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← World peace starts with ourselves | Mari Arimitsu | TEDxOhyunHighSchool

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Showing Revision 26 created 12/31/2016 by Ellen.

  1. In the last course of my graduate program
  2. we created an online campaign video
    on human trafficking.
  3. My professor at the time said,
  4. "You're not going to change
    the world through this project,
  5. but you're going to add a spoon of sugar
    into the salty ocean to sweeten it up."
  6. You may think making peace starts
    with presidents, prime ministers,
  7. leaders of some countries
    shaking hands together,
  8. or the United Nations,
    NGO workers tirelessly working
  9. in the less developed field
    for the poorest of the poor.
  10. I was thinking the same
    before I started my graduate program.
  11. But today you will learn
    that peace actually starts with you.
  12. I came to South Korea in order
    to conduct my field research
  13. on the issue of "comfort women."
  14. "Comfort women" is a euphemism
    coined by the Japanese Imperial Army
  15. before and during World War II.
  16. There are women who were forced
    into sexual slavery by the army
  17. and a majority of them
    are from here, South Korea.
  18. But there are also survivors from China,
    Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
  19. When I told my friends and family in Japan
  20. that I would research
    the issue of comfort women,
  21. they usually say, "You're going to deal
    with such a difficult issue."
  22. I asked my mother why and she answered,
  23. "I understand that the Japanese Army
    did something terrible in the past,
  24. but that's an embarrassing part
    we all don't want to touch."
  25. Many of you probably heard last year
  26. that the government of Japan
    and South Korea reached an agreement
  27. on the issue of comfort women.
  28. Under the agreement,
    the government of Japan
  29. will pay one billion yen to a foundation
    that the South Korean government
  30. will establish to offer
    health and other services
  31. to the elderly former comfort women.
  32. In addition, the government of Japan
    asked for removal of the statue
  33. in front of the Japanese Embassy,
    which pays tribute to the comfort women,
  34. saying that the agreement was made
    to stop future generations
  35. from having to keep apologizing.
  36. On the contrary, I believe
    that the statue should not be removed
  37. and the issue of comfort women
    should continue to be discussed
  38. and passed on to the future generations
    in order to not repeat the history.
  39. Sexual and gender-based violence
    is not something that happened in the past
  40. but it also proliferates
    in modern everyday life.
  41. Women are disproportionately suffering
  42. because violence is often gendered
  43. in attacks such as rape
    and domestic violence.
  44. According to
    the World Health Organization,
  45. one in three women worldwide
  46. suffer from physical
    or sexual abuse in their lifetime.
  47. Here in South Korea, the number
    of sexual assaults is increasing.
  48. However, an expert says that the number
    is just the tip of the iceberg,
  49. as many women do not come forward
  50. because they are afraid that they
    are going to be insulted once again.
  51. The situation is very similar in Japan.
  52. Many assault survivors
    do not want to come forward
  53. because they feel ashamed or insulted.
  54. Male-centered patriarchal societies
    makes it difficult to talk
  55. about the experience of sexual assaults.
  56. Because being sexually assaulted also
    enforces a form of stigma in our society.
  57. I truly admire all the Korean women
    who have come forward
  58. and started to talk about
    their painful experiences
  59. as comfort women.
  60. We can only imagine how hard it is
  61. but then to talk
    about experiences in public,
  62. being raped over and over
    by Japanese soldiers
  63. and never being taken care of
    even when they became sick.
  64. There are also many women
    who are abandoned and murdered
  65. at the end of the war.
  66. The surviving comfort women
  67. are still fighting for their rights
    and restoration of their dignity.
  68. And a few survivors are participating
  69. in the weekly demonstration
    in front of the Japanese Embassy
  70. calling for the Japanese government
  71. to take legal responsibility
    for its cause.
  72. As a final assignment of my course
  73. we wanted to create
    an online campaign video
  74. to make a powerful impact on the viewers.
  75. Together with my colleagues,
    Arunima, Caroline, and Rebekka,
  76. we wanted to raise
    awareness of child trafficking.
  77. This was our effort to sweeten
    the ocean just a little bit.
  78. [Video]
  79. (Beeping)
  80. (Sizzling)
  81. (Scraping)
  82. [According to the International
    Labor Organization
  83. an estimated 17.2 million children
  84. are in forced domestic
    servitude worldwide.]
  85. [These children are as young as five.]
  86. [It happens all over the world.]
  87. [You can be part of the solution!]
  88. The child domestic servitude
  89. is a form of modern day slavery.
  90. Millions of children, all over the world,
    are being trafficked into servitude
  91. with a false promise
    of education and a better life.
  92. Many of these children
    work up to 18 hours a day.
  93. Often, they are not paid.
  94. The world will likely turn its back
    on those exploited children
  95. unless someone has the courage
  96. to question the practice
    and its morality.
  97. Even then, changes in cultures and laws
    sufficient to stop child trafficking
  98. will likely come slowly.
  99. Take the issue
    of comfort women, for example,
  100. many of them were as young as 12
  101. when they were forced
    into sexual slavery.
  102. They were not able to speak
    about their experiences
  103. under the strong patriarchal society.
  104. But with democratization
    of South Korea and the feminist movement
  105. they started to speak in public
    for the first time in the 1990s.
  106. That is when they opened the door to allow
    the taboo issue of comfort women
  107. to become an issue discussed
    in South Korea, Japan,
  108. and the rest of the world.
  109. My work started from curiosity.
  110. I had several questions:
  111. Why are elderly women still fighting
  112. for their rights and restoration
    of their dignity?
  113. How and why did the United States
    play a part in reaching this agreement?
  114. Who truly has power in this world?
  115. My hope is also to add a spoon
    of sugar in this salty ocean.
  116. I would like to seek an appropriate way
    of honoring the lives of women
  117. not only the surviving elders
    but also the many young women
  118. who were abandoned and murdered
  119. in the battle field outside
    of their own country.
  120. By doing so, I believe
    we can have a better conversation
  121. towards sexual and gender-based violence
    prevailing in our countries.
  122. So, let us become curious
    about exploitation in today's world.
  123. Let us question why the world
    is the way it is right now.
  124. Why are some countries rich and powerful
    while others are not?
  125. Why are certain populations
    being discriminated against?
  126. Why are certain people
    doing certain jobs in your community?
  127. Why are there no women in boardrooms?
  128. Why is your friend
    being bullied in your classroom?
  129. Then reach out your hand
    to people who need your help.
  130. Your help might be as tiny
    as a spoon of sugar.
  131. But if many of us do it together,
    I think we can change the world.
  132. Then you'll see that peace
    actually starts with you.
  133. Thank you so much.
  134. (Applause)