The world has been shaken in recent days by the tragic news of Germanwings flight 4U 9525 which crashed into the French Alps on Tuesday March 24 en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. For now, much of the news has focused on co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in order to find the answer to an uncomfortable question: What could make a seemingly normal man calmly take 150 people to their deaths?
Currently investigators are looking through the co-pilot’s personal belongings by combing his parent’s home in Montabaur, Rhineland Palatinate, in order to uncover a motive. But, of course, in this digital age personal belongings are not the only things the departed leave behind. The Guardian explains:
“A recently deleted Facebook page bearing Lubitz’s name showed him as a smiling man in a brown jacket posing in front of the Golden Gate bridge in California.
The page offered few clues as to why the 28-year-old might have deliberately crashed the plane. It suggested he was an unremarkable young man – interested in flying and gadgets, as befits a pilot, as well as electronic music, discos and tenpin bowling.
His likes included Lufthansa and LFT Bremen, one of five Lufthansa facilities around the world offering pilot training. It also linked to the Airbus A320 technical site and to Beechcraft Bonanza, a page dedicated to an American six-seater light aircraft. There is a mention of Alexander Gerst, the German astronaut who last year blasted off to the International Space Station.
Much of Lubitz’s social life appears to have taken place in the nearby city of Koblenz. There are links to a climbing wall, Kletterwald Sayn, located in a forest, a local bowling alley, Pinup, and one of Koblenz’s nightclub’s, the Agostea Nachtarena. And to a branch of Burger King. His favourite music acts appear to have been Paul Kalkbrenner, a German electronic producer, and David Guetta, a French DJ turned record producer. He also liked Bose speakers.”
So here are nine or ten Facebook “likes” that are provided for the living to judge the dead by. While I obviously have no idea what Mr. Lubitz’s motivations were—or what his psychological state in recent weeks has been—there is something disconcerting with judging life by Facebook pages. I suppose God is no longer the only judge in the age of social media. Lives are presented for all to see with all (or, in many cases, none) of their grandeur—human interests reduced to off-hand clicks of a website’s “like” button. Since I am no God my focus in this chilling tragedy is the game that links so many of us together in this all-too-large world: Football. Mr. Lubitz, seemingly, was no football fan. But the tragedy had two very opposite effects on the football world, showing how our human lives are, many times, governed by what can only be termed “luck”.
Mr. Javani (center right) and Mr. Hojjatoleslami (Center left) covered last summer’s World Cup. Image Courtesy Of: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/picture-taken-june-26-2014-iranian-journalists-hossein-photo-181214718.html
They were on their way to Vienna, where Iran faced Chile in an international friendly on Thursday, March 26. Mr. Hojjatoleslami was working for Tasnim news agency while Mr. Javadi was a sports journalist with Vatan-e-Emrooz newspaper. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani offered his condolences in a tweet, while Mr. Javadi will be remembered by the “haunting” photo he took before take off. Unfortunately these men died following the sport they loved—and any football fan used to traveling on low cost flights in order to affordably attend matches can empathize with these two men. Sadly, their jobs meant they had no other choice—they volunteered to cover the events with their own money since the Iranian media companies they worked for didn’t support them financially. May they rest in peace—mekanları cennet olsun.
Two of their colleagues, Payam Younesipour and Saeed Zahedian, changed their travel plans and elected to stay in Vienna to focus on Iran’s match against Chile. The decision saved their lives. There were others with similar luck. Third tier Swedish side Dalkurd FF, a side formed ten years ago by Kurdish immigrants, was supposed to be on the plane. Ultimately, they chose to fly in three separate groups due to the long layover flight 4U 9525 had in Dusseldorf between Barcelona and Stockholm. The decision to avoid the layover saved the lives of the players and, arguably, the team, as they avoided the fate of the 1958 Manchester United side and the 1993 Zambian National team.
Other Swedish soccer teams immediately expressed their condolences and relief that Dalkurd FF survived.
On Wednesday, March 25 Germany’s national soccer team remembered the victims of the crash by wearing black armbands during their 2-2 draw with Australia in Kaiserslautern.
Image Courtesy Of: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/mar/25/germany-australia-match-report-international-friendly
When tragedies like these strike it is refreshing to see the world come together—whether German, Spanish, Swedish, or Iranian—through sport. It is also a time to reflect that even though all of us are individuals on earth with our own struggles, no matter what we do no human being is alone in life . . . or in death.
In Memory of flight 4U 9525
Image Courtesy Of: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/03/24/german-national-soccer-team-to-honor-victims-of-french-alps-plane-crash/