동원탄광 (dongwon coal mine); jeongseon, korea; 1962-2004

see the other photos from the set

 

thanks to Woong for helping me find the location...

 

the last coal mine in Gangwon province (the northeast part of South Korea) went silent in 2004.

 

when the mine closed, the Korean government promised to give the city 100 billion won ($100 million), but the city eventually received only 20% ($20 million) of that money. still, when you visit Jeongseon, you will a city whose population has been decimated by job loss, but whose roads, sidewalks, and hospitals remain top notch.

 

also of note: from april 21-24, 1980; Dongwon mine went on strike after refusing a 20% raise increase (the union wanted a 42.75% raise). 160 police and workers were injured, 81 workers were arrested, and one policeman died. the miners and their families (5,000 strong) basically took over the town by overrunning the police.

 

a very important moment in the democratization movement in korea; however, it is often overshadowed by the events in busan-masan and the gwangju massacre, which occurred on the other side of the peninsula one month later. this protest, and all the other unrest in 1979-1980, helped set the stage for a turbulent 80's and an eventual end to the military dictatorship.

 

 

 

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Taken on July 9, 2011