Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Portuguese Sea (Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese)

The salty sea, how much of your salt
Are tears of Portugal!
For us to cross you, how many mothers wept,
How many children prayed in vain!
How many brides remained unmarried
That you should be ours, the sea!

Worth it? Everything is worth it
If the soul is not small.
Who want to go beyond the Boujdour
You have to go beyond the pain.
God to the sea danger and the abyss gave,
But in Him is mirrored the sky.

Fernando Pessoa

Worked from the Portuguese Mar português, 1934
Malcolm D B Munro
Wenesday 13 April, 2016

Copyright of the original is retained by the Copyright owner. The Copyright of this Translation is vested with the Author. The original, from which this translation is made, is used under the provisions of Section 107 of the US Copyright Act 1976, which allows for fair use of the original for translation purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.

Filed under: poetry

The Windhover: To Christ our Lord; Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Windhover: To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
   dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon in
             his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! Then off, off forth on swing,
     As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and
      Rebuffed the big wind. My heart is hiding
Stirred for a bird, –the achieve of the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
      Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Time told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

      No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
      Fall, gall themselves, and gash-vermilion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1887

Posted Wednesday 13, 2016

Filed under: poetry

Are we content to accept an inconclusive end to the search for MH370?

“MH370 search now has less than 20,000 square kms to go,” Ben Sandilands, Plane Talking.

We can be heartened that, associated with any major tragedy, a private individual or group follow a story of major significance to its end or to the point of exhaustion, given that frequently these events play out in the real world long after they have departed the pages of the world’s newspapers and media.

In the case of the Air France aircraft which disappeared somewhere over the South Atlantic with the loss of 228 occupants from at least 33 countries, that group of people most fervent in their dogged following of the search and intelligent discussion of technicalities and causes of the crash was the Professional Pilots Rumour Network,

Notwithstanding any other aspect, the discovery of the aircraft from such a loss contributes seminally to our understanding of the causes of such loss. Not least among those in the case of AF447 were:

The working of the Fly by Wire System. This has had significance since the overwhelming majority of the world’s passenger aircraft are fitted with Fly by Wire systems.

The concerns associated with the loss of Situational Awareness on the part of the flight crew of AF447 has impact many areas and activities of human beings. Likely the impact of those concerns continues to be explored and implemented.

In the case of Malaysian Airlines MH370, which was carrying 239 people on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March, 2014, that body has been The Independent Group, led notably by Duncan Steel,

Outstanding reporting, commenting and analysis has been conducted by Ben Sandilands mentions above.

Both the IG and Sandilands are unlikely to depart the following of the events that are bound to occur post the Australian search efforts.

With parts of the aircraft being found on and off the beaches of the East Coast of Africa, the remains of the aircraft have to be somewhere. No serious comprehensive search appear to being conducted in those areas where fragments of the plane have been found. But continue to be found they will.

The JACC and ATSB, the Australian bodies charged with the bottom ocean search for the remains of MH370, appear not to be taking seriously the investigation of those parts already found, and to not supporting or encouraging further studies of the currents that carried the debris to their final locations. Nor do they appear to have been very vocal about those finds. There is always the tendency to say of any body charged with work associated with significant events that their efforts are not enough. This is as it should be. Complacency all too easily sets in.

Or is this not in their jurisdiction? The Australians appear set on pursuing a blinkered approach, focusing their effort in an area of dubious merit to the exclusion of the outside world.

In line with the Malaysian attitude, there appears to be an air of indifference on the part of the Australian and other authorities charged with finding the location of MH370. The fervour associated with the start of the search was lost when Australian politics interfered with structure of the initial search group.

Since then the search appears to have been conducted with a halfheartedness that has been dismaying to witness. Contrarily, the search for AF447 was pursued with a doggedness and determination that this search has lacked. Perhaps this is because the French were in charge of that search and were directly connected to the crash of an Air France passenger plane. That the Australians are not connected to the country of the origin of MH370 is self evident.

It is lamentable that analysis, rather than simply sending ships far from Australia’s coast at great cost and great difficulty of search effectiveness, has not been conducted by official body. The work done by the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research was self initiated.

One would have thought that, since a large loss of life occurred with the disappearance of MH370, that the International Civil Aviation Organization would have shown more interest, or at least, have expressed some concern. Better would have been that they had established some body, or to have charged an existing organization, with conducting analysis.

To have left this analysis to a private group, and excellent and extremely valuable though their efforts have been, strikes of dereliction of duty. One would have thought that concerns with airline safety extended to all aircraft, regardless of the country of origin.

The attitude of all of those officials, including the Malaysians, appears to be that, at the conclusion of the present bottom ocean search, everyone will go home and forget about the tragedy. The IG will, without doubt, continue their efforts, and one has to acknowledge in particular those of David Steel.

We can be certain more debris will appear on the beaches adjacent to where present finds have been made. Is there anyone charge with examining these once the Australians have packed up? The Malaysians? Heaven help us.

The relatives of those lost aboard the AF447 crash were accorded some satisfaction. Will the relatives of the passengers and crew aboard MH370 not be offered the same?

Malcolm D B Munro
Wednesday 13, April, 2016

Expanded version of a comment published  on Plane Talking, Wednesday 13, April, 2016



Filed under: Culture, Media

Blog Top Sites

Previous Posts


April 2016

Top Rated