The whole world in an airplane

The disaster of the Air France Airbus A330 is with no doubt an event that will remain in history. Today, after over 24 hours of search operations by the air forces of three countries, the first pieces of wreckage were found. The story will go on for weeks before all the questions are answered. 

One aspect of this drama, however, remains largely unnoticed. It struck me as quite surreal to read the list of passengers: abroad the plane were,

58 Brazilian, 61 French, 26 German, 2 American, 1 South African, 1 Argentinian, 1 Austrian, 1 Belgian, 5 British, 1 Canadian, 9 Chinese, 1 Croatian, 2 Spanish, 4 Hunagrian, 3 Irish, 1 Icelandic, 9 Italian, 5 Lebanese, 2 Morroccan, 1 Filipino,  2 Polish, 1 Romanian, 1 Russian, 3 Slovakian, 1 Danish, 1 Estonian, 1 Gambian, 1 Swedish, 6 Swiss, 1 Dutch, 3 Norwegian and 1 Turk.

Yes, that’s right: no less than 32 nationalities were abroad that plane, flying from Rio to Paris, two main tourist destinations. A significant portion of the world! The plane carried a mix of businessmen – senior executives of French tire maker Michelin SA and German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp were on board – and regular tourists flying to one wonderful city to another.

In any case, the fact that all these nationalities were victims is food for thought. This was clearly an event that could only happen in globalized times. Right now citizens of countries in all 5 continents are following with anxiety the search for any trace of the plane that carried their fellow citizens.

The fact that the drama is being monitored by 24 hour news channels in (at least) every one of those countries makes the tragedy even greater, in an ever smaller world. Irreversibly, more and more tragedies will affect people from different countries.

But while the national media of these countries focuses on their own citizens, international journalism is missing a great chance to take in the great side of globalization: the fact that it shows that people are mixed, are everywhere, and are equal. Unfortunately, the Airbus disaster seems to prove exactly this. 

A transnational journalistic approach to events in this new era is still to be developed.