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Social conflict provoked by those who utilize bereaved families grief

Social conflict provoked by those who utilize bereaved families grief

Posted April. 18, 2015 07:12,   


The central Seoul was dotted with demonstrations on April 15, the first anniversary of Sewol Ferry disaster. Approximately 10,000 people (police estimation) participated in the first memorial hosted by the Sewol Tragedy National Task Force at Seoul Plaza. The participants tried to march forward the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae after the memorial but confronted with the police. Sporadic gatherings continued in downtown Seoul past midnight.

The 416 Solidarity, composed of Sewol Families Committee, the Sewol Tragedy National Task Force and other civil society groups, canceled the first memorial that was supposed to be held at joint altar in Ansan, Gyeonggi province. The bereaved families in Paengmok port, Jindo temporarily closed the memorial altar on the news that President Park Geun-hye would visit there. Having been blocked by family members of the victims, Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo and ruling Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-seong and floor leader Yoo Seung-min had to turn back. It is pitiful to see that the very first memorial of the ferry Sewol is filled with conflicts and distrust instead of sharing deep sadness together.

What Sewol Families Committee and the Sewol Tragedy National Task Force insisted was to make “an immediate decision to salvage the ship” and “to abolish the draft enforcement ordinance of Special Sewol Law.” President Park on Thursday bowed again by saying, “I will take the necessary steps to salvage the ship at the earliest possible date” at Paengmok Port. She also instructed to revise the draft enforcement ordinance, accepting what the bereaved families have contended for. Under the circumstances, it would be seen as an unreasonable demand if they keep insisting to make an immediate decision over ship’s salvage or saying that they can’t wait for the amendment of draft enforcement ordinance.

Sewol Tragedy National Task Force, jointly headed by Lee Tae-ho, secretary-general of People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and Park Rae-gun, vice chairman of Human Rights Seoul, plans to hold a “massive rally for urging the salvage of Sewol Ferry and calling for finding the truth” in downtown Seoul on Saturday. The Park Geun-hye administration has already decided to salvage the ship whatever it would cost once the technical studies are completed. Still, they demand urging the ship’s salvage and calling for digging out the truth, which raise the doubt for their ulterior motive. The sadness of the bereaved families should never be used for unnecessary demonstration, provoking social conflict.