Tsunami Memorial One Year After

Thailand marked the one year anniversary of the tsunami in a number of locations along the Andaman coast.
       The day, which was meant to mark the tragedy which took the lives of thousands of people of all ages and many nationalities, looked from the outset to become just another PR stunt for Thailand’s Prime Minister and an opportunity to whitewash the many millions donated from around the world in the days immediately after the disaster.
       The main event took place in Bang Niang a bit north of Khao Lak in the evening of 26 December. Here the atmosphere resembled more that of a local market place with game booths and loud pop music than the of a serious memorial, which it was supposed to be.
       Relatives and survivors from all over the world had been invited for free to return to see and confirm to the world how everything – especially business – had “returned to normal”.
       The stage was decorated with cute little curly waves in light blue as if the evening was a beauty queen contest and when the multi-religious rites took place, only few took notice and even fewer people could hear a word of what was going on.
       Then suddenly it all became very real and emotional as thousand of light gondolas around eight o’clock were magically released and began their slow ascent upwards and outwards over the sea, further and further until they finally blended in completely with the stars in the deep tropical night above.
       With candles in their hands, standing bare feet on the beach, relatives and survivors gave away and let the tears flow and their pain show in a beautiful moment of shared grief and mutual comfort.
       From Denmark, only 18 of the relatives and injured had taken up the offer to travel for free to Thailand to take part in the memorial. But many more had come with their whole family on their own.
       The relatives were joined by staff from the Royal Danish Embassy, led by Ambassador and Mrs. Ulrik Helweg-Larsen, and Vicar Hans Vestergaard Jensen from the Danish Seamen’s Church in Singapore.

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