03 July, 2009

The 'thing' with airplane crashes

Flying is the safest way to travel; in contrast, the most dangerous and most unsafe way is using the automobile. Across the Globe, it's estimated that over 1 million people are killed each year in road accidents and tens of millions more are injured; millions are maimed for life. Worldwide, thousands of people, are killed everyday in road accidents. And yet, there is this 'thing' about airplane crashes that has a tremendous impact on the public and in the news.

Whenever an airplane crashes, media coverage is instant and nonstop. Governments and elected officials, even though there are many more people dying due to other causes, react immediately to plane crashes - offering condolences and promising action; airlines and manufacturers of the planes, fall over themselves trying to deflect blame and try to avoid responsibility. That, unfortunately, is the reaction we are seeing and having to the recent Yemenia plane crash.

Founded in 1949 as Yemen Airways, in 1978 it became Yemenia - with 51% owned by the Yemeni government and 49% by the Saudi Arabian government. In its 50 year history, the Yemeni airline has never had a plane crash; this, is not being mentioned in the present frenzy by the news media. It's very unfortunate too, that one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Comoro Islands, is getting so much attention and focus at such a very sad time for some of its people.

Very, very rarely is one of the most astoundingly, naturally beautiful places on Earth - the Comoros - mentioned in the news. Search on the Net, and very little can be found on the islands, either written or in photos. The people of the Comoros have, for years, had a very close relationship and affinity with Yemen; especially Hadhramout. The islands of the Comoros share mostly African-Arab, mainly Hadhhramy, origins; Arabic-Hadhramy culture is firmly established on the Islands. Many from the Islands, still do have relatives here and still do visit Hadhramout. It's very unfortunate and sad that, the people of the Comoros have all this focus and attention from the media and for Yemen to be repeatedly mentioned in relation to that - not due to our deep ethnic and cultural ties and closeness, but because of an unfortunate tragic accident.