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As Long as We Remember...

March 18, 2014

“Missing” Flight MH370

Roy Meachum

When I visited Malaysia, it was, of course, to Kuala Lampur, the capital of the nation once known as Malaya. Under the British, you can’t imagine the week-long “missing” status of the Boeing 777-200 airliner currently in the news. It vanished with 239 people.


It seems after nine days and equal nights, they’ve found “suspicious” about the circumstances. Both pilots’ homes were searched and their families questioned. The search officials are a little curious, not in the Western sense. The second day they checked:


The Transponder that was all right: a signal system that identifies the plane to radar. ACARS – Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System – was not on. Guided Flight – the third indication is that after the transponder is turned off and beyond the range of civilian radar system, Malaysian military radar was able to track the plane as it turned west.


Evidently, none of the fail-safe devices worked and they’re now setting out in a very serious direction. 239 people? Of course, in a Western sense, there are too many humans to be left abandoned. The Eastern sense may write them off. But there are too many to be left in over a week.


Of course, the officials at Malaysian Airline and the “official” officials may think it’s kind of a stunt; but in Maryland we can’t write 239 men, women and children off. Certainly we have many things going in the world: Putin in Crimea? Small stuff. A matter of jurisdiction. Not worse than a life. Get down to it. 239 can be considered a small crowd.


The Western principle as opposed to the Eastern values an individual. On my way to Kuala Lampur, I stood in the New Delhi Airport and appreciated the difference. Asia has always threatened me since; I thought of T.S. Eliot’s part of “Wasteland,” in which the poet sighs that:


“Unreal city.

Under the brown fog of a winter afternoon,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many….”


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