I was sitting in a busy restaurant when the news broke of the plane crash. As mobile phones started to beep, conversation died out. The music was shut off, a TV was quickly switched on to the breaking news. In the corner, a lady burst into tears and her husband hurried out – no doubt a family member may have been involved.
At the Juan Guerra concert that evening, the roadie who normally belts out “1.2.3” was allowed to play a small guitar solo in rememberence. And then asked for a minutes silence. People streaming in, chattering, fell silent and found their chairs without making too much noise. All eight thousand of them.
It’s shocked Spain, not least because it’s a national carrier, and was a tourist flight, part of “modern” Spain that allows Spaniards to know that they’ve made it. It’s a blow, an accident that strikes dead into the being of the modern Spaniard.
And I know that our thoughts are with the survivors, and the families of the dead.
But for all that, I have to ask, why does this accident, for all that it is a once off tragedy, seem to have affected Europe more then the estimated 1000 odd illegal immigrants who die annually trying to cross the Med? No doubt the eventual scale of the investigation into this one plane will dwarf the annual budget for finding and stopping the illegal boats.