Visit to Danwon High School (January 11, 2016)
January 18, 2016
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Professor Kim Hyung-yul (chairman of the Asia Institute) and I drove down to Danwon to meet with several of the parents of the children who died o April 16 2014 when the Sewol Ferry they were riding on sunk and they were told to stay in their seats as the pilot of the ferry jumped off the boat to safety. The concern with a Korea that has become unlivable for young people, known popularly as “Hell Chosun” is best represented by this incident. The sinking ferry is considered as a symbol for the state and the students the young people who are abandoned by those in business seeking short-term profits.
We spent four hours at the makeshift memorial shrine to the students that has been erected near the district of Danwon. We also visited Danwon High School to see the classrooms that have been turned into shrines to entire classes of students who died together in the dark in corridors that had turned upside down and were flooded with cold water. The photographs taken at the very last moments by students have been banned from public release for the most part.
The temporary memorial to the victims of the Sewol Ferry sinking in Danwon. The surviving students and parents have put enormous effort into creating an appropriate space, but the future of this memorial remains in doubt.
Geography of tragedy.
Pictures of the students who died are lined up inside the memorial.
Offerings to the victims represented in the memorial are brought daily. Birthdays of students
are solemnly celebrated by family members and classmates.
A personal note for a silent birthday.
Inside one of the classrooms in the high school which has been turned into a mausoleum. Each desk features items that belonged to the student. In one class, a single student survived to live on in shock.
The white board in four of the classrooms of Danwon are frozen in time.