On the morning of April 16, 2014, the Sewol ferry tragedy saw over 300 young lives sink into the sea off the coast of Korea. I started my day watching the unbelievable news in a tiny apartment and was shocked. I still clearly remember everything about that morning - what I was doing when I heard it, what I said, and what the media showed. I couldn’t focus on anything else, but just held my breath and watched the terrible story the media poured out. That night, I cried a lot with realization that I was watching the live broadcast of so many souls dying beyond help.
There are events that are imprinted in the mind and will never be forgotten. They are forever remembered as pain, sadness, and trauma, that pops up unbidden once in a while. Although I started my day as usual, but unlike any other, there are some days when all memories remain really clear.
And about eight years later, on October 30 last year, as soon as I opened my eyes in the morning, I was suffocated again by the incredible news I heard of the crush in Itaewon.
The aftermath of these events saw coldness and lack of empathy from society, an embarrassing response from the authorities, and blaming of the victims.
These horrific incidents felt so close to me. I experienced this coldness and sense of helplessness in a different form, and so I feel deep and unforgettable pain. I live far from Korea now, but I hope that the world I live in, and the next generations’, will be safe. I hope it will be such a society that has physical safety in the literal sense, as well as emotional stability that recognises and addresses pain and suffering, and gives solidarity with each other. And I hope to put my voice in my own way for that. I wish I could hold the hands of those reaching for help.