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Opinion

Opinion: A disturbing and incomprehensible act

Now that we know that the crash of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 was deliberate, we’re searching for answers. That search is likely to be in vain, writes Deutsche Welle Editor-in-Chief Alexander Kudascheff.

It's a nightmare ­– a deliberate act by a co-pilot who steered his plane into the ground, causing his own death, and that of 149 others. Although we still don't know anything about his motives, his suicide is simultaneously the mass murder of innocent passengers. It's a massive abuse of the trust that passengers place in their pilots on the thousands of flights that take off each day. And yet, this nightmare is an exception. An incomprehensible exception.

It's only natural that we now look for a cause. Why would the co-pilot do such a thing? Who is responsible? Who's to blame? Shouldn't someone during his training have noticed that he was a troubled young man? Shouldn't more psychologists be involved in training and in tests?

That sounds good, but also a bit simplistic. After all, how often do psychologists fail to see the complex natures of the people sitting before them, involved in a family struggle, for example? Should they now assume responsibility for training pilots, so that we can feel more at ease? That can't be the answer. Besides this, Lufthansa's pilot training program is already renowned worldwide for its high standards.

The deliberate crashing of Flight 4U 9525 has left us stunned.

It has shaken and unsettled us. It has gripped us all. We are able to sense the dimension of this terrible event, while at the same time, we're trying to understand what happened.

We're looking for rational explanations that make it easier to comprehend the horror of the crash in the French Alps. But it's beyond any plausible sequences that we can come up with.

Standing united

People are responding with compassion for the families of the victims. The media has (so far) been respectful of their grief. Lufthansa has reacted impressively, promising assistance to those affected. And politicians have also shown solidarity in their sorrow. The visit to the crash site by French President Francois Hollande, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized this. It was a grand symbolic gesture to show that Europe and Europeans are united.

The heartfelt sympathy and willingness to help on the part of the French people living in the remote alpine region where the crash took place is remarkable. It shows just how close the French and German people really are, for the second time in just a few months. In January, following the murder of 12 Charlie Hebdo staff members and four Jews in Paris by Islamic terrorists – and now, after this deliberate plane crash. Even the usually unflappable Chancellor Merkel is showing just how much this tragedy is affecting her. She is showing emotion. Germany is in a state of shock; it is a nation in mourning.

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