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Itaewon, one year after

Source: Hankook Ilbo

Almost a year since the Itaewon Halloween tragedy, families continue to mourn their lost ones with a memorial opening in Seoul Plaza on Oct. 29. But what has changed since the tragedy?

The memorial, “Truth, Commemorate, and Resolution to the Truth,” began with a march from Itaewon Station Exit 1 to the memorial altar, the location of the tragedy. People gathered at the altar to pay their respects to lost ones and signed a petition to pass a special act that would establish a committee to find who was responsible for not preventing the tragedy.

Clashes between the bereaved families and the government have not subsided. Since the construction of the memorial altar, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has consistently requested that the memorial altar be taken down. Despite 16 attempts at negotiation, the families and the city were unable to reach a compromise, which could lead to a forced demolition of the memorial altar. Seoul Mayor Oh Se-Hoon stated that the city cannot wait one to two years and that it be self-demolished by the families.

“I think the main point of conflict arises from people who have not lost anyone during the Itaewon tragedy versus people who have,” Ryan Jung (12), spectator of the Itaewon crowd crush, said. “People who have lost loved ones feel like it is their justice to get to the end of this, while people who have not lost anyone are not as serious about the matter. But I do agree the government needs to be taking the matter more seriously, since promises of new laws have not been kept.”

Furthermore, there was further controversy as President Yoon was not present at the memorial, opting to visit a church to commemorate lost ones. Some perceive this as a lack of responsibility towards the issue, while government representatives replied that President Yoon has devoted significant effort to caring for the bereaved families.

Despite reports of the lack of preventative measures, poor foresight in crowd management, and investigations into government officials on the lack of responsibility of preventing the tragedy, no one has been officially indicted for any crime or fault, sparking more outrage from affected families.

“It is awful that the justice system failed to find anyone liable for the incident,” Tobias Choy (12), witness of the Itaewon crowd crush, said. “There are people online that blame the partygoers for causing the incident. However, is it really their fault for wanting to have fun? We need to be considerate about who we are pointing fingers to.”

While political conflicts continue, the police ramped up control over Itaewon and Hongdae in anticipation of a large crowd, strictly enforcing the law preventing people from wearing police or military outfits.

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Andrew Shin
Andrew Shin, Reporter
Andrew is a senior reporter for Tiger Times Online. He enjoys cycling, watching anime, and listening to some ? jazz ? in his off-time. Feel free to approach him with anime recommendations!

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