Sewol

On 14th of April 2013, a ferry with the name of Sewol sank on the southwest coast of Korea, killing 304 people.

It was a great tragedy where the citizens of Korea could do nothing else but sit and anxiously watch the big ferry sink.

The news reports said it was a tragic accident. Tragic, yes. But accident? no.

There are way too many traces of the government’s hands in the sinking of the Sewol ferry for it to be the accident the public has labeled it to be.

The ferry was supposed to carry students from this rich school. However, just before leaving the port, plans were changed. Instead of taking the high school students from the rich school, it ended up taking high school students from a more common school.

That’s not all the only suspicious thing that appeared upon its leave. It was a foggy day. Though I do not know much about sailing, I’ve watched enough movies to know that ships, ferry, watches, and just boats, in general, don’t set sail on a foggy day because the captains cannot see ahead of them. So let me repeat. It was a foggy day. So all the ferries at that port, that day, decided to not go to Jeju island. All but the Sewol ferry.

Even just by looking at the start, people can see that something was up.

Now, let us look at how the boat sank. If we trace back the tracks of the ferry, it takes a sharp turn at one point. This ferry was not a small boat. It had rooms after rooms and floors just below 5. Captains, when training how to drive a ship, learn not to make quick turns on water because the ship will flip. Yet that afternoon, the captain made a sudden turn. But then again, Sewol ferry was a big ferry. It needs great amounts of momentum for it to flip over. And guess what just happened to be at the top of the ferry: shipping containers that weren’t tied down properly. Who would have guessed? And after the ferry went down, the government did not allow the ferry to be fished out. So containers have had to stay down for a while.

After the boat started sinking, the lifeguards were set out. But that was it. The marines were ordered not to make a move. So the lifeguards went out and saved the captain and some of the crew members… and left. Just like that. They saved and evacuated the people who should have stayed behind until they were sure every one of their passengers was safe and out of the sinking piece of metal. If that does not strike you as suspicious, I really don’t know what does. On the news, when the reporter was telling us about how everyone was trying their hardest of rescue and save everyone, the camera footage shows a lonely ferry slowly sinking. The lifeguard boats at stepped back and just waited around.

That’s not the end of these nonsense lifeguards. They did fish out the people who came out of the ferry on their own, but those people have testified that they said some horrible things while saving them: things like “God why is he so fat?” and “How did the kid survive?”

Countries from all over the world offered to help, sending their own marines. They, too, could not stand looking at this tragedy unfolding in front of them even though it wouldn’t ever affect them. Yet just like the government shut down the Korean marines, they did the same for the marines of the other countries.

And while this not-actually-happening rescue was not-actually-happening, people hacked into the phones of the high schoolers drowning in the ferry and texted their parents: “Mom, I’m in the kitchen.” “Save me, please!” “I’m scared.” “Mommy… I love you.” This made it seem like the rescue was not happening because these kids were still surviving because there was still a chance these kids could be alive. But when the officials checked, it had hackers’ fingerprints all over it.

Right after this, the first person arrested was the principal of the high school that was on their ferry. He was interviewed and he was suspected. He ended up killing himself, not being able to handle the weight of everyone’s death and the government’s pressure. Can someone actually stare me in the eye and tell me that he was not a scapegoat? What did he do wrong? His students weren’t supposed to be on that ferry in the first place!

When the bereaved families did a demonstration against the government for the truth, they were punished, looked down upon, and even arrested. They were only demanding for the truth. They had been fighting for the truth for almost 4 years now.

Oh, did I mention that the president at that time was the daughter of a dictator we had about 30 years ago? Well, she is. But recently, she was impeached and the ferry was taken out of the ocean just a week or two ago. The inspection is going, but it’s not going well. Miscommunication is so common, which doesn’t make sense. The people fishing out the ship are too vague and refusing to share the information to those who have been sleeping on the docks just waiting for news.

Sewol means time and ages. As time passes, as ages go by, we, the people, are hoping for the truth to reveal itself, for the people who deserve it to get punished, and for the bereaved families to find peace. And that time will come; it will come.

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2 comments

  1. Sally Lee · April 14

    Hanny,
    First of all, I want to thank you for writing this post. I also think this post can be helpful for those who don’t know anything about the ferry to really understand everything that happened. I personally still cannot believe that a tragedy such as this could ever happen. It is still heartbreaking, and I also hope to find out the truth. I really liked how you wrote this post—giving different evidence on why there is still more to be uncovered. One thing that can make this post a lot better is by having a clear thesis at the beginning or the end that can really tie everything in. Right now, you have a lot of evidence and support, but no clear claim (although I do understand what you are arguing). It may be clearer for others if you do explicitly state it at the beginning.
    Other than that, excellent post. I hope we will find out everything soon. Until then we can only hope for the time to come.

    Like

  2. Karith Magnuson · May 4

    Hanny, your passion comes through so clearly, and I think your short paragraphs (esp. at the beginning) are really effective for drawing the reader in (creating suspense and interest). Two thoughts: 1. I agree with Sally that there isn’t really a clear claim here. What, exactly, is your purpose? 2. I think this would be strengthened with evidence — i.e. links to other sources backing up some of your claims. For someone not particularly familiar with the tragedy (like myself), it seems a little bit like a conspiracy theory, and outside references might add impact to what you’re telling us. But nicely done.

    Like

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