If you drive about an hour south of Seoul, you will find yourself next to the largest US military construction project in the world. As the capital's metropolitan region gives way to the Korean countryside, rice paddies, ginseng fields, rows of hot peppers, corn, and tobacco, and peach orchards replace roads and buildings. Soon, though, these orchards are overshadowed by the constant hum of planes landing and taking off from the most active airfield in Asia. Backyard vegetable gardens grow right up to the walls of the base.
Out of this militarized landscape, local activists and townspeople have carved a "war and brutality free zone," the fruit of a multi-year struggle to save the town of Daechuri from destruction by the expansion of the United States' Camp Humphreys. Their protest is one bead in the string of anti-US base protests circling the Pacific Rim, from Okinawa and Hawaii to Guam and the Philippines.