SHOULD OVERBOOKING FLIGHTS BE ILLEGAL?
With reference to that ejection from Monday’s Chicago-Louisville United Airlines flight which went so viral, I would like to add that selecting a 69-year-old passenger to drag off a plane when there were plenty of young passengers on board is nothing less than abuse of the elderly. Also given the passenger’s Asian appearance, could this be considered discriminatory and/or another form of civil rights violation? I do not fly United Airlines any longer because it appears the cowboys and cowgirls who run this cattle car operation are just plain ignorant. They destroyed Continental Airlines in their merger and now I am a Delta Airlines Frequent Flyer. However my recent round trip on AeroMexico to Buenos Aires was really a very nice experience. Perhaps they could teach us a lesson!
Keep on flying but protect your rights going forward as passengers.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
A PR DISASTER
I still cannot believe the way that United Airlines behaved in ejecting a doctor from a flight this week. Why didn’t the CEO of UA immediately apologise for the treatment this man suffered, instead of initially saying that he was acting in a “belligerent way”? Every move which this airline company made, in trying to allow four airline staff to board an overbooked flight, was poorly executed.
My wife and I accepted a monetary offer in London a few years ago to delay our flight by 24 hours because the flight was overbooked. The airlines regularly overbook, it’s an accepted practice. United Airlines should have increased the offer of 800 dollars to all the passengers; even if they had to pay 2,000 dollars, some people would have taken up the offer.
A very short-sighted and ill-conceived move by the airline. What future damage will they incur? Without doubt, the CEO should resign, having supported the way which his staff forcibly removed the man from the aircraft.
AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN
Each time something awful happens in Argentina, I naïvely tend to think: Maybe this will be the last one. Maybe we’ll learn the lesson. But the truth is, we don’t.
This time, 21-year-old Micaela García, a student from Entre Ríos, was killed by a criminal, Sebastián Wagner, who should have been in prison but wasn’t. A judge, Carlos Rossi, had set him free, despite the report that pictured Wagner as a dangerous individual who had not recovered. Now the judge has asked for a leave of absence for safety reasons, the very same safety Micaela lacked. That monster had raped on two occasions before attacking Micaela, and he was free to do so again, which, of course, he did.
Who’s to blame? Isn’t that judge as responsible as Wagner? What’s wrong with our Criminal Code? Will this be a turning-point to save future Micaelas? Or have we got so used to these daily femicides that we’ve stopped caring? Have we grown accustomed to horror? Shouldn’t we, average citizens, get more involved and demand changes? Or shall we keep on crying over spilt milk?
You might say: “Society has already condemned Judge Rossi. He’s a civil corpse.”
True. But that will not give Micaela back her rich and promising life. Never more.
Ringuelet/ La Plata
WHAT IS THE PEOPLE?
In 1818, almost two centuries ago, William Hazlitt (1778-1830), one of the most solid essayists in the history of the English language, wrote: “What is the people?” His introduction has not lost relevance over the years but rather gained it.
In a nutshell, Hazlitt answers his own question by saying: “millions of men like yourself .... with the right and the will to be free” but if you separate the people as such from the rest of the nation, you place it “at the feet of despotism. You kill the mind of a country to fill the sombre and painful vacuum with the old, obscene and stupid prejudices of superstition and tyranny.” The throne thus becomes everything “claiming mankind as its property” and the people nothing. These self-styled rulers of the people “consider any reduction of their absolute claims to be a gracious blessing, an act of clemency and royal favour, converting any sense of justice, reason, truth, liberty and humanity into an abject and servile terror of power without limit and without remorse.”
In Hazlitt’s view, this is nothing more than the old doctrine of divine right updated under the fine name of legitimacy.
To this I would like to add in fuller form these oft-quoted words of Winston Churchill from Poppy Day 70 years ago (11 November, 1947): “Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No-one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
And also this from William Buckley Jr.: “We are made to ask what it is that political democracy gives us. The system is utilitarian. But is it a fit object of faith and hope?”
The answer is no because if if there ever was such a democracy, it went away a long time ago and nobody knows where — neither Hazlitt nor Churchill nor Buckley