WITH the passage of time, human beings register scientific and technological advancements in various spheres, some of which are on a phenomenal scale.
Transportation is one of the sectors in which much headway has been made, aeroplanes flying at terrific speed being among the amazing manifestations.
That is all very well, and we thank God for endowing some individuals with amazing skills that are channeled into manufacturing aeroplanes, which form a crucial component of the aviation industry.
Plus, equipping some people with skills, such as piloting and aircraft engineering, who make it possible for planes to fly from place to place. Life would obviously be intolerably dull if such scientific and technological advancements had not been made.
Transport-wise, the pace of human civilisation would have been very slow, if the world had been minus aeroplanes, and human beings had been solely dependent on modes of transport like buses and trains.
There’s a sense, however, in which, paradoxically, blessings sometimes turn into curses. This is periodically played out in the airline industry, as planes literally tear the skies, to deliver passengers from particular pick-up airports to specified destinations.
The death of 157 people (149 passengers and eight crew members) in a plane crash near the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, on Sunday, is one of the latest cases that fits into that scenario.
We, Tanzanians, have been deeply touched by the tragedy on three fronts. First and foremost, those who perished were fellow human beings.
This is better captured by the expression ‘global village’, to which Tanzania belongs, hence the tweet by President John Magufuli: “I am deeply saddened to hear about the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 which occurred early today.
I seize this occasion to express my profound condolences to all the bereaved families and to all Heads of State whose people’s lives have been claimed by this accident.”
The President’s sentiments reverberate across the national spectrum. Closer home, and fundamentally in the spirit of good neigbourliness, Tanzanians have been touched because the tragedy snatched the lives of 33 fellow East African Community (EAC) members –32 Kenyans and one Ugandan.
We are duly joining their relatives and other associates in mourning them. On the technical front, the tragedy should provide a discussion point for EAC member states on consolidating aerial transportation safety.