May 9, 2019 is a date to remember for HUFSans. A fire that broke out in a residential dwelling near the North Entrance of the Seoul Campus took the lives of two fellow HUFSans, Farrukh Muminov and Mutal Yuldashev. The two Uzbekistani students were of the Department of International Economics and Law. Mr. Muminov passed away in the fire, and Mr. Yuldashev was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
Following the incident, the HUFS community came together in mourning. The university administration set up a Memorial Altar for Farrukh Muminov in the lobby of the Globee Dorm building. In the ensuing week, friends, acquaintances and schoolmates offered chrysanthemums, lit incense and wrote messages of condolence for Farrukh and utmost support for Mutal’s recovery. According to the GSA, Farrukh’s remains were returned to his home country on request of his family.
Mutal was hospitalized and was to undergo a series of surgeries. To cover the costs, the Global Student Association (GSA) set up a fund where members of the HUFS community – professors, school staff, students, alumni, and more – could donate. Donations boxes were placed across the Seoul and Global Campuses. “We saved up 46,481,383 won (US$ 39,736),” said the GSA later in their Donation Status Report post.
Mr. Yuldashev battled for his life until May 19 when he passed away, 10 days after the accident. On the Memorial Altar, Mutal’s portrait joined Farrukh’s, as more friends and acquaintances came to pay their respects. On May 20, a memorial service was held to bid Mutal farewell before his remains were transported back to his home country.
Thanks to the GSA and HUFS, funds were able to find their way to the Muminov and Yuldashev families in the following months. As stated in the GSA report, “The Insurance Company, the International Student Life Insurance, the Dongdaemun-gu International Student Accident Insurance, and the University donations have collected and given each family 132,000,000 won (US$ 112,845).”
The event left the HUFS community devastated, as community boards were covered with posts bereaving their loss, expressing utter grief, and sincerely hoping for the well-being of the surviving family members. The deceased HUFSans now lay in peace in their home country, but they left deep impressions in the hearts of HUFSans. Life or death, Farrukh Muminov and Mutal Yuldashev were and still are members of HUFS community. They will forever be remembered.
By Park Chang-hwan Associate Editor of Theory & Critique Section