I have been holding my breath like many all over the world, waiting for concrete news of the fate of vanished Malaysian Flight 370. I have held my tongue for weeks, until more evidence came to light. Through it all I hoped all the passengers and crew would be found safe at an airport somewhere. While we all waited for news of the Malaysian flight, the mudslide occurred in Washington state, cutting short more young lives. Then when we thought we could bear no more sadness, the ferry in South Korea sank, full of young teens. The avalanche at Mt. Everest took yet more lives, then the landslide in Afghanistan. The tornado in Arkansas. Tragedies and incredible sadness mount each day.
Regardless of the cause, whether terrorism, human error or mechanical failure, an act of nature or manmade, it is devastating to lose a family member. Coldly discussing the technology of the searches using fancy graphics appears heartless. These are people we are talking about, families, loved ones. We need gravitas. Tell me about these people. I want to know their stories. They matter.
What attracts people from all over the world to news of tragedy is not how neat the high tech search gadgets are, but the universal empathy they engender. Grief knows no borders. We have the need to reach out – to comfort – to do something – to help in some way, because we have all experienced loss. In New York, the media coverage of flight 370 was heavy, but it is hard to find a place in the world, where tragedy has not struck in some way, where the lives of loved ones and friends were not unfairly cut short. There is not a person who is unmoved by the images of family waiting, waiting, waiting for news, of any kind that would either let them freely grieve or dare to hope. The anguish on the faces of families on the other side of the globe brings back the sharp pain of 9/11 here.
The Cold Deep
What struck me as I watched the flight 370 story unfold is just how small the world has become socially at the exact same time we are reminded of just how large it physically is. We reach out for each other as human beings because of the cold deep out there. The middle of the Indian Ocean might as well be outer space – it is so enormous and one plane so impossibly tiny to be lost in it.
At the same time people from across the world are coming together for a common purpose and expressing support and sympathy, regardless of nationality, while the actual searches are incredibly daunting and the hard cruel reality of nature, unforgiving.
And so we grieve together. Love is a difficult thing to quantify, and human emotion, and grief, but we can all empathize. There is no mistaking heartbreak. It is a universal language we all understand.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.