Tragedies bring out the best and the worst from those involved. The columnist in the Catholic Times, in the View from the Ark, reminds us of this in a revisit to a topic that he admits has been given a great deal of space in the media. And yet he wants to visit the topic again with a great deal of sensitivity for it was a devastating blow to Korean society.
The Sewol ferry was not the first disaster Koreans experienced. In the past there was the criticism and proposals for the future. But they had little effect on the way things were done. This situation has demoralized the citizens and many see little hope for the future and remain pessimistic.
Great anger was felt at what happened. The behavior of those connected to the accident that continued to make the news was hard to accept as the actions of fellow human beings. "How could people have acted in that way?" In urgent circumstances our true self comes to the fore. The columnist makes note of the ugliness of what was seen in the behavior of those involved in the sinking of the ferry.
This disaster came at a time when we are asked to make a decision to be optimistic or pessimistic towards the world and its people, despair or have hope, be skeptical or believe. We need to take sides. The way reported, it was easy to be dragged along to lose hope and become skeptical in hoping for change. The columnist compares what we heard on the disaster as a peeling off the many layers of an onion, only to find something harder to accept than what came before, fostering more anger.
He does see the need to make known what happened and why, but at the same time not to take away hope that we should have for a better tomorrow. Where are we to find this hope for a better tomorrow? This hope is to be found in our brothers and sisters. This is where we will see the change. We will never be free from accidents, but we can hope that those involved will act like human beings.
Change is a possibility. All we have to do is look at the actions of many of those involved with the disaster. We had a women, member of the crew, who gave her life jacket to one of the passengers and remained with the passengers. We have a school teacher despite danger staying with the students, a student who returned to the ferry to be with his classmates. The families of those who died who pleaded: "Don't be sorry for us," and gave all their compensation money for scholarships.The many who worked without any fanfare doing the difficult tasks that came with the disaster, and the many citizens who felt the loss as if their own.
He concludes his words by telling us that we are to see the truth of hope in these examples of humanity at its best. Better to keep our gaze on persons who have given us hope than on those who have disappointed us. They are the ones that give us hope for the future.