This afternoon, it was reported that the missing submersible vessel with five people aboard had met a catastrophic end on the ocean floor, near the wreck of the Titanic that was the target of their trip.
While it’s terribly sad that five people lost their lives, there was no lack of effort expended to try to find and rescue them. Both Canada and the US sent rescue crews, and many private ships outfitted with the latest technology were deployed as well.
Contrast that to another incident this week in the Mediterranean. A $175 million superyacht rescued over 100 migrants from the wreck of a fishing trawler that sank while the Greek Coast Guard sat back and watched. In addition to those rescued, over 650 people are estimated to have drowned in that accident.
We can’t weigh the value of one life against another. Still, the disregard for human life experienced in the Greek incident is appalling. And the difference between the two seafaring mishaps is stark.
The occupants of the Titan submersible were wealthy people who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the adventure of a lifetime. They ignored the calls from those who warned the vessel wasn’t well-tested, and pointed out that safety was not given serious consideration.
The people lost off the coast of Greece were Pakistani, Syrian, Palestinian, and Egyptian refugees–escaping bad conditions to try and build a better life somewhere else. Would the Greek Navy have stepped in if the billionaire’s yacht was in trouble? Most likely. Did they step in here? Absolutely not.
When rich people do dangerous things, the world attempts to rescue them from their mistakes. When poor people attempt a dangerous sea crossing because they feel they have no other choice, it was the government that needed to be rescued from their poor judgment by a billionaire.
In this week’s tragic losses, perhaps we can learn to find our sense of humanity and do better in the future. If not, we are truly lost as well.
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