11. The Empathetic Power of Suffering: The Memories of Killing, and Feminist Interfaith Spiritual Activism
Keun-Joo Christine Pae [+]
Denison University, Ohio
War is about killing and/or necropolitical. However, we often do not know when the killing began and will be over because genocide has been normalized in human history. Tracing the US 7th Cavalry Regiment's history of genocide in North America, Korea, and Vietnam, this chapter analyzes how America's mass killings are alive and unfolded together in the present moment, transnationally and intergenerationally haunting those who live in the consequences of America's wars. Along with the memories of genocide, the chapter presents militarized prostitution, especially around US military bases in South Korea over six decades, as the affective site of the war, the concrete system that has consistently reminded people of America's genocide. The chapter further argues that militarized prostitution is another form of genocide rather than gender-based sexual violence and critically engages genocide and militarized prostitution as the two distinctive characters of the US military empire. Subsequently, based on imagined dialogue between Dorothee Soelle and Sister Chan Khong, the chapter contemplates "feminist spiritual activism". More specifically, this two women’s non-violent peace activism, built upon Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism, will show how empathy with the sufferers becomes a powerful tool in healing "us"; from the haunted memories of war. Spiritual activism further searches for the possibility to create solidarity among diverse groups of people who live with different memories and consequences of war (e.g. genocide and militarized prostitution). A concrete example of the empathetic power overcoming militarized violence will be presented from faith-based Korean women's social activism on the site of militarized prostitution.