The most heartfelt condolences need to be extended to the families and well-wishers and friends of the Egypt Air Tragedy of May 19, 2016 in which a total of 66 persons lost their lives, including 10 crew members, when the flight crashed into the Mediterranean Sea en route to Cairo from Paris. Even before the discovery of wreckage or long before any enquiry into the crash, the media has gone to town speculating on the possible cause, attributing the crash to terrorism, while there are other reports which speak of downing of the air-craft.
There are experts who say that a plane cannot possibly just fall out of the sky at 36,000 feet and it is therefore important that the facts of the case be established, based on concrete evidence gathered from the debris field and from the recovery of the black-box or flight recorder before jumping to conclusions. There is also evidence available that there have been spooky graffiti that had marked the airplane for disaster, and that security agencies were aware that this was a marked plane and yet nothing seems to have been done. All the above beg the question as to who may have been behind this and who benefits from an event such as this.
It is obvious that none of the hapless passengers could have possibly benefited from the event, nor any of their family members, with the possible exception of suicide bombers or crew who have been misled by this or that political persuasion, or that members of the crew may have been mentally disturbed. There is absolutely no evidence in this case of any of the above. In fact, there is also talk of how it is very mysterious that there have been no claims for responsibility for the event, even though one would have liked to place the blame at the doorstep of many political organizations that have been targeted or sidelined by the Governments in Egypt of elsewhere, or in the troubled region. It is also a fact that airline hijackings and attacks on aircraft have been common in the last several decades, first during the years of the Cold War, and in various theatres of conflict to target civilian aircraft because of the dramatic nature of any catastrophe that would visit such aircraft, and due to the high-tech nature of the airline industry. Media coverage of events surrounding airline disasters have willy-nilly caused public opinion to swing one way or another depending on the actors. The victims have always been common people, or working people who may have saved hard earned earnings for months or years to put together enough to travel on what is a relatively expensive means of transport. Despite the apparently glamourous nature of work in the airline industry, the truth is that the workers there are highly exploited, over-worked and often under-paid, and suffer immense hardship and difficult working conditions, long separations from family and home, and are also exposed to the inherent risk of the industry and more recently and increasingly to security risks leading to loss of life and limb, and loss of mental peace and are subject to inhuman occupational hazards. One has to ask, against this grim background why events such as the Egypt Air Tragedy have taken place, and if indeed there is a mastermind behind this, who he or she may be and what purpose is served by this tragedy.
It may be recalled that Egypt is the most populous country in the continent of Africa and the most populous country in the Arab speaking world, with a large and educated and conscious population, that had once been an important player in International Affairs, as a leading member of the Non-Aligned Movement, and as a champion of the region and instrumental in the forming of the short-lived United Arab Republic. Under the leadership of various Governments, Egypt tried to stand tall in international affairs opposing imperialist intervention in the region and was a spokesman for the rights of nations to self-determination. Subsequently, it went into the US camp and proved to be one of the important pillars of US imperialism in the region especially under Mr. Hosni Mubarak, and a key player in facilitating the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and a supporter of US intervention during the first Gulf War. During the Mubarak years, the domestic contradictions grew with economic slowdown and stagnation and with a massive unemployment leading to a mass uprising and the downfall of Mubarak during the so-called Arab Spring period. Subsequently the military has intervened and what now is writ in Egypt is military rule under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who seized power in a coup in 2013 and later `won' an election in 2014.
According to a lengthy article in The Independent of March 11, 2016 entitled `Ruling by fear: Egyptian government `disappears' 1,840 people in just 12 months' that carries the byline `Rights groups in Egypt claim that since March 2015, enforced disappearance has become the government's unofficial security policy' it is clear that what prevails in Egypt is a fascistic, undemocratic and repressive dispensation. It is clear that the Egypt Air Tragedy, no matter who is behind it, will offer a figleaf now to the beleaguered Government of Sisi, to claim that it is indeed the custodian of law and order and justice, and its hand will be strengthened as it seeks to investigate the tragedy and bring to book the culprits. It will simultaneously use the atmosphere of terror and tragedy to put away even more of its own enemies and even more of those who are fighting for a better future of Egypt. The people of Egypt would be justified in asking what the role is of shadowy intelligence agencies of all the countries that are involved in creating this tragedy. It is also an unending mystery as to how an explosive could have got on board the airplane, if at all, in Paris, which is today one of the most fortified cities in the world which is de facto a police state that came into force as emergency was declared in the wake of the Bataclan tragedy of 2015.
Clearly all the above would indicate that there are far more questions than there are answers. The peoples of Egypt and France and the world deserve to know what is what.
By B. Ananthanarayan