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GUREOMBI NORAE

 

1

For hundreds of years now

We’ve lived on this island

with fruit trees and fish

but no fences or thieves

In the shadow of Halla

I dove with my grandma

Now you bring in your death squads

And you crush everything

(Original chorus):

I’ve got to know, friend

I’ve got to know, friend

Hungry lips ask me wherever I go

Comrades and friends all

falling around me

I’ve got to know, yes,

and I’ve got to know now.

 

2

The crab and the dolphin

my childhood companions

We danced on Gureombi

And we laid in her streams

Now Gangjeong is buried

In your steel and your concrete

And you’re jailing my neighbors

As threats to the peace

 

3

Who are all these people

Now flooding my hometown?

Their shiny apartments rise up to the sky

Well, the base workers’ families

They see me as dirty

And my village has walls now

To protect them from me

(Original chorus):

I’ve got to know, friend

I’ve got to know, friend

Hungry lips ask me wherever I go

Comrades and friends all

falling around me

I’ve got to know, yes,

and I’ve got to know now.

 

I haven’t slept well

Since you blew up Gureombi

I keep my head down

And I try not to see

The home I grew up in’s

Becoming a prison

Since you built up your war base

On the island of peace

 

We always had strong winds

Strong rocks and strong women

We lived from the land

Never needed a king

But you’ve pulled up our roots and

Our boulders lie barren

My proud mother’s silent

With no song to sing

(Original chorus):

I’ve got to know, friend

I’ve got to know, friend

Hungry lips ask me wherever I go

Comrades and friends all

falling around me

I’ve got to know, yeah,,

and I’ve got to know now.

 

Why did you tell me

I can’t see Gureombi?

Why can’t my grandmothers dive anymore?

Well, you promised your war base

Would bring so much money

But our village is broken

And now we’re all poor

 

Why did you save a small piece of Gureombi?

Circled with walls, guards, and pounding machines

And how did you get an award from the government

For saving the rock that I saw you destroy?

(Original chorus):

I’ve got to know, friend

I’ve got to know, friend

Hungry lips ask me wherever I go

Comrades and friends all

falling around me

I’ve got to know, yeah,,

and I’ve got to know now.

 

At night when the wind blows

I still hear your voices

My ancestors angrily talk with the sea

Are your waves really too small

To wash out these base walls?

They’re crushing your children

And our memories

 

How can we live with

The shame that you’ve brought us?

Well, you smother our homeland

You silence our dead

How can you tell me

That I am the enemy?

You work for invaders

But you’re calling me Red!

(New chorus):

Get out of my village!

Get out of my hometown!

I’ve waited so long

but I’m not waiting now.

Your lies kill my history

Your machines crush my future.

Get out of Gangjeong

and get out right now!

Yeah, Get out of Gangjeong

and get out right now!

 

Artwork and writing by SMB Mountain School (성문밖 학교) high school students.

 

Written by Seth Martin (이산).*

Korean translation by Lee Nan Young (이난영).

Pictures by Ji Hongju (지홍주).

Mixed, mastered and produced by David Fuller in Portland, Oregon (2016).

Featuring Seth Martin (이산), David Fuller, Scotty Krueger, Blew Kind, Stephen Landis, and Joby Morey.

*Original chorus and melody from “I’ve Got To Know” by Woody Guthrie (which was a response to the hymn “Farther Along”).

 

이산