Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Aftermath of Tragedy

After the loss of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 last week, a colleague reached unsubstantiated conclusions about who might be responsible for that loss and what their motivations might be.  Her remarks were highly charged, highly polarizing and not very respectful of the diversity which exists in our shrinking world...

" For me, the last 48 hours have been like a restless slumber where nightmare after nightmare has robbed me of rest. No. It's more than that. The hours since returning from AMS on Thursday have made me skittish, furtive, unsure of reality, the way only loss of sleep compounded by loss after loss of a personal nature can do. A long-time friend is ravaged by a once-dormant disease that has become mercilessly active. Another retires suddenly after a near-death health scare late last year. An aircraft of a type that I regularly serve upon disappears on a seemingly routine service in Asia and we learn later that the aircraft has crashed into the sea, taking the lives of all aboard. All of these things matter to me. They matter a great deal because each represents a profound loss or potential loss of a personal nature.

I awaken in GIG from a fitful nap after an all-night flight and come upon this thread.

Being human, I'm subject to making the same value judgments as every other human makes, based on my life experience. I may not agree with all of the conclusions you reach. Doubtless you will not agree with all of mine. It's the very definition of diversity and, while I may not like it, I respect it.

I think that what's missing in some of the contributions to this thread is respect: respect for a calamitous loss of life, respect for something like another's religion which they hold just as dear as you or I do yours or mine, respect for someone else's perspective which is derived from the totality of one's life experience.

So who is right and who is wrong? It's not quite that easy. Right and wrong are concepts that we use to teach a toddler about values. We employ those clear concepts to prepare the adolescent for adulthood. Because in adult life, "right and wrong" give way to the real world of actions and consequences. If you feel sufficiently strongly on a topic to make what is certain to be a controversial assertion, you must be prepared to take the consequence of that action: feedback.

The Way FORWARD > > > > has been described as a respite, an oasis from the rampant negativity that is found in so many quarters in social media. That characterization is someone's "impression" of what TWF is, not it's definition. When one joins our group, s/he is directed to read the mission statement which represents our community's values. Nowhere does it say that one must be "right" or "wrong" in order to belong here. Rather, it suggests that we recognize our state of imperfection and our intensions are to help one another to do better, going forward.

Since I loathe expressions that demonize, demean, or belittle others, I will not join the ranks of those who use them. If you choose to employ those expressions in this venue, my only warning is "beware the consequences of your actions"."

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