“It’s been more than a week since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 seemingly vanished into thin air,” writes CNN reporter Dana Ford. “Yet we remain glued to the story—hungry, some almost desperate, for any tidbit of news. Why?”
This is a question that seems well worth asking, as some 26 countries—and counting—along with “thousands of good Samaritans” online join forces to try and find a Boeing 777 that went missing on March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
If the truth be known, I, myself, have been able to think of little else since the crisis began and have spent the better part of my days and nights scouring the Internet for news articles and video reports that will give me minute-by-minute updates on the status of the search.
The crisis is riveting for a number of reasons, not least that we can easily put ourselves in the place of grief-stricken family members who have been made to endure an agonizing wait. Were I awaiting word about the fate of my own child, I would likely not survive news that confirmed the worst.
I’ve been thinking, though, that, for all the negative press about social networking and the impact it has on human connection, there is something very hopeful to be found in this unprecedented collective coming together across the globe, something that has us climbing down into both our deepest humanity and our fundamental animal natures.
At Paris Fashion Week, eyebrow-raising designs are nothing new, but I am alarmed by the degree to which misogyny held sway over this year’s show with its parade of gaunt models attempting to strut boldly in shapeless clothing largely designed by men—so-called fashion that strangled them at the neck, or hid their faces, or swaddled their arms, or bound their legs and feet.
Elsewhere in the world, women and girls were similarly bound by men who fear what their freedom of movement, and thought, might mean for male dominion. In Nigeria, for instance, Boko Haram insurgents, who in the name of Islam have slaughtered thousands of innocents since 2009, shot, slashed, or burned to death 59 sleeping boarding school students in the northeastern part of the country but this time spared the children in the female dormitories. “Go home and get married,” they were commanded, “and forget about western education.”
This terrible tragedy reminds us of the courageous Malala Yousafzai, who in 2009 survived a shot to the head by a brazen gunman who boarded her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and called out, “Who is Malala?” before taking aim. Later, she told the BBC that the Taliban attacked her because they “were afraid of the power of education.”
In the late 80s I became involved with a man from Iran who had fled his country’s 1979 revolt and resulting overthrow of the Shah. I remained with him for about four years despite a very troubling second date, where we picnicked in a graveyard. I remember only that I was describing for him a belief I held — though about what I cannot recall. “Did you come up with that idea all on your own,” he had wanted to know, “or did you read it somewhere?” Some time later he told me I probably would have been killed had I lived in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.