September 25, 2014

Nodutdol, like many organizations and individuals around the world, is in support of justice for Sewol families. We continue to mourn this tragedy that still has no answers. It doesn’t require a special investigation to see that the Sewol tragedy affected everyone deeply, and that the campaign to pass a special Sewol law is a cause that many groups and individuals, especially school parents and concerned citizens, believe in. How would it be possible to take no action, looking at the greatest peacetime tragedy in Korea in the last twenty years? We are mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, and we grieve with the Sewol families who want to know what really happened and how it can be prevented in the future.

We are appalled that our participation in NY rallies calling for justice for the Sewol victims is being characterized as “’disgraceful’ by the spokesperson for the Saenuri Party and that the rallies themselves are being labelled as Nodutdol-led, when in fact, they were organized by many groups and individuals in the community.

We see these statements and media coverage as an effort to discredit and dismiss the voices of the many who want to seek truth and justice, and a familiar tactic throughout South Korean history to silence any dissent or criticism.  We recognize this as a serious and deliberate act to divide our Korean American community by the outdated cold-war ideology. 

This is what is happening to the Sewol families themselves, who in calling for justice, have also been labeled anti-government forces and redbaited by the Saenuri Party. For these families to endure such terrible loss, only to be dismissed in this way, is a terrible abuse of power.

Speaking out is not a crime. Standing for justice and truth should not be viewed with suspicion as an anti-state effort.

The Sewol tragedy, which claimed so many lives, should be the turning point in Korean society from which to value life and unite together to build a better world. However, the ruling Saenuri Party, in reviving the tactics of military dictatorships and labeling its critics as pro-North, are only serving to divide people and the Korean diaspora. Rather than expend energy and resources on such actions, the government should redouble its efforts to make sure a tragedy like Sewol never happens again. The public deserves to know the truth. The families deserve to ensure that their loved ones did not die in vain.

To repeat the demand of so many, we urge a rapid resolution of the Sewol Ferry Disaster.

Establish a Sewol Ferry Committee with independent power for investigation and prosecution!

Enact a special law providing for the Sewol Ferry Committee!