2022/11/23 Yang Qianhao
It will be one month since the Itaewon massacre in Seoul. Accompanied by lawyers, more than 20 family members of the victims held a press conference on November 22. , and was not informed of the rights and remedies, not only suffered mental blows, but was also isolated and helpless. The family members and lawyers demanded that President Yin Xiyue make a public apology, and called for the implementation of truth investigation and accountability, and at the same time prevent the outside world from “secondary harm” by blaming the victims through online messages.
The “Special Search Headquarters” (Special Search Bureau), which is responsible for investigating the responsibilities of various units before and after the tragedy, continued to seize and search the Ministry of Administration and Security (equivalent to Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior) and Seoul City Hall last week, and summoned the heads of relevant units. The head of the intelligence section of the Longshan Police Station, who was accused of instigating his subordinates to delete the “Public Safety Risk Analysis” report written by the police before the tragedy after the tragedy, was found dead at home on November 11. Preliminary research judged suicide.
While Tesouben’s investigation of the Itaewon massacre appears to be carried out in a “resolute” manner, many families of the victims are still extremely dissatisfied with the authorities’ handling and aftermath. Accompanied by the Lawyers Association (hereinafter referred to as “Minbian”; lawyers are referred to as “defense nurses” in Korean), more than 20 survivors made public appearances in front of the media on November 22, seeking justice for their deceased relatives.
▌”I can no longer be an incompetent and ignorant mother”
“After my son passed away, I haven’t been able to turn off the light in his room. I think he will open the door and come in even at this time; I resisted not turning off the light and waited for several nights…” 29-year-old victim Li Nanxun’s mother said. “If I knew that he would leave in such a false way, when he was still by my side, I would hug him more, pat him, tell him that I love him every day, and I would touch his face a few more times. Because I wanted to send him away one step earlier, I was struggling and shaking…”
Mrs. Lee said:
“The incompetent government has deprived my son, but in front of him, I will no longer be a tearful, incompetent and ignorant mother; I hope that all children in this land will no longer suffer from such absurd things. Sacrifice. I will speak up against this country and the government to get the truth out. I don’t know much about politics. All I want is the truth and a transparent investigation that day. Those responsible are accountable and step down, and then the president’s Formal apology…”
▌Families of the victims have been isolated and helpless for a long time
When the family members of the victims spoke, they shed tears, and some even cried out in despair, “Please help!” Most of them still cannot accept the fact that their children have left. During the press conference, some family members fainted due to emotional breakdown and left the venue with the support of other family members. The sad atmosphere at the scene, even many South Korean journalists at the scene were also in the process of interviewing and filming, and they couldn’t help crying.
“Since 6:34 p.m. 4 hours before the tragedy, there have been 11 calls to 112 reporting that they would be crushed to death, that they must be controlled,” and that they were “blocked and unable to breathe.” Ending with “no special events”… at 10:15 p.m., the death scene on the road in Itaewon, the role of the country did not exist.” The father of the victim, Song Eunji, said.
Mr. Song expressed dissatisfaction:
“To Lee Sang-min, Minister of Administration and Security, who lied and shirked responsibility, saying that “the problem cannot be solved even with the deployment of police and firefighters”, Park Hee-young, director of Yongsan District Office, who has always stated that he “has not received a report and does not know about it”, and Yongsan Police Chief Lee Im-jae , 112 Public Security Comprehensive Situation Office Director Liu Mizhen and others, we would like to ask our sons and daughters who are in the Mood for Love, until their candles of life are extinguished, what are these people doing at that time?”
“It is impossible to manage the crowd well, and to deal with the rallies (in other areas) that day, and the police force prioritizes the security defense of the President’s Office. It is obviously an event with 130,000 people gathered, but it is impossible to put the commandos assembled nearby into it. At the scene, I think it shows that the police do not take the protection of ordinary citizens as the top priority, but are immersed in managing the demonstration order and police work.” Said the father of the 25-year-old victim Lee Min-ah.
As the site where the Itaewon tragedy occurred is only 1.5 kilometers away from the South Korean President’s Office, Mr. Lee believes that if the police and security personnel from the President’s Office were dispatched to the site of the incident in time before and after the tragedy, there would be a chance to reduce the scale of casualties. He also said that even the police themselves expected that there would be a large-scale gathering of people in the Itaewon area, but they failed to deal with it safely, including the police itself, as well as the Ministry of Administration and Security, which is the highest authority in the field of public security, should be blamed .
Mr. Li, who loudly criticized the lax handling of the police before the tragedy, then pointed the finger at the authorities’ response after the tragedy. Mr Lee said:
“The survivors organized gatherings and sought a space for psychological stability. They were not prepared. The content of the accident, the aftermath situation, and the basic rights of the victims were not dealt with! Tragedy, mutual empathy and gain The comfort is for the families of the victims. But the actions of the government are tantamount to cutting off the communication between the families, which is inhumane!”
Compared with the Shiyue shipwreck in 2014, when the incident happened, the families of the missing persons immediately went to Pengmu Port to wait for the search and rescue news, and it was easier to immediately form a group to speak out and take countermeasures. However, the scene of the Itaewon massacre was chaotic and many people were unable to confirm their identities immediately. In addition, the casualties were scattered and transferred to various hospitals in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do, making it impossible for most family members to organize and form mutual support in the first place. and the power of a common voice.
Therefore, after a period of time after the tragedy, many family members of the victims were saddened by the death of their children and faced with various feasible rights and remedies, they were in a state of isolation and helplessness, suffering physically and mentally. Many people were not able to meet, contact and discuss with other family members how to deal with it until two weeks after the tragedy, through the communication of others, or the intervention and connection of Minbian and other civil organizations.
Many families of the victims believe that the government’s “scattered contact” approach to the family members after the incident is deliberately reducing the unity of the family members and their criticism of those in power, in order to downplay the negative impact of the tragedy on the government. At present, including Mr. Li, many family members are requesting that a mechanism for family members to contact each other at any time should be established, and a joint condolence center or memorial space should be established. But so far, the government has not given a specific response.
▌The mother of the actor victim came forward
The mother of the 23-year-old victim, Lee Ji-han, who participated in the selection for the second season of “PRODUCE 101” and later debuted as an actor, recalled:
“At 2 o’clock in the afternoon that day, he was wearing pants and a shirt, tying his shoelaces and said to me: ‘Mom, I’m coming back for dinner today! I have a shooting schedule tomorrow, so I will come back early today!’ How did this happen? Received The news said that my child died. I didn’t want to believe it, and I wouldn’t believe it. I went to the hospital to see that it was Jihan…”
“He really didn’t eat that day, his cheeks were thin and his stomach was flat, so I beat my chest and cried, ‘Jihan, you haven’t eaten today…'” Ms. Zhao said.
Ms. Zhao revealed that she has not yet recovered from the pain of losing her son. At present, as soon as the sun goes down, she will feel frightened. Not only is it difficult to eat and drink, but she also has auditory hallucinations as if she feels her son talking. She is considering receiving psychological treatment. She regarded this incident as “a man-made disaster and homicide incident caused by the inability to implement the initial response”, and advocated that if the police went to the scene earlier, “no one would die.”
Since the incident, Ms. Zhao is outraged by the series of subsequent statements made by the police and the central government, including Yongsan Police Chief Li Imjae who “lied” the arrival time at the scene, and Minister of Administration and Security Li Sangmin who declared that “the deployment of police and firefighters will not solve the problem.” . She advocated that several high-level police officers should be punished under the crimes of “negligence of duty and professional negligent death” and “homicide by negligence”.
“I sincerely ask President Yoon Seok-yue. If 100,000 children (going to Itaewon) cannot be protected, if the 158 victims and injured youths cannot be saved, who can the 50 million people trust… I I still believe in the president of the Republic of Korea, you ask me why? Because my husband and I, as well as Ji Han, voted for President Yoon Seok-yue…”
Speaking of this, Ms. Zhao choked up tears.
Ms. Zhao finally picked up her mobile phone and played the song that Zhihan sang for her mother and Ms. Zhao’s favorite song – “Go to the Stars”. This is the last voice Zhihan left for Ms. Zhao before his death.
“I don’t know where I’m going. I’m alone under the night sky, so I just want to walk with you♪”
▌The government’s “one-to-one personal assistance” has not been fully implemented
The families of the victims and their lawyers issued a joint statement, requesting President Yin Xiyue to formally apologize to the survivors for the tragedy, establish a truth investigation system that allows the families to participate and thoroughly clarify the facts of the case, and provide information that allows the families of the victims to participate in dialogue and allow the public to grieve At the same time, the government is required to further provide humanitarian support and prevent “secondary harm” such as online abuse and attacks on the wounded, victims and their families.
“This tragedy is not the fault of those who can’t return to the world, but is clearly the responsibility of the government. The government should face up to it and oppose the secondary harm by public opinion. At the same time, it must formulate a specific countermeasure for the secondary harm.”
Yin Funan, the leader of the “10.26 Tragedy Response Working Group” and lawyer, said.
According to the information obtained by the people’s defense department, the family members of the victims still feel heartbroken when they see messages slandering the deceased on the Internet. Some family members are considering taking further legal action. At present, from time to time on the Internet, you can still see such things as “Why go to a crowded place if you have nothing to do, you deserve it!”, “Ask for compensation from the state after death?”, “Anyway, they have no future in life, so they can die” etc malicious message.
Lawyer Yin revealed to reporters that he did not plan to hold a press conference at first, but after contacting the families of many victims, he found that after the funeral, many of the victims acted as if “everything is over” “Being abandoned made him feel heartbroken, so he decided to gather family members to speak out.
Since President Yin Xiyue publicly stated on the day after the tragedy that the government will provide funeral support for the victims, each family member of the deceased will arrange a corresponding civil servant to provide one-on-one personal contact and assistance. Come on, not everyone gets support equally.
Some family members of the victims revealed at the scene that after the funeral of their children, they received a proactive contact from the trauma center for consultation and treatment, but Lawyer Yin said: “Some family members heard (the government) would support the funeral expenses and waited, but they have not received any We don’t know how it was implemented, but it shows that one-on-one personal support is not being implemented in close proximity to each of the victims’ families.”
Since the Itaewon massacre, in addition to the mutual transfer of responsibility between the government and the police, the unknown psychological torture and helplessness of the families of the victims have gradually surfaced. These parents who have lost their loved ones are facing the coldest and most desperate winter in their lives.
Editor / Lin Qihao
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