[Column] Dignity and Safety: Preventing Dispersion of Sewol Ferry Disaster by Setting Up the Flag of Human Dignity

Dignity and Safety: Preventing Dispersion of Sewol Ferry Disaster by Setting Up the Flag of Human Dignity

“How many more lives should we have to let go?”

(30 June 2014) Eleven people are still missing from the Sewol Ferry disaster, but another tragic news was just delivered today. The daughter of an arrested Sewol Ferry crew committed suicide. This happened while she was being tormented due to issues around her father, which made her death even more deplorable. Lieutenant Kim threw himself from the Jindo Bridge on the 26th and has been missing. Lieut. Kim had worked at Pang Mok Port and Jindo Gymnasium where the victim families have been staying since the disaster happened. According to his colleagues, Lieut. Kim used to groan with acute stress. As the moan of Kim’s family “How many more lives should we still have to let go?”, we can’t help mourning the same way.

The president took the lead in claiming “we should take care of our economy first, forgetting the Sewol Ferry disaster.” Then, the president nationally put up bills and opened “neighborhood meeting” to capture Yoo Byung Eun and his son who were pegged as the perpetrators of the disaster. The National Assembly are neglecting its promise of thorough investigation of state administration over the disaster. With the attitude of government ruling party occupied in downscaling the investigation, less and less people are raising their voice on this matter. The prime minister, who was going to resign taking the responsibility for the accident, ended up remaining in the office, and the president, who shed tears saying “the ultimate responsibility is on me,” has escaped from issues of the disaster. Malicious rumors on Special Act on the Truth Ascertainment has spread. The authority trying to cover up the truth is also trying to cover up the Sewol Disaster with enormous and tenacious power. On the other hand, many promises of “we won’t forget” are fading away.

We have to shed light on how cruel our time is once again. This is a harsh reality; It’s already too much for the victim families losing their beloved ones, but regardless, they have to be out on the street to claim the truth ascertainment. What is the government doing when they should be supporting the victims who went through the tragic disaster? That being said, I think we would be the assailants as well because we are supporting this government. Thus, at least, we should be truthful to our promise of “we won’t forget.” We should pay attention to the appeal of the parents who’ve lost their sons due to the GOP gun fire incident. “For the chief managers to take the attitude approaching this incident as issue of bullying or mere conflicts among individuals is an act of neglecting one’s duty. Furthermore, it is an act of killing the victims once again. The victim families even feel sympathy for Serg. Lim, aware of irresponsible and lackadaisical management at military barracks. Not only our sons who were killed due to negligence of military authorities, is Serg. Lim also our son who we should protect and embrace.”

After the Sewol Ferry Disaster, there have been more incidents at many places such as Jangsung Senior Hospital and Seoul subway, which resulted from failing to put human dignity in the heart of matters. Many precious lives have passed away and have been injured. However, we haven’ had enough time to mourn and reveal the truth. We haven’t had time to start talking about how to get back our lost society. Meanwhile, the government is trying to remove its trace of responsibility in the disaster. Things before and after the 16th of April 2014 shouldn’t be the same. We should not tolerate the malevolent government that corners its people into a deadly situation by playing a side with capital and that accepts the capital generated from illegally repairing old vessels to boost profits without concerning safety. Without an exhaustive inspection and punish those who are responsible for the tragedy, the sinking of the Sewol Ferry will become our future.

Right now, nobody in the government including the president is taking the responsibility for the Sewol Ferry disaster, thus the government must keep its head straight regarding the series of losing innocent lives. It is the president and government that is supposed to take responsibility for those heartbreaking deaths from the beginning of the disaster.

Hearing successive obituaries, I want to suggest setting up the flag of human dignity once again. We should keep in mind that the tragedy is not just currently underway but expanding. We should lament more, gather more, dream more, and expand solidarity more. We should get our lost society back. The first step of getting it back is taking thorough process of truth ascertainment, punishing those with responsibilities without exceptions, and making social promises for making safe society. Our tragedy will not end until we can control capitalistic desire and the incompetent government and regain the society where humanity live with dignity.

Translated by Seon Mi Jin, Volunteer

Korean version >> 인간 존엄의 깃발을 다시 세워 참사의 확산을 막아야 한다