Thursday, April 24, 2014

South Korea Ferry Disaster

When the unimaginable happens, it is common to ask "Why?" "What if?" "What next?"

Watching the media repeatedly air stories about incredible disasters and accidents, it is understandable that after about a week of constant exposure to the never ending details of these stories that people begin to feel detached and almost numb to the tragedies that have occurred.
I'm not saying that the depth of the tragedy isn't felt by others because it is and many immediately respond with aid and help.  I think it's more that the disasters are overwhelming, just too much to take in or process. Two recent tragedies, the sinking of a South Korean ferry killing over a hundred people and the missing Malaysian Airlines flight which disappeared about a month ago over possibly the Indian Ocean while carrying 239 passengers and crew members, are the kind of disasters which instantly spring to mind as incidents that can cause media burnout. 
But when the media moves the focus of the story from the bigger explanation of how the accident happened to the more intimate personal story of those victimized by these accidents, the fragility of life and our connections to each other immediately comes to the fore.

Our common bond of vulnerability is exposed.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran a touching story about a South Korean husband, Choi in-soo, and his painful efforts to try and understand the raw reality of losing his wife, Choi Soon-bok, in last week's ferry accident.  This is the kind of story that hits me.  When the person is still in shock and at the same time is trying to describe how it feels to discover that a loved one has died and they will never see that person again.

We all hold on to the last precious moments.  The last picture. The last text message.  The last voice message. The last email.

"I'm sorry I'm traveling without you," Mrs. Choi told her husband by phone when the ferry departed on Tuesday evening.  "That was the last I heard from her," Mr. Choi said. 
Here is the link to the Wall Street Journal story: 

Choi in-soo shows a photo of
his wife, Choi Soo-bok, on his smartphone.
Kwanwoo Jun/The Wall Street Journal

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