Thursday, 7 June 2012

...And We Have Moved On



Time was 4.30pm, Sunday June 3rd.

I had just gone into the kitchen to get ribena for one of my little men when my younger brother came out of his room and announced that he just heard there was a plane crash somewhere at Agege.

First reaction was disbelief. "Are you sure of what you are saying?"

My 'bambinos' momentarily forgotten as I raced to bring out my laptop to check the veracity of his statement. Logged on and there it was, anybody's worst fear coming to play, unraveling before our very own eyes.

It has been four days, weeping still endure at the various affected homes and pains in all our hearts.

Even though I do not personally know anybody involved, yet the pain is still so poignant and surreal.


How could such have happened? What could have gone wrong? What could have been done to save some of the victims who but a few minutes before taking off at Abuja were probably still bubbling and brimming over with business ideas, wedding plans, dreams, hopes, etc.

Husbands and wives left without the comfort of their spouses' companionship, kids left unattended to, families in anguish and distress, dreams cut short, promising lives harvested in their prime...over what could possibly have been preventable.

And we have moved on.

Images overwhelmed me, scarred, charred caricatures who were vibrant and vivacious beings like you and I.

How could there be no survivors? I clung on to a tiny shred of hope, everybody couldn't have died. After all the plane did not burst into flame immediately on inpact, a quater of an hour is more than enough to pull out people from the my mind.

And up went the air plane in flame before help could arrive, impeded by the thick human wall at the scene. Screams for help reportedly coming from the wreckage became muted as they succumbed their bodies and yielded their spirits.

Not even one survivor.

And we have moved on.

The only other time I felt this way was when I lost my dearest mum in 2003.

I was angry, grieved within me to see the mamoth crowd busy taking pictures on their phones and devices, wasting valuable time when one or two people could have been pulled out; apparently divorced from the reality of what was before them.

Maybe they are not to blame, maybe they lack the right attitude towards disaster management or maybe they were ignorant of the enormity of what was enfolding before their eyes. Again, maybe they do not know how to deal or act in dire emergencies. Maybe they meant no harm and would have done whatever they could if only they knew how. Maybe they would have acted differently if their own relative or loved ones were involved. Or maybe it was just their way of dealing with the shock and trauma at witnessing such a gruesome and horrible tragedy. Maybe by getting the images and processing the scene through their devices, the pain would be more bearable. Maybe...
I could not begin to imagine the last moments of all aboard; how they would have screamed their lungs out, calling on their God(s) on realizing that their lives would end in a moment; how the mothers aboard with their kids would have shielded or tried to protect their precious ones from the imminent death just seconds away. How fear and  helplessness would have evaporated into resignation with the knowledge that they could do nothing to save themselves or their lovely babies when it mattered most.

My heart still tremble as I think of all the maybes and whys. I still cannot think of much else.
Just 1 day after the national tragedy, I decided to check some of the media sites where I normally get my news fix and to my dismay, some have moved on! Some blogs and newspapers are still reporting on the tragedy but  many have moved on to 'juicier' stories in the midst of the palpable (national) grief and turmoil.

How can we easily move on after such a monumental loss? Have we already finished processing the pain, the loss, the anger? Can we not find some way to ameliorate the pain for the victim's family and share in their grief? And what about the victims that never went to war but were mortally and irreparably wounded in the bloody tragedy? The kids left parentless? The landlord left homeless? Our leaders left clueless? 

A part of me is still incensed at the reported greed on the part of Dana officials that led to this needless waste of human lives. With news making the rounds of the condition of the aircraft, including developing a mechanical fault the same day it crashed. The aircraft was reportedly supposed to be flown to Lagos for repairs but the management insisted it must not come empty but rather fly to Abuja to pick passengers and fly them to their death. 
Angrier still at the many revelations coming forth after the tragedy which if it had been brought to light would probably have prevented this tragedy.
And what do we say of our Government's ineptitude, from the NCAA, to emergency management and to the presidency?

I remembered there was a way for me to let off steam, to vent when I was younger, and that is to write...

Emotions are still very raw.

Three days mourning declared by the Federal Government over.

And we have moved on.

Relatives struggling to get the bodies of their loved ones released in order to bury the remains and find some form of closure.

And we have moved on.

Talks of compesation, probe panels.

And we have moved on.

To the families affected, may you be divinely comforted and may you receive beauty for your ashes and the oil of gladness for your mourning.

To the victims, you are all in a better place now; free eternally from fear and insecurity that has been the bane of our existence in recent times.

To the living, remember, life is transient.

You may check the following url for some of the victims' pictures:

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