‘All dead’ message by text

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THERE'S a debate going on whether Malaysia Airlines was cruel when it "texted" a message of "all dead" to relatives of victims in flight MH370.

The preface "deeply regrets" didn't soften the harshness: the airline said it has "to assume beyond reasonable doubt" that the plane was "lost and none of those on board survived."

Saying the Malaysian prime minister would soon announce the finding, the SMS said "we must now accept all evidence (that) suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean."


How else could the airline have broken the news that for the first time, after 18 days of painful waiting, could reduce the uncertainty?

Grief-stricken loved ones of the 239 passengers and crew had to find fault, tear at the news, and dispute the conclusion: clutching hope and putting off the terrible finality of loss.

They angrily marched to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, demanding hard evidence, not a mere math theory. They talked of cruelty in using the cold, heartless SMS. But would the press-con have been less cruel?


For more than two weeks, the mystery held the world's interest (shooting CNN ratings sky-high) but tortured emotionally the victims' kin. Their ordeal is not yet over. The plane's remains still have to be found and retrieved and the shroud of mystery hasn't been fully unveiled.

But the front wall has been breached. Acceptance of the flight's fate may now begin.

Lesson learned: ways to locate a missing plane and protocol in handling grief and fury of victims' relatives need to be revised.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 27, 2014.


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