Pacific Stars and Stripes, Aug. 8, 1952

Seoul Shows Calloused Attitude In Child's Plight

 

(Editor's Note: Scenes of suffering among civilians in Korea are common. A typical incident is written for the United Press by Air Force 1st Lt. Charles Vogel, Philadelphia.)
 
SEOUL (UP)- This was in Seoul, the summer of '52-and remember this is but one case in hundreds. I saw it; I don't think I shall ever forget it.
 
She was a small girl, very small, not more than four or five at the most. She was lying in a twisted position, her knees drawn up. At first it seemed as though she might be dead, the victim of a hit-and-run.
 
THE MASSES continued to pass her; they gave no sign or indicated that there was a small girl lying there before them with her insides hanging out.
 
The policeman, not 25 feet away continued to direct traffic and the people continued to pass, both unmindful of the naked, dirty little body.
 
The flies and maggots were well aware of her, however. The flies and maggots and other vermin and filth knew she was there. They crawled over the red protruding intestine.
 
SHE WASN'T DEAD. With one hand she brushed the flies and bugs away the best she could and within one grubby little fist of the other she held a piece of raw corn that she ate with feeling as if it were a peppermint stick.
 
Someone had felt sorry for her-they gave her the corn. Yes, she could move. She could even stand and walk and had enough emotion left to cry from the pain and hunger that crawled inside of her. The most pathetic and perhaps the most amazing part of this was the finality with which she accepted her apparent plight.
 
IT TOOK MORE than just a little persuasion to get the police interested enough to call the hospital and assure her of getting proper attention that was by now so long overdue.
 
Even now as I write this, we are endeavoring to find her because I learned that she never did get to the hospital. She was instead taken to a first aid station, then sent to an orphanage, not accepted and turned out into the street again.
 
In her present condition this little girl will never get to be a big girl. She will never see another summer in Seoul-she will be dead before the leaves turn.
 
THERE IS a lot being done for these people, true, but it hardly seems that there is enough being directed toward suffering and will continue to seem so unless there is more attention given to such cases as the one cited.
 
The children of the street, not those already in the hands of an agency. Their home-the streets and alleys with a refuse can or a pile of rubbish for a bed. Their food-what they can beg, steal or scrounge.
 
PSS-094