Together in Tragedy

Together in Tragedy

Mar 16 , 2019.

Dear Editor,

A week after celebrating a great national triumph, we witnessed an international tragedy on Ethiopian soil.

It is always difficult to respond to catastrophic events, but plane crashes are uniquely shocking. Their suddenness, violence and magnitude are impossible to imagine, leaving us reeling. Accidents like this remind us that human innovation can fail. They remind us that our control is not ultimate, and our technology is not as infallible as we would like to believe. When something goes wrong, we are confronted by the inevitability of our death.

And so we are left standing in the wreckage, desperately searching for explanations.

This is a devastating loss, not just for Ethiopia, but for the world. Flight ET-302 carried passengers from 35 different countries. Communities all over the world are now suffering the same pain of mourning the loss of loved ones. In Africa, Europe, Asia and America alike, people are now grappling with the gap left by their co-workers, brothers, mothers, sisters, bosses, neighbours, coaches, children, fathers, cousins, mentors, classmates and friends. Whether it is an empty chair at the dinner table, the absence of a regular phone call, a desk without an occupant or an empty half of the bed, the silence is the same.

By many standards, the victims of this tragedy do not have much in common. We live in a world that likes to draw lines and create borders between nations, ethnicities, genders, religions, classes and even appearances. But events like this do not discriminate. The pain of this trauma is experienced collectively. Tragedy reminds us of all what we have in common. It brings us together.

Tragedies and our response to them define the most human experience. Those impacted by this event are a community - not of a country, continent, colour or creed, but a community defined by a shared humanity. In grief and loss, we are all equals. This is not only a national tragedy but a global tragedy, a human tragedy. We do not mourn as Ethiopians, Americans, Canadians or Kenyans, but as humans.

Even as we are confronted by our own mortality, we might be consoled by our shared humanity, for we endure the loss together. Together, we are silent, we remember, we look for answers and move on.

Jack Bryan

Chicago, United States

PUBLISHED ON Mar 16,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 985]