Mourning Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302
Yesterday evening in New York, the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women opened in silence.
Earlier that morning In Rwanda, staff of the United Nations Refugee Agency observed a brief period of silence.
A few hours later, members of Airline Pilots' Association Ethiopia were gathered around portraits of friends and colleagues.
News of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash travelled around the world yesterday. While many Western observers questioned the largest African air carrier’s credibility and focused primarily on the flight's western passengers, heartfelt expressions of solidarity for those 157 lives lost and an acknowledgement of this event as an international tragedy - but not an African one - abounded.
In a magnificent piece of reporting The Associated Press told the stories of many of those on flight ET302 in the words of their colleagues and associates. They included African scientists, researchers, aid workers, academics and humanitarians. But like most of the coverage of the crash, the emphasis - at first, at least - was elsewhere.
As the narrative of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 drifts away from the individual victims and toward conversations about the safety of Boeing’s brand-new 737 Max jets (the same model which, in October, was involved in a disaster that killed 189 people in Indonesia), Africans will once again reflect on the representation of their tragedies in the global media, left to wonder what kind of coverage their disasters would receive if their effects didn't reach across an ocean.