Jong-geon, 32, who passed South Korea’s bar exam in 2008, enrolled in the 40th class at the Judicial Research and Training Institute and was on his way to becoming a lawyer. Baek had violated Article 88 of the Military Service Act, which states that individuals who have been instructed to report for military service and refuse to serve without “justifiable grounds” are to be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison. Baek was the first lawyer to break this law – which is not what you would expect of someone who by profession has to eat, sleep and breathe the law.
      Letters written in prison by lawyer and conscientious objector Baek Jong-geon
      “I still have a vivid memory of what happened,” Baek said, recalling his memories. When a Hankyoreh reporter met him in July, he was sitting on the other side of the glass partition in the visiting room. Baek was four years old when he met his father in the visiting room of the Daegu Prison in 1988. His father, Baek Seung-u, 57, had been court-martialed and imprisoned for insubordination. The elder Baek was a doctor – and a Jehovah’s Witness. 

      Lawyer and conscientious objector Baek Jong-geon enters the courtroom at Seoul Central District Court in Nov. 2011 to hear the verdict in his case. (by Kim Jeong-hyo, staff photographer)
      Baek continued in a steady voice. “I deeply respect the hard work and sacrifices of young people who serve in the military. I want to serve my country as they do, just in a different manner. I fought this for six years in the courts, calling for the introduction of an alternative form of civil service, but I eventually lost, and here I am,” he said. Instead of the word “prison,” the Jehovah’s Witnesses use the word “neutral,” meaning that they are maintaining their military neutrality. Instead of saying that they “go to prison,” they say they “go neutral.” Baek is in prison not so that he can shirk his military service, but rather with the belief that he is staying neutral in military affairs. “The prison guards tell us they know we can’t help being here and that we didn’t commit any crimes,” Baek said. The conscience that put him in prison earns him consideration instead of condemnation. Conscientious objectors are generally given work assignments in the prison where help is needed. They are put in charge of looking after and nursing the elderly and those with dementia and of cleaning the offices used by prison staff. Thus, a sort of alternative service is being practiced inside the prison. Conscientious objectors receive a relatively heavy sentence of 1.5 yearsAccording to the 2015 judicial almanac published by the Supreme Court, 14% of people who are tried each year are sentenced to at least one year in prison, and 6% are sentenced to at least three years in prison (in terms of district court rulings). Conscientious objectors receive a relatively heavy sentence of one year and six months. This one year and six months is the desperate measure that judges take to prevent conscientious objectors from receiving another order to report for duty. A few judges exonerate conscientious objectors on the grounds of the “judge’s conscience.” This year alone, judges issued two not guilty verdicts. These are strictly lower-court rulings that do not follow Supreme Court precedent. A judge at one district court described the situation as follows: “All of us feel uncomfortable with these rulings. The issue could be solved by simply creating an alternative service system, but since there’s no law in place, we have to keep convicting conscientious objectors. Whatever preventive effect the punishment once had has vanished long ago. We keep convicting conscientious objectors, and more keep coming. It’s been the same for decades now. That means that the government should get involved and set up a program.”Some prosecutors apologize to conscientious objectors when bringing charges against them, and some judges even shed tears when reading the sentence. Last year, 493 cases were brought against conscientious objectors; as of August of this year, there were 141. Baek is supposed to be released from prison in September of next year. 

      Lawyer Lim Jae-seong holds a placard calling on the Constitutional Court to make a “just ruling”
      “Peace? Why don’t you keep the peace in your own country!” Lim Jae-seong, 36, a colleague of Baek’s, still recalls the tirade he heard from an official at South Korea’s Military Manpower Administration after he refused to report for duty in 2002. “Do you have any idea that your mother came here in tears and begged us to postpone your enlistment because her innocent boy was going to prison?” the employee asked. At the time, Lim was the student body president at a university in Seoul. Hearing about the innocent people dying in the US invasion of Iraq – including a South Korean, Kim Seon-il – further confirmed his decision to refuse to serve in the military. When he was sentenced to one year and six months in prison, Lim remembers the judge addressing him in the following words: “You argue that your refusal to serve in the military is the way to stop war, but there has never been a time in human history without war. Preparing for war is the way to keep the peace.” After prison, becoming a lawyer to help fellow conscientious objectorsLim went to prison in Jan. 2005. After being released, he graduated from university and became a lawyer at Haemaru Law Firm in Apr. 2015. The man who broke the law has now become a lawyer defending others who intend to defy the Military Service Act. “In my spare time, I represent conscientious objectors on a pro bono basis. The Busan District Court is currently trying Kim Jin-man [29-years-old] for breaking the Military Service Act. Just like me, Kim says that he is refusing to serve in the military because of his beliefs about peace,” Lim said. “I’m not defending him so much as I’m giving him plenty of chances to talk in court. For their entire life, conscientious objectors are pestered about why they refused to serve in the military. Having had the chance to speak his mind in court will provide him some consolation when he goes to prison.” At first, Lim’s mother couldn’t understand why he was refusing to do his military service, and for a while she didn’t visit him in prison. But as she was putting away the tofu that friends had given Lim upon his release from prison (according to a Korean custom), she said, “You didn’t commit a crime, so why should you eat tofu? If the government had made a law, this wouldn’t have happened.” Lim plans to remain involved in the peace movement inside the legal establishment. He believes that that’s the right thing to do for his mother and for his country. 

      Kim Hun-tae, a former teacher at Pyeongtaek Elementary School, and a conscientious objector
      Kim Hun-tae, 37, a former teacher at Pyeongtaek Elementary School, was also a pacifist. Since it was his job as a teacher to impart the importance of peace to his students, Kim was keenly aware of the absurdity of the fact that he had to serve in the military. After weighing over his options, he declared his refusal to perform his military service in Mar. 2006. As a result, he went to prison and lost his teaching job. Kim is still not allowed to return to the podium, and he currently earns his living as a researcher for an educational research institute. “It hurt at first. Teaching is a very important job, and I also had a family to take care of. It also meant I had to say goodbye to the students I loved. I believed that I could teach those kids something important by showing them how I was putting peace into practice,” Kim said. Ten years have already passed since Kim declared he would not do his military service. The students who watched their teacher go to prison are now old enough to do their own military service, and Kim still hears from them. “I tell the kids not to hesitate about going to the army. Going to the army is a belief, too,” he said. Ten years ago, Kim’s students sobbed as they begged him not to go to prison. While Kim was sad about having to leave his students, he points out that this gave him the opportunity to stand tall and tell them to be the master of their own lives. Buddhist’s conscientious objection has big impact on other pacifistsLim Jae-seong and Kim Hun-tae’s decisions to refuse to do their military service for non-religious reasons were greatly influenced by the example of Oh Tae-yang, 41, in 2001. Oh was not a Jehovah’s Witness but a Buddhist. He stirred up controversy when he refused to join the military because of the Buddhist prohibition against taking life and because of his commitment to pacifism. Since being released from prison, he has been working as an activist at pacifist organizations. “My beliefs haven’t changed over the past 15 years,” said Oh in a telephone interview with the Hankyoreh on Oct. 6. “Some people ask me if I regret going to prison as a conscientious objector. The thing is, I don’t ask people who choose a career in the military if they’ve ever regretted their choice. They’re acting on their beliefs.”“Here’s what I’ve learned since refusing to serve in the military. People who think that we need an army are just as concerned about their country as I am; the only difference is how we show it.” While Article 88 of the Military Service Act does say that there are “justifiable grounds” for not serving in the military, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court have consistently ruled since 2004 that the freedom of conscience is not one of these grounds. But there is considerable basis for the view that the government is violating the Korean Constitution when it continues to prosecute conscientious objectors without offering them another option, such as creating an alternative service system. Article 37, Paragraph 2, of the Korean Constitution states that “the freedoms and rights of citizens may be restricted by Act” for reasons of national security but that “no essential aspect of the freedom or right shall be violated.” Increasing international pressure and interest on forthcoming ruling

      TV personality Yang Ji-woon and his third son Won-seok, who will go to prison for conscientious objection
      There is also increasing pressure from the UN. In Oct. 2015, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recommended that the South Korean government immediately release all conscientious objectors who are serving prison sentences. This recommendation was seen as particularly forceful since it went beyond suggesting an alternative service system and explicitly called for the release of prisoners. According to a report published by the UNHRC in 2013, 723 conscientious objectors were imprisoned in countries around the world at the time, and 92.5% of them were South Koreans. During an interview with the Hankyoreh on Sep. 20, well-known TV personality Yang Ji-woon, 68, and his wife Yun Sook-gyeong, 60, expressed their concern that their third son, Won-seok, 25, might have to join the 92.5% of imprisoned conscientious objectors worldwide who are in South Korea. The couple have already watched their first and second sons go to prison. Yang and his family are all Jehovah’s Witnesses. On Apr. 21, a district court found Won-seok guilty of violating the Military Service Act, and he is currently waiting for his appeal. “I watched as my two older brothers [aged 36 and 26] went to prison. I figured that I would probably go to prison myself one of these days. According to the conscience I learned through the scriptures, I am opposed to serving for any army that prepares for war,” Won-seok said. Beside Won-seok was his mother, Yun, who burst out crying as she listened to him speak. “I would rather go to prison [instead of my son]. You just can’t imagine what it feels like for parents to send all three of their boys to prison. For the past 16 years [since May 2000, when my oldest son went to prison], I’ve had constant nightmares. Every day I see my three boys being dragged away with irons on their legs. I told my son he ought to apply for asylum instead, but he insists on going to prison,” Yun said. “I can’t just leave the country because it would be easier for me. I have to play some part so that the next generation doesn’t have to suffer, too,” Won-seok said as he comforted his mother. “I’m not asking for my son to be excused from his military service; I’m asking for them to come up with some way for him to serve his country for a long time. Isn’t it about time for something like that? There’s a saying that even the law can cry,” said Yang, her forehead scored with wrinkles. The Constitutional Court is planning to make a ruling about the constitutionality of Article 88 of the Military Service Act (the section that calls for the prosecution of conscientious objectors) as early as the end of the year.
      By Heo Jae-hyun, staff reporter

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Two South Korean men who refused to do military service have had their convictions overturned in a landmark ruling against the government.
      Cho Rak Hoon and Kim Hyung Geun were freed by an appeals court in the southern city of Gwangju today. They had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for refusing military service at their trials, in June 2015 and May 2016 respectively, according to Amnesty International.
       

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A South Korean court has ruled in favor of a man who refused to take part in the country's mandatory military service on religious grounds.

      The Gwangju District Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal by prosecutors, upholding a previous ruling that found the man not guilty.

      It also acquitted two other so-called "conscientious objectors" who had been sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison.

      All three of the men are Jehovah's Witnesses, who say they are prohibited by their faith from entering the military.

      The court said the men's refusal of mandatory military service was consistent with their religious faith and conscience, considering how they were brought up. 

      It cited an international trend of recognizing conscientious objectors, and pointed to a growing consensus that some kind of alternative military service is needed in such cases.

      The Defense Ministry urged the court to use caution and prudence, as cases like this may affect national security, cause a decrease of morale for active-duty servicemen, and enable others to evade military service.

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    • By The Librarian
      Recent photos from South Korea
       







    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      Alternative nonmilitary community service is better than prison, economically, as real benefits accrue from those who refuse to go to war.

      South Korea’s Unjust Treatment of Dong-hyuk Shin. Photo: Courtesy of jw.org, used with permission.
       
      Since 1953 the Republic of South Korea—one of Asia’s most advanced democracies—has severely punished #conscientious objectors. In 64 years, more than 19,000 young male Jehovah’s Witnesses there have served prison terms totaling more than 36,300 years of accumulated confinement. Presently 393 are serving sentence, typically 18 months to two years. “The New York Times” says 600-700 go to prison annually and comprise more than 90 percent of imprisoned conscientious objectors worldwide. This policy needlessly harms society in general, not just conscientious objectors:
      Society foots incarceration costs for prisoner upkeep.
      It loses the valuable alternative work these prisoners could perform as community service.
      The national economy loses millions of tax dollar revenues that these healthy young men cannot contribute by holding gainful employment.
      Then there’s the incalculable emotional devastation to each prisoner’s family.
       
      The struggle to recognize conscientious objection
      At a rare juncture in South Korea’s history, according to “The Korea Herald,” both its Supreme Court and its Constitutional Court are dealing simultaneously with conscientious objection.
      Various lower-court guilty verdicts have risen through the appellate levels for final judgment. Under scrutiny is whether conscientious objectors should be criminally punished by imprisonment for their stance of 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . South Korea’s Constitution is also under the microscope, due to pressure by numerous international entities, including the United Nations, which has urged South Korea’s government to adopt legislation that allows for alternative nonmilitary community service.  
      The conscientious objector’s view
      To the conscientious objector, #murder is murder. They hate it. Being ordered to murder doesn’t make them hate it any less. Yet theirs is more than a question of personal taste. They believe that no one—not even a high-ranking official barking orders—can give them, or anyone, the right to take another human’s life.
      Many believe a Supreme Authority condemns such permission-giving, even in times of war. And we need to keep that view in mind when figuring out what to do about and how to treat those who will not—for moral reasons that form the core of their very being—commit murder.
       
      Far from cowardly
      It’s easy to think of conscientious objectors as cowards who shirk their patriotic duty and flee from danger. But that’s not the case at all. Conscientious objectors face their responsibility; they don’t dodge it. When the Law issues an order, they obey it. If they can’t, they confront the Law through the proper channels, seeking recourse that allows them to discharge their duty without murdering. When their only options are—in their view—to murder or to disobey the law, they do what they are convinced is the morally right thing to do, knowing full well the grave consequences they will face: loss of liberty, sometimes loss of life. That takes considerable courage. Only the brave retain their dignity. Cowards have none to start with and thus none to lose upon fleeing.
      Repeated punishment
      Particularly egregious is South Korea’s treatment of Dong-hyuk Shin, who successfully completed military service in 2005 with honorable discharge. That automatically enrolled him in the reserve forces. After studying the Bible, his conscience moved him to change his position regarding military training and service. When summoned in 2006 for reserve forces training, he did not flee. Instead, he informed officials of his new status as a conscientious objector and one of 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Military officials ignored his objection—to them, it simply did not exist. Enough is enough
      Altogether, from March 2006 to December 2013, the military summoned Mr. Shin 118 times for reservist training. He has been prosecuted and convicted 49 times, has made trial and appellate court appearances 69 times and has received 35 court verdicts. The Court certainly could better spend its time and resources pursuing true criminals and leave Mr. Shin alone. Courts have fined him more than U.S. $13,300. Six times he has been sentenced to prison terms of six months or longer, later replaced by conditional sentences, including 200 hours of community service. Due to all the court appearances, he has had to change employment seven times. The stress has taken a physical toll on his strength and health. His mother has suffered emotional distress due to all the turmoil, and this has intensified Mr. Shin’s own suffering.
      The end of all wars
      John F. Kennedy wrote to a Navy friend: “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” The inverse of that perceptive prediction is fascinating: When everyone views warfare as murder and conscientiously objects to murder in all its circumstances, then all wars will cease. Warriors may equally dislike taking human lives. Yet their government gives them permission to do so with impunity in certain circumstances. It is the conscientious objector who steels himself (or herself) in face of the State’s demands, to follow the dictates of conscience.
      A winning policy, guaranteed
      South Korea’s move to adopt alternative nonmilitary service for conscientious objection would be a win-win situation: The nation would benefit from free community services rendered by productive members of society; tax revenues would accrue as conscientious objectors would also be gainfully employed instead of behind bars; with starkly fewer prison inmates, government spending on corrections would drop; and thousands of Korean families would be relieved of the stress and trauma that a family member’s unnecessary imprisonment inflicts on them. International entities worldwide are keenly anticipating the move South Korea will make as a world-leading democracy. 

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    • By The Librarian
      The court ruled that the Military Manpower Administration Office must suspend the disclosure of personal information identifying conscientious objectors on its website.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ALLOWS JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES TO AVOID MILITARY SERVICE
      A momentous change has occurred in South Korea. The South Korean Constitutional Court has ruled that a section of the Military Service Act is unconstitutional. The law is one of the oldest laws of the modern Korean government, existing for 65 years. The policy jailed any Korean man who refused conscription for military service as a consciousness objector. As WRN reported, this has imprisoned thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses for decades. The Constitutional Court ruled the section about consciousness objectors was unconstitutional because it did not provide an alternative way to fulfill civic service. Judges will now have to offer alternative options in future cases. Koreans already jailed under the Military Service Act will be released. RESOURCES

      Read more at World Religion News: "Jehovah’s Witnesses Will Now Be Exempt from Military Service Act in South Korea" https://www.worldreligionnews.com/?p=54185
    • By The Librarian
      South Korea convention somewhere....recently....
    • By The Librarian
      Do you have more photos/video of the South Korea Bethel to share with all of us? Please post them as a reply below:
    • By Bible Speaks
      405 in prison for preaching the good news in South Korea ?? Pray for them!! Write letters!    ????????

    • By El Bibliotecario
      Anyone know the exact location? Just curious.
    • By Bible Speaks
      Judge Kim Jin-Wook, of the south Seoul District Court, dispatched two Jehovah's Witnesses to violate the military service act, in the last addition to a series of judicial rulings in favour of conscientious objectors. Men, both of whom were 23 years old, were accused of disobeying the government's order to enlist in the army in 2014 because of their faith.
      The judge said that his non-compliance had " justifiable reasons " and that it was due to the government's " negligence " to provide alternative ways to serve the country.
      There are about 20.000 conscientious objectors in South Korea who have gone to jail for refusing to serve in the armed forces based on freedom of thought, conscience or religion, as military service became mandatory for all Healthy Men during the 1950-1953 S WAR.
      Conscientious objectors have been uniformly sentenced to 18 month s' imprisonment.
      Only this year, more than 30 conscientious objectors have been acquitted. But the Supreme Court held that conscientious objection is illegal, revoking the acquittals in 16 cases this year.

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    • By ARchiv@L
      Support for conscientious objection increases
      (KOREA)
      By Kim Se-jeong
      The number of people in Korea who support conscientious objection has risen significantly over the last decade, a recent survey showed, Monday.
      According to the survey conducted by the National Human Rights Commission on 2,556 people aged 15 or older from May to December, 46.1 percent of respondents said the country should allow conscientious objection.
      The commission has conducted the survey regularly and the support ratio has increased from 10.2 percent in 2005 to 33.3 percent in 2011.
      "Tolerance has improved, but it is clear that conscientious objection is still a contentious issue in Korean society," the commission said in a report. "The number shows it is time for open discussion about it."
      The survey didn't mention what contributed to the change in public opinion.
      All able-bodied men aged 18 or older in Korea are obliged to serve in the military. Objectors are subject to prison terms. According to statistics, almost 600 men are punished every year for refusing to serve.
      Most objectors in Korea cite religion or personal belief in peace as reasons for refusal. Many of them are Jehovah's Witnesses, a Christian denomination.
      They demand the government give them an opportunity to serve the country in other ways by introducing alternative services. But the government has refused to accommodate their request, saying no exception is allowed for compulsory military service.
      The survey results came out hours before a local court ruling in favor of conscientious objection.
      Siding with a 23-year-old conscientious objector surnamed Park, the Jeonju District Court in North Jeolla Province said, "We recognized that the defendant refused to serve on the basis of his religion and values, which is an individual freedom given to all."
      Park, a Jehovah's Witness, was taken to court by the government in June last year after refusing to comply with the mandatory service.
      A dozen other local courts and an appeals court in Gwangju have also ruled in favor of conscientious objectors.
      The Constitutional Court has been reviewing petitions from such people and is expected to make a ruling sometime early this year on whether compulsory military service infringes on individuals' freedoms and whether the country needs to allow alternative services.
      The ruling was originally due by the end of last year, but was put off as the court has been focusing on the review of President Park Geun-hye's impeachment.
      In 2004 and 2011, it ruled against objectors.
      THE KOREAN TIMES

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      Posted : 2017-01-10
      By Kim Se-jeong  
       




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    • Another important piece of context about famines in China even before Mao was in power, based on Wikipedia's list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines_in_China   1810, 1811, 1846, 1849     Unknown (45 million decrease, unknown how many emigrated or avoided census to evade taxes)[4]   1850–1873   Nian Rebellion, Taiping Rebellion and drought Primarily caused by famine, lower li
    • I appreciate the thoughtful response. You hit upon the basic problem of what we can "know" for certain, especially about a topic for which the waters have definitely been muddied. The very fact that "experts" give ranges from 10 million to 40+ million deaths, already shows there is huge margin of error involved. And the range of reasons for it are inconsistent, too. (Varying amounts of human error vs. drought, or willful disregard for life, or even murderous intent.) I put the number 4
    • When you see such shenanigans in the present human interactions of entirely different spheres, you don’t assume that you are seeing it for the first time ever. Rather, you figure that this is but the latest example of what humans will do in pushing their own point of view. Thus, everything you say is plausible. Exaggeration, over-promotion, running the other side off the road, muddying the waters so the other side will give up, outright denial, seeing only what one wants to see: these are the st
    • There's a 1960's era joke about a family in their car just pulling out of their driveway in sweltering heat with the all the windows up. The kids ask why they can't roll down the windows to get some air, and the father says: "What? And let the neighbors know we don't have air conditioning?" This reminds me of one of the claimed blunders of Mao Zedung, who continued to export wheat during a famine so as not to appear weak to the rest of the world. (And Stalin similarly wouldn't import wheat
    • Mao, while alive, had already purged Deng twice. In doing so, Mao sullied his reputation by bringing up past disloyalty and an unexplained military defection, and asked Deng to self-admit his own (Deng's) failings. He had been critical of Mao, but had also been used by Mao and the party for his leadership abilities. After Mao, the "Gang of Four" wanted to continue Mao's legacy and leadership style, and thought of Deng as a political threat to their continuance. Deng's choice to gain political po
    • Why did it do this? Why not proceed as though building on the fine foundation that had been laid? This smacks a lot of like “putting lipstick on a pig.”  
    • There was one more point I should have highlighted from the article I referenced above. Based on the time period of the Great Leap Forward it is useful to make some comparisons with other nations around this time. Even now, I was reading in an online newspaper from India that says they count about 4,000 children a day in India who die from malnutrition. I don't know how accurate this is, but it is admitted in a globally-facing paper where one might expect a positive spin on Indian news.
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    • Eric Ouellet

      LA FOI D'HANNA ENVERS DIEU APPORTE SA RÉCOMPENSE
      UNE femme de foi adresse une prière à Jéhovah. Convaincue que c’est Dieu qui l’a relevée de la poussière, transformant son abattement en exultation, elle le loue à haute voix.
      Cette femme, c’est Hanna. Qu’est-ce qui explique son spectaculaire changement d’état d’âme ? Pourquoi est-elle à présent si joyeuse ? En quoi ce qu’elle a vécu peut-il nous être utile ? Intéressons-nous à son histoire.
      Une famille sous pression
      Hanna est l’une des deux femmes d’Elqana, un Lévite de la région d’Éphraïm (1 Samuel 1:1, 2a ; 1 Chroniques 6:33, 34). Bien que n’entrant pas dans le dessein originel de Dieu pour l’humanité, la polygamie est autorisée et réglementée sous la Loi mosaïque. Elle est néanmoins une source fréquente de discorde. La vie de cette famille, qui pourtant adore Jéhovah, en témoigne.
      Hanna est stérile, tandis que Peninna, l’autre femme d’Elqana, a plusieurs enfants. Peninna se comporte en rivale. — 1 Samuel 1:2b.
      Pour une Israélite, la stérilité est un déshonneur, et même un signe de la défaveur divine. Mais, dans le cas de Hanna, rien n’indique que son incapacité de procréer soit liée à la désapprobation de Dieu. Peninna ne la console pas pour autant ; elle se prévaut au contraire de son statut de mère pour l’humilier.
      Au sanctuaire de Jéhovah
      Malgré ces tensions, la famille entreprend le voyage annuel en direction du sanctuaire de Jéhovah, à Shilo, pour y offrir des sacrifices. L’aller-retour de quelque 60 kilomètres se fait vraisemblablement à pied. Cet événement doit être particulièrement pénible pour Hanna. En effet, Peninna et ses enfants reçoivent plusieurs portions du sacrifice de communion, alors que Hanna, elle, n’en reçoit qu’une seule. Peninna trouve là une opportunité supplémentaire de la blesser et de la mettre dans l’embarras ; il semble que Jéhovah ait “ fermé sa matrice ”, et elle ne manque pas de le lui rappeler. Tous les ans, c’est le même calvaire. Tous les ans, Hanna pleure et cesse de manger. Ces voyages qui normalement devraient la mettre en joie la plongent dans une profonde détresse. Hanna se rend néanmoins chaque année au sanctuaire de Jéhovah. — 1 Samuel 1:3-7.
      Voyez-vous en quoi Hanna est un bel exemple ? Comment réagissez-vous lorsque vous êtes déprimé ? Vous isolez-vous et évitez-vous les contacts avec vos compagnons chrétiens ? Ce n’est pas ce qu’a fait Hanna. Les rassemblements avec les adorateurs de Jéhovah étaient pour elle une habitude de vie. Même face à des circonstances éprouvantes, il devrait en être de même pour nous. — Psaume 26:12 ; 122:1 ; Proverbes 18:1 ; Hébreux 10:24, 25.
      Elqana tente de réconforter Hanna et il l’amène à exprimer ses sentiments profonds. “ Hanna, pourquoi pleures-tu et pourquoi ne manges-tu pas ? Pourquoi ton cœur a-t-il mal ? lui demande-t-il. Est-ce que je ne vaux pas mieux pour toi que dix fils ? ” (1 Samuel 1:8). Peut-être n’a-t-il pas conscience de la malveillance de Peninna. Et peut-être Hanna préfère-t-elle se taire plutôt que de se plaindre. Quoi qu’il en soit, cette femme spirituelle se tourne vers Jéhovah dans la prière pour retrouver la paix intérieure.
      Le vœu de Hanna
      Les sacrifices de communion étaient consommés dans le sanctuaire. Après avoir quitté la salle à manger, Hanna prie Dieu (1 Samuel 1:9, 10). “ Ô Jéhovah des armées, implore-t-elle, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. ” — 1 Samuel 1:11.
      La prière de Hanna est précise. Elle demande un fils, et elle fait le vœu que cet enfant sera toute sa vie un naziréen de Dieu (Nombres 6:1-5). Ce vœu nécessite l’approbation de son mari, et certaines actions ultérieures d’Elqana montrent qu’il approuve l’engagement pris par sa chère femme. — Nombres 30:6-8.
      À cause de la manière dont Hanna prie, le grand prêtre Éli la croit ivre. Il voit effectivement ses lèvres frémir, mais il ne l’entend pas parler. C’est qu’en fait Hanna prie dans son cœur, avec ferveur (1 Samuel 1:12-14). Imaginez ce qu’elle ressent lorsque le grand prêtre l’accuse d’être ivre ! Pourtant, elle lui répond respectueusement. Comprenant alors que Hanna était en train de prier “ dans l’abondance de [son] inquiétude et de [son] dépit ”, il lui dit : “ Que le Dieu d’Israël accorde ta requête. ” (1 Samuel 1:15-17). Sur ces paroles, Hanna s’en va ; elle mange et “ son visage ne par[aît] plus soucieux ”. — 1 Samuel 1:18.
      Que nous enseigne tout cela ? Lorsque nous prions Jéhovah à propos de nos inquiétudes, nous pouvons lui exprimer ce que nous ressentons et lui adresser des requêtes sincères. Si nous avons fait tout notre possible pour résoudre le problème, alors nous devrions laisser les choses entre ses mains. C’est ce qu’il y a de mieux à faire. — Proverbes 3:5, 6.
      Après une prière fervente, il est fréquent que des serviteurs de Jéhovah ressentent une sérénité comparable à celle que Hanna a éprouvée. Voici ce qu’a écrit l’apôtre Paul au sujet de la prière : “ Ne vous inquiétez de rien, mais en tout, par la prière et la supplication avec action de grâces, faites connaître vos requêtes à Dieu ; et la paix de Dieu, qui surpasse toute pensée, gardera vos cœurs et vos facultés mentales par le moyen de Christ Jésus. ” (Philippiens 4:6, 7). Après nous être déchargés de notre fardeau sur Jéhovah, nous devons le laisser s’en occuper. Puis, comme dans le cas de Hanna, il n’y a plus lieu de s’inquiéter. — Psaume 55:22.
      Un fils “ prêté ” à Jéhovah
      Dieu se tourne alors vers Hanna. Peu après, elle porte un enfant. Elle met au monde un garçon (1 Samuel 1:19, 20). C’est l’une des rares fois où la Bible fait état de la responsabilité de Dieu dans la naissance de l’un de ses serviteurs. L’enfant d’Elqana et de Hanna, Samuel, deviendra effectivement le prophète de Jéhovah, un prophète qui jouera un rôle important dans la mise en place de la monarchie d’Israël.
      Il est certain que Hanna parle de Jéhovah à Samuel dès sa petite enfance. Mais oublie-t-elle le vœu qu’elle a fait ? Absolument pas ! “ Dès que le garçon sera sevré, je devrai l’amener ; il devra paraître devant Jéhovah et habiter là pour des temps indéfinis ”, déclare-t-elle. Et en effet, une fois l’enfant sevré — peut-être à l’âge de trois ans ou un peu plus —, elle l’amène au sanctuaire, comme elle l’avait promis. — 1 Samuel 1:21-24 ; 2 Chroniques 31:16.
      Après avoir offert un sacrifice à Jéhovah, Hanna et son mari présentent Samuel à Éli. Hanna tient certainement la main de son petit garçon lorsqu’elle dit à Éli : “ Pardon, mon seigneur ! Par la vie de ton âme, mon seigneur, je suis la femme qui se tenait près de toi, en ce lieu, pour prier Jéhovah. C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde ma requête, ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah. Oui, tous les jours qu’il sera, c’est quelqu’un de demandé pour Jéhovah. ” Ainsi commence, pour Samuel, une vie au service de Dieu. — 1 Samuel 1:25-28 ; 2:11.
      Le temps passe ; bien sûr Hanna n’oublie pas son fils. Les Écritures relatent : “ Sa mère avait coutume de lui faire un petit manteau sans manches, et elle le lui montait, d’année en année, quand elle montait avec son mari pour sacrifier le sacrifice annuel. ” (1 Samuel 2:19). Hanna prie sans aucun doute pour Samuel. Tous les ans, lorsqu’elle lui rend visite, elle l’encourage à coup sûr à demeurer fidèle dans son service pour Dieu.
      Pendant l’une de ces visites, Éli bénit les parents du garçon. Il déclare à Elqana : “ Que Jéhovah t’assigne une descendance de cette femme, à la place du prêt qui a été prêté à Jéhovah. ” C’est ainsi que le couple est récompensé par la naissance de trois autres fils et de deux filles. — 1 Samuel 2:20, 21.
      Quel formidable exemple pour les parents chrétiens ! Beaucoup de mères et de pères se montrent, eux aussi, disposés à prêter, figurément parlant, leurs enfants à Jéhovah ; en effet, ils les encouragent à entreprendre une forme de service à plein temps, même si cela implique que leur fils, ou leur fille, vive loin d’eux. De tels parents aimants méritent des louanges pour les sacrifices qu’ils font. Jéhovah les récompensera.
      Une prière qui déborde de joie
      Comme Hanna est heureuse, elle que la stérilité affectait tant autrefois ! Les Écritures ne contiennent que peu de prières faites par des femmes. Mais, en ce qui concerne Hanna, elles en rapportent deux. La première expose ses sentiments alors qu’elle est humiliée et affligée. La seconde exprime son exultation et son action de grâces ; elle commence par ces mots : “ Oui, mon cœur exulte en Jéhovah. ” Hanna se réjouit ensuite que ‘ même la stérile ait mis au monde ’. Et elle loue Jéhovah, celui “ qui élève [...], qui relève le petit de la poussière ”. Vraiment, il est celui qui “ de la fosse aux cendres [...] fait remonter le pauvre ”. — 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
      Cet épisode de la vie de Hanna, dont le récit a été inspiré par Dieu, montre que les imperfections, voire la malveillance, des autres peuvent nous blesser. Toutefois, nous ne devons pas permettre à ce genre d’épreuves de nous priver de notre joie de servir Dieu. Jéhovah est, par excellence, Celui qui entend la prière, qui répond aux appels à l’aide de ses fidèles et qui les délivre de l’affliction. Il leur accorde une paix profonde et de nombreuses autres bénédictions. — Psaume 22:23-26 ; 34:6-8 ; 65:2.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      1 Samuel 2 : 1-10
      Hannah pria Dieu en ces mots:
      Mon cœur se réjouit au sujet de Jéhovah
      ma force grandit grâce à Jéhovah.
      Ma bouche s’ouvre toute grande contre mes ennemis,
      car je me réjouis de tes actes sauveurs.
      Il n’y a personne qui soit saint comme Jéhovah,
      il n’y a personne qui soit comme toi,
      il n’y a pas de rocher comme notre Dieu.
      Arrêtez de parler avec orgueil ;
      que rien d’arrogant ne sorte de votre bouche,
      car Jéhovah est un Dieu qui sait tout
      et il juge les actions avec justice.
      Les arcs des hommes forts sont brisés,
      mais les hommes faibles reçoivent de la force
      Ceux qui mangeaient bien doivent trouver du travail pour avoir du pain,
      mais les affamés ne souffrent plus de la faim.
      La femme stérile a donné naissance à sept fils,
      mais celle qui avait beaucoup de fils est devenue stérile.
      Jéhovah tue et il garde en vie,
      il fait descendre dans la Tombe et il en fait remonter.
      Jéhovah fait devenir pauvre et il fait devenir riche,
      il abaisse et il élève.
      Il relève le petit de la poussière
      et fait remonter le pauvre du tas de cendres
      pour les faire asseoir avec les princes
      et leur offrir une place d’honneur.
      À Jéhovah appartiennent les fondations de la terre ;
      sur elles, il pose le monde
      Il veille sur les pas de ses fidèles,
      mais les méchants seront tués dans l’obscurité,
      car ce n’est pas par la force que l’homme triomphe. 
      Jéhovah anéantira ceux qui combattent contre lui ;
      pour exprimer sa colère, il fera gronder le tonnerre dans le ciel.
      Jéhovah jugera jusqu’aux extrémités de la terre,
      il donnera du pouvoir à son roi et il fera grandir la force de son oint.
       
       
       


      · 1 reply
    • anniemsbelle@gmail.com  »  Queen Esther

      Do you have the print out for the regional convention 
      · 1 reply
    • anniemsbelle@gmail.com  »  Queen Esther

      Do you have the print out for the regional convention 
      · 0 replies
    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour Misette comment ça va. Merci beaucoup pour ton travail que tu as fait et continue de faire. 
      Nous avons pas reçu le joyau pour cette semaine, dis nous si il y a un problème. 
      Merci que Jéhovah continue de te benir. 
      · 2 replies
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