Pain lingers as nation mourns lost lives

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-7 23:28:01

Sunday marks the seventh day since the Yangtze cruise ship Eastern Star went down, a key date on which to mourn the dead in Chinese tradition. In a sign of mourning, sirens sounded over the Jianli section of the river where the ship capsized and TV channels announced a suspension of entertainment programs for two days. As of Sunday night, the death toll has climbed up to 432 with 10 remaining unaccounted for.

The shipping disaster, the worst since the establishment of the PRC, will be recorded in history. It shocked the whole country and spurred a swift response as China's emergency personnel swung into action.

The nation's finest emergency responders converged on the scene, carrying out their rescue operations under the glare of publicity as the nation waited, expecting more miracles of survival.    

According to survivors, the ship capsized at an incredible speed and the tragedy took place in only one minute. Most passengers probably died in the first few minutes of the shipwreck.

Even with timely and effective emergency rescue, we were powerless to save most people's lives. Nonetheless, we have made our utmost efforts. Even if we have to face cold bodies in the end, the rescue showed respect to all the victims.

To aid in the rescue operation, the flow of water from the Three Gorges Dam was reduced. While the measures the country has taken are unsatisfactory for some, most of the public has shown understanding. We are not omnipotent in the struggle with death. It's a cruel display of the fragility and limitation of modernization.

A minority poured out dissenting voices and leveled complaints. But it's noticeable that they don't represent the mainstream sentiments of society over the shipwreck.

The foreign media are prone to report those dissenting opinions. However, in view of the swift and effective operation, they have shown restraint in not capitalizing on China's pains this time. This has rarely been the case over the years.

The focus for the coming days will be investigating the cause of the shipwreck and coping with the aftermath. While the state plays the leading role in the rescue process, it shouldn't be the sole entity responsible for the aftermath.

When society can learn to let the law and regulations draw up the details of post-disaster operations, it will mean a step forward toward social upgrade.

Disaster always hits human beings unexpectedly. It is difficult to tell whether we have mastered the planet, or we are stumbling forward. The struggle with disaster will have no end and it will be costly.

Most of the casualties on the Eastern Star were seniors, which causes us an extra layer of sadness. The feelings of heartache and guilt will linger for a long time.

Posted in: Editorial

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