Something terrible happened in Seoul last week and the entire country is mourning. Read “In Itaewon, Another Betrayal of Young Koreans” by E.Tammy Kim on New Yorker and “Itaewon crush: How South Korea let down its young people” by Jonathan Head on BBC News. It’s tragic, deeply angering and exasperating. The local public in South Korea, across the political spectrum, are engaging in conversation about societal accountability, public safety and how we have not improved much since the 2014 Sewol ferry accident.
Although there is international coverage of the accident, I haven’t seen or read much response or support from Korean Americans/ Overseas Koreans. I wonder what my Korean American friends and followers think about it, if they care about it, and if they have questions. I don’t have any answers. I’m not even ready to put words to my thoughts and feelings.
I’m not casting moral judgement against anyone for not showing enough support. I‘m just noting the information gap between Koreans and Korean Americans/ Overseas Koreans, and the issues they each respond to with personal urgency. Just last year, the Atlanta spa shootings and killing of Christina Yuna Lee shook the United States, especially Korean Americans and Asian Americans. The tragic events, along with ongoing racism and violence against Asian American people, are deeply sad, frustrating, and again, I’m at a loss of words. At the time, Korean local media covered both cases with detail, but the local public did not respond with great urgency.
It’s no surprise there is an emotional, cultural, and political gap between Koreans who live in Korea and overseas Koreans. Now that I’m observing both perspectives, it’s jarring how great the gap is.