OnSafari: Listening Closely

OnSafari: Listening Closely

Here’s why we should be concerned with what people think about us.

I’m on a marvelous two-day interlude at the fantastic Gibb’s Farm in Tanzania. We’ve just finished an intense eight days in Kenya, and before we head onto the safari circuit here in Tanzania everyone’s taking a much deserved rest.

But it’s hard to rest as an American abroad these days. We aren’t liked. Or more correctly, we aren’t as loved as we used to be.

I wrote last year about the embarrassing exchange I had with a wonderful South African lodge manager who was explaining why my (American) clients were being sequestered from non-Americans. Reason? We’re too rude. Better reason? We elected Trump.

Today the African press is full of the scathing report of America by Ethiopian authorities who have decided not to allow examination of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX black box by U.S. authorities.

Seems reasonable enough. The rest of the world banned 737 MAX’s, but the U.S. dragged its feet leaving a track in the sand to Boeing’s stock price. Implication: a company is more important than human lives.

Seems even more reasonable given the fact that the FAA has no administrator, and no deputy administrator and that Trump wants his personal pilot to be confirmed as administrator.

“The decision by the airline to reject the U.S. requests is unusual because the black box is not normally sent to a country that was not involved in a crash,” London’s Globe and Mail explained.

Ethiopian Airlines first asked Germany to analyze the box, but they declined admitting a lack of necessary software understanding. French authorities then accepted the request.

Nothing could be further from the truth than Bloomberg News: “Ethiopia Aims to Send 737 Black Boxes to Europe in Snub to U.S.”

You don’t wage human lives in a popularity contest, or at least you shouldn’t. Ethiopian is a long-lived, reliable airline that serves more American and global destinations than all other African airlines combined.

They aren’t interested in snubbing America. They’re interested in safety.

Bloomberg’s arrogant dismissal of the situation as cultural or political contributes to the current American malaise that leads to the dangerously deficient government we are currently suffering.

We should understand that Ethiopian Airlines, the flagship carrier of a very poor developing African country, is more interested in basic moral values than America.

That’s very serious, and it should give absolutely every American great pause. And take that moment of meditation to figure out how we turn ourselves around before we walk into the great abyss.