Jihye Lee’s address to the Vth Conference

The daughter of the Korean farmer sacrificed in Cancun

Good evening, I am Jihye Lee

Let me begin with my gratitude for giving me this honorable opportunity to speak to you.

It’s a great honor for me to speak to a lot of peasant movement’s leaders. I’m grateful to you for inviting me with a humble heart because I’m still young an inexperienced compared to you. So I’m a little bit nervous and shy to think that I’m in front of you, who deserve to be respected.

My father is Kyunghae Lee

For me, He was a lovely, fair and honest man

And he has an innocent soul like that of a child

He dedicated his life to agriculture with passion and all his heart

He himself was the symbol of agriculture

In this regard, there was no space for him to attend to his personal matters.

His mind was occupied by agriculture and peasants all the time

When he passed away,

His fortune was lost due to the wrong agrarian Policy.

But, his spirit was never lost.

He has three daughters

The eldest sister got married and has a lovely family with husband, six years old daughter and three years old son

And second sister also got married and five years old son and two years old daughter

She, second sister wants to be a small scale farmer

Now the youngest daughter of Mr.Lee is here in front of you

And the last, my grandmother is still alive. She is 88 years old. Sometimes, she shed tears for me but my sister, grandma and we know that my father cannot be back for us

When my father passed away, I also was in Cancun. But what I only remember was his body, t-shirt soaked with red blood and smell of blood. That was a huge shock for me

How can I forget the day, the hour, the minute, and the second in Cancun

So I guess that is why I have never been out of touch with peasants and agriculture.

We, farmers, have fought against transnational for a long time but we must still fight against them.

Human rights of women

Human rights of children

Human rights of youth

Human rights of farmers in the world got overridden by greedy capitals. Women are driven to become commercialization themselves to bring food on the tables of their families. Children and youth are the victims of labor to become breadwinners by giving up their dreams. In addition, agriculture commercialization without the respect to life and human dignity doesn’t consider our soil and planet, but just focus on indiscriminate farming methods and mass production, resulting in global warming. That’s why people’s lives in the world are threatened by unproven agricultural products and climate change.

Now I’d like to assert our rights. Taking this opportunity, I’d like to speak out that these all threats are the result of the transnational system which ignores farmers who have right to agriculture by loving life, which denies the value of farmers, and which doesn’t respect human rights.

And also it’s because the people’s indifference to the value of farmers who are responsible for their foodstuff, even though they are careful about their meal.

We must stick to our position to achieve our rights. We must build a world where human rights and dignity are fully respected.

We must not give up on the way. You will be always in my prayer. My heart will be with you. I hope you never discouraged. I hope this conference will serve are the place where we will strengthen our will and power once again.

I have a strong faith in the wisdom of small fishes

You know anchovies get together and form a shape of a big fish in order to scare off their natural enemies

We may have a different skin color

We may have a different language

But our hearts jump with the love for life and agriculture

Because we are the one in our spirit

When I heard your united cheers booming in this room.

You made my heart leaps

How can I ever forget 10 day journey?

The memory I shared with you will be alive in my heart forever

I want to express my gratitude from the bottom of my heart

Thank you for remembering my father

Thank you for loving my father

Matola, 22 October 2008, Vth Conference of Via Campesina