Oriental medical doctors who care the victim families, Catholic priests, and citizens .. thousands join fasting

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of an article appeared in <Hankyoreh Shinmun> on Aug. 24, 2014, reporting progresses on Mr. Kim who has been on hunger strike for 42 days requesting a special legislation for proper investigation of Sewol disaster but was hospitalized for worsening conditions and other victims’ families who tried to march to Blue House to ask a meeting with Mdm President but were blocked off by police cordon and had to stay in open for three straight days near Blue House. All rights regarding this post stay with the author(s) of the original article or with<Hankyoreh Shinmun> and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. In the post, I tried to match the English translation of names of people / institution(s) / position(s) to authentic one(s) as much as possible but, unfortunately, some of them still can be different. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in this link:

유족 돌보던 한의사·사제단·시민… 동조단식 오프라인서만 3천명 넘어

Sewol victims’ families, “Blue House, respond.” Families of Sewol disaster victims are sending out paper planes of wish letters to the Blue House over the besieging police bus-walls at Seoul Cheongwoon-dong Community Center on Aug. 24. Reporter Jeong-ah Lee 이정아 기자 leej@hani.co.kr

42-day long hunger streak gains support from various circles
Sewol victims’ families stay on the road before Blue House for three straight days
‘Promise for unconstraint fact finding activity thrown-away like a dirt’ come angered shouts
Mr. Young-oh Kim still declines meals even at hospital
Singer Jang-hoon Kim who has been in hunger strike with Mr. Kim collapsed

The hunger strike of Mr. Young-oh Kim, “Yoo-min’s daddy,” who had to be hospitalized for worsening conditions continues for 42 straight days on Aug. 24 and about thirty Sewol victim families stay on the road near Cheongwoon-dong Community Center near Blue House for three straight days demanding a meeting with Mdm. President Park. Over 3000 citizens joined ‘one day fasting’ in support of them.

Families of Sewol disaster victims, missing ones, and survivors held a press conference at the Cheonwon-dong Community Center and asked for a meeting with Mdm. President Geun-hye Park for the third day. They have been eating and sleeping at the Community Center parking lot for the third straight day since Aug. 22, the day when Kim was brought to hospital. “President who shed tears and promised to us that she would do all to expose everything regarding Sewol disaster as we and people wanted now changes her face and steps back from it. We can’t understand that. If a person speaks something with tears, we can trust it. Now, isn’t this common sense true to her?” they asked. The police cordon the whole Cheongwoon-dong Community Center area with 7~8 police buses and check everyone who enters and exits there. Some citizens who want to visit the sit-in site had to wrangle with police for it.

Mr. Kim’s hunger strike is becoming more of a ‘social phenomenon’ now. Oriental medical doctors and other medical staffs who care for Sewol victims’ familites also held a press conference at the strike site in Seoul Gwanghwa-mun Square and expressed their intention to join the hunger strike. They said “as medical staffs, we can’t support the way of strike that can hurt someone’s life. But right now, the victims’ families have chosen the hunger strike as their last resort. We can’t simply walk away from them.” They also said that they would provide medical support for citizens who would join the hunger strike at Gwanghwa-mun Square. Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice that holds a Mass everyday evening decides to join the hunger strike from Aug. 25. Besides them, leading figures of society, religious people, cinema people, journalists, students, cartoonists, teachers etc. join the hunger strike at the strike site in Gwanghwa-mun Square.

Citizens are also joining the hunger strike. On Aug 23, about 460 citizens came to the strike site in Gwanghwa-mun Square and joined the ‘one-day fasting’ movement. So far, about 2900 citizens visited the strike site and showed their support by fasting one full day. About 23,000 netizens also expressed their support for victims’ families demand and joined the fasting movement. Members of internet cafe ‘Mom’s yellow handkerchief’ visited the Cheongwoon-dong Community Center and handed over foods to Sewol victims’ families. Christian priests also brought blankets and sleeping bags. A citizen who called himself as a Cheongwoon-dong resident delivered noodles, breads, and candies for 30 people. Members of internet cafe ‘Gangnam Canddles’ also brought lunch boxes for 70.

‘Police bus-wall’ blocks out victims’ families Families of Sewol disaster victims who are sitting in at Seoul Cheongwoon-dong Community Center near Blue House requesting special legislation for proper investigation of Sewol disaster are blocked out by police bus-walls on Aug. 24. Reporter Jeong-ah Lee 이정아 기자 leej@hani.co.kr

Mr. Young-oh Kim who was brought to Seoul Dongbu Hospital is stabilized now but still denies meals. Mr. Kyeong-geun Yoo, Sewol victims’ spokesperson said “Doctors said his pulse is stabilized to 60 beats-per-minute level now but he still suffers headaches and muscle-aches. He does not move freely yet either. But he still denies meals.” Mr. Yoo also added “Mr. Kim still insists that he will return to the Gwanghwa-mun Square even by tomorrow and we are having a hard time dissuading him. Unfortunately, we don’t have any progress yet to stop him.”

By the way, singer Jang-hoon Kim who had been on hunger strike with Mr. Kim since Aug. 8 collapsed and was hospitalized this day. One of his friend said “Jang-hoon Kim’s condition deteriorated through fasting and it made his panic disorder worse. He’s stabilizing now but his discharge is uncertain yet.”

Reporter Ki-yong Park 박기용 기자 xeno@hani.co.kr

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