The GermanWings Crash: Did the Suicidal Pilot Deserve a Candle?

It is surely a sign of our times that we delicately talk of "pilot suicide" when in fact this German Wings pilot killed 149 people along with himself when he slammed the plane in the mountainside. In any other society, at any other time in History, this would have been called a homicide. In plain English: murder.

So far, only the New York Times has come out with a really outstanding article about this tragedy, apportioning responsibility where it belongs, in particular to Lufthansa's management - that overlooked the danger signals regarding this pilot when he was in training, "haltingly" going through the process as the Times put it (it took him several years with many unexplained stops).

As far as I know, no media in Europe has done as good a job of probing into this problem of "denial of risk of pilot suicide", and if I'm wrong about this, please signal it in the comments. All I see is that Lufthansa took the position that it was "not required" to report the pilot's "depression" to the aviation authorities (see related article below).

The New York Times attributes this "denial of risk" to Germany's culture of privacy: in the German view, if you have health or mental problems, these are a private matter and you don't need to share information. Fine and well. Until you threaten, as the experts say, "aviation safety". More bluntly: until you kill human lives. Then perhaps, privacy cannot be used as an excuse.

Moreover, I'm not sure it's just a question of privacy. There is something else at work here.

Consider the non-denominational memorial ceremony organized by German Wings and held five days ago in the Cologne Cathedral in memory of all those who died in that tragic crash. It was attended by the German President and Angela Merkel, as well as all family members, rescuers and German Wings personnel. A moving ceremony with 150 candles lit for each victim.

150 candles?

Forgiveness was extended to the pilot and he got his own candle. When you think that he snuffed out, among others, the young lives of many exchange students and two renowned opera singers - all innocent people who deserved to live a full life - one cannot help but wonder. What is the meaning of forgiveness? What kind of society is it that celebrates the memory of a man who has taken along with his own life, the lives of 149 innocent people? Yes, of course, the answer is: a forgiving society. A tolerant society. The Cardinal urged forgiveness for the depressed pilot...

What is your opinion? Did he deserve a candle? Does anyone dare say what they feel?


Source: UK Guardian, photo: Action Press/REX Shutterstock


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