In June, a miniature submersible, called the Titan, took passengers down towards the remains of the Titanic. The Titanic is 3,800 metres under water, and at those depths, pressure on hulls becomes immense (to place this into perspective, military submarines operate at a depth of 300 metres). The idea of tourism to the ship is as dangerous as it is arguably distasteful, and sadly, these dangers manifested themselves in the most terrible way. The Titan was not officially rated for such depths, and defied conventions on both materials and design. There were five people aboard the sub, who would have faced an unimaginably terrible situation.
The world jumped into action. Various sources provided help in various forms. There was a great deal of media coverage. There was an outpouring of sympathy for the families of the sub’s stricken passengers. There were also demonstrations of other, less desirable human qualities. Across social media, people took to various forms of crude, perhaps even cruel jokes. I am no stranger to criticising the super-wealthy, and the passengers had paid exuberant sums of money for the experience of visiting the Titanic, but this doesn’t mean they deserved to die. To me, a lot of the jokes were off-colour, and I cannot find humour in this situation.
With that said, I also cannot fathom how the world swiftly moved on from the sinking of a fishing boat loaded with hundreds of migrants. These people were not rich, so are the hundreds of probable deaths here not as worthy of media coverage? Ultimately, these people were victims of the scourge of human trafficking, which has many roots in greed and inequality, and whilst the world cries out in despair for the souls of the Titan, the victims of this tragedy near Greece are going unnoticed.
So, there are two displays of a lack of empathy here. Firstly, the people cracking jokes about the sub might want to reconsider. Secondly, the world ought to have more empathy for the plight of people desperately fleeing poverty and challenges in their nations. I yearn for the day that happens.