Horrible News

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An Egyptian ferry sank late last night in bad weather in the Red Sea. There were about 1,300 and maybe as many as 1,400 people aboard. Reports claim between 100 and 180 people have been rescued so far, with "dozens" of bodies in the water. It's also dark now, which I would expect will make it unlikely that many more will be pulled out alive. Most of the passengers were Egyptians returning from work in Saudi Arabia.

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  1. It must be Allah’s way of showing he thought the Danish cartoons were pretty funny too.

  2. I heard about this tragedy on the way to work. How horrible. I hope they’re able to rescue more people. I don’t imagine the water there is too cold to survive in, but I expect the boat didn’t have the kind of survival gear that a Western boat would have.

  3. From what I understand, the water there is fairly cold this time of year. The news said the water temp was in the 50’s, so that would mean at most only a couple of hours survival time.

  4. Eddy,

    You beat me to the punch.

  5. Eddy-
    You joke, but it will be about 1 day until the Islamists start saying this proves Allah is mad that they aren’t radical enough/some of the women on the ferry weren’t totally covered/Egypt’s gov’t is secular. Funny how it never proves Allah is mad that things are too far in the other direction. I wonder how they know.

  6. Pro Lib and Captain Holly,

    Not only the water temperature would be a concern, but with a sinking ship I am concerned about the way the sheer weight and pull of its mass sinking into the depths would pull a lot of people under with it, when it displaces the water…

  7. Dave-

    No doubt there will be some Mullah Patwa Al Robertson saying idiotic things about this catastrophe. But the victims and their families still deserve the same sympathy as anybody else affected by disaster.

  8. smacky, that’s probably part of the problem. Also, given the way that they pack people into those boats out east, I imagine many passengers never had a chance to get off the ship in the first place.

  9. Eddy is a douchebag.

  10. A shame that Egyptians have to put themselves through such hardships for work.

    Here is some good news from Egypt, they are polio free:
    http://tinyurl.com/8gmeb

  11. Eddy is a douchebag
    No jack, I’m an insensitive prick. Please keep it straight as a douchebag is at least useful. That said, I still figure O-mama been layin’ & Co.will say it was a U.S. sub or similar.

  12. smacky,

    The water displacement suction thing was on Mythbusters a while back, and it was untrue.

  13. “The water displacement suction thing was on Mythbusters a while back, and it was untrue.”

    Thank goodness. The image of those guys getting sucked under water just gave me the creeps.

  14. Assuming, of course, that Mythbusters’ test was truly conclusive. I doubt they used a full ship to test the proposition.

  15. Usually at least on this planet the boat displacing the water is what keeps it floating. When it fails to displace water of a greater weight than itself or becomes near equal in weight it goes sinky poo or bobs along barely exposed to the surface..

    It is a tragegy no matter what. If these types of things were reported as only the number of people killed and what happened it would always be a tragedy. Now if it was a terrorist time share cruise I wouldn’t be fretting of course..

    Why do they always make it into a godly religion type act as though some higher power sought to spite man of this religion or that. They do it because they can and not have to provide proof. Think about it you already have 1 billion people believing what you tell them with no real proof so just add another to the list. Just as with Dems and Repubs you gotta spin it to win it. To hell with the facts, accountability or anything closely resembling the truth.

    And the meek shall inherit the earth…

    Well whats left of it anyway after god or allah is done teaching us lessons.

  16. Side note- on Mythbusters they were testing to see if gas bubbles rising in the water would displace enough water to make your body incapable of displacing water. Which would cause you to sink.

  17. These pepole were spouses, children, parents and siblings. My sympathies to their loved ones.

  18. “These pepole were spouses, children, parents and siblings.”

    Indeed. Egypt weeps with the sudden loss of so many women beaters and battered women.

  19. I’ve been to the Red sea many times (Egyptian-American) and it’s pretty difficult waterway to navigate, as waterways go. In the days of lore only the most skilled on ancient sailors were allowed on it, something about the current and winds.

    Before we use it as a political statement, most southern Egyptians (like the ones presumably on this boat) are poor and essentially simple
    people looking for work. Don’t use them to get back at the cartoon crowd.

    F

  20. Why no calls for the Egyptians to pull out of Saudi Arabia? After all this form of foreign interventionism is only to exploit the oil riches of the invaded country. Right? If only Egypt could develop jobs independence they wouldn’t engage in these dangerous foriegn adventures that put so many lives at risk.

  21. Andy

    “Indeed. Egypt weeps with the sudden loss of so many women beaters and battered women.”

    How very smug of you. I’m sure some sinners died with the victims in Katrina, the Asian Tsunami, or 9/11, for that matter. Perhaps these people deserved it more because they speaks that funny AY-RAB-IK. Redneck.

  22. I just hope this doesn’t turn into some excuse for The Man to legislate another stupid new nanny-rule. I can hear it now, “Until all boats have Adamantium hulls, no one will be safe.” Or, “We must not hesistate to enact the new Floatation Ordinance #314 which requires that all persons within 50 feet of a body of water must wear two life-jackest and arm floaties or face a $50 fine.” I know, I know, it happened in Egypt, not America, but since when do politicians let logistical details stop them from “caring?”

  23. Yes, Andy, every single Egyptian man beats his wife and rapes his daughter. Thank God we don’t have such despicable people here in the Christian States of America.

  24. Empathy? Anyone? Anyone?

  25. “Perhaps these people deserved it more because they speaks that funny AY-RAB-IK.”

    “Yes, Andy, every single Egyptian man beats his wife and rapes his daughter.”

    Not all of them deserved it, of course, but we’re talking about a culture that’s willingly stayed in the dark ages. There’s good people everywhere and bad people everywhere, but it seems to be rather foolish to pretend that some cultures don’t produce more of one type than the other. And the thought that anyone’s language has anything to do whether or not they should die is perhaps not the best strawman for us “rednecks.”

  26. If we absolutely must score rhetorical points off of a deadly tragedy, shouldn’t it be to complain about the inefficiency of public sector rescue efforts and how none of this would have happened in a free market?

  27. but it seems to be rather foolish to pretend that some cultures don’t produce more of one type than the other

    As foolish as assuming that it was mostly wife-beaters and battered women that died in the shipwreck? Or did I somehow misinterpret Egypt weeps with the sudden loss of so many women beaters and battered women?

  28. “shouldn’t it be to complain about the inefficiency of public sector rescue efforts and how none of this would have happened in a free market?”

    Are you serious, thoreau, or are have you been infected by the “free markets are absolutely infallible and nothing bad could ever happen in a free market system” bug that seems to infect a large number of posters here?

  29. sorry, thoreau, should have said “are you joking…”

    “As foolish as assuming that it was mostly wife-beaters and battered women that died in the shipwreck?”

    Ok, maybe I went off the rhetorical deep-end (no pun intended), but my point was that this ship probably had a lot more of those than a ship from a modern-looking country would have had.

  30. andy-

    I was joking, of course.

    And I find it repugnant that you see this tragedy as being mitigated by the fact that there are (allegedly) a lot of bad people in Egypt. We have a lot of bad people in the US, some of whom are so bad that they don’t see it as a big deal when Egyptians die.

  31. “We have a lot of bad people in the US” some of whom are so bad that they don’t see it as a big deal when Egyptians die”

    Can’t say I’d be too sad if they died either.

    “some of whom are so bad that they don’t see it as a big deal when Egyptians die”

    Are you referring to me? πŸ˜› To be honest, I usually don’t see it as a big deal when ANYONE dies. It’s just that, until proven otherwise, I assume that anyone I don’t know is not a good person, because that’s been my experience. Unless someone can prove to me otherwise, I’ll assume that this incident is a net gain for the world.

  32. The world is your mirror, andy.

  33. “The world is your mirror, andy.”

    And the pot calls the kettle misanthropic.

  34. but my point was that this ship probably had a lot more of those than a ship from a modern-looking country would have had.

    what an inane point to make in the face of the circumstances.

    (flashback to sept. 2001 hypothetical) “my point is that most of the people in the wtc, being from the new york metropolitan area, were probably liberals. that’s all i’m saying.”

    yeah sure, that’s all you’re saying.

  35. Yes, andy, I’m an open misanthrope, but not to the point where I assume that any mass death is a “net gain for the world.” I merely have a low opinion of human nature–it sounds like you outright hate it.

  36. andy, what did you think about the people in the Middle East who danced in the streets on 9/11?

    andy will probably say that I made his point for him, but I don’t assume that the people showed on TV were a representative sample.

  37. andy, what did you think about the people in the Middle East who danced in the streets on 9/11?

  38. Thoreau, unless we learn otherwise, we should probably assume that the 3,000 dead in the World Trade Center collapse were a net gain for the world.

  39. CORRECTION:

    …the people shown on TV…

  40. Jennifer, Thoreau,

    I suspect Andy is either:

    a) a troll
    b) embarrassed that you called him on his tasteless comment and is trying desperately to justify it
    c) truly from a dark mental place

    Anyway, not worth your time.

    My sympathy to the victims and their families.

  41. “I’m an open misanthrope, but not to the point where I assume that any mass death is a “net gain for the world.” I merely have a low opinion of human nature–it sounds like you outright hate it.”

    I think you’re either exaggerating about your low opinion of human nature (i.e. you really think people tend to be better than worse) or you’re lying to yourself about how you feel about mass deaths (or any random deaths). To me, one’s general opinion of the death of strangers is a direct function of one’s overall view of humanity.

  42. “what did you think about the people in the Middle East who danced in the streets on 9/11?”

    I thought they were sick. I don’t find the mass deaths of strangers to be cause for a celebration, even if I assume that they were probably mostly pieces of shit.

  43. andy,
    Go fuck yourself.

    Pretty much anyone that has been to Egypt will tell you that the Egyptian people are among the most warm, friendly, hospitable people in the world. I’m sure if an ship full of Southerns sank in the Gulf Coast, you’d be pissed if Jennifer said that the world is a better place with all of those racists and rednecks dead.

  44. Point taken, Wellfellow.

    My opinion of humanity would vastly improve if two things happened:

    1. Less human beings took active steps to make others suffer, and

    2. Less human beings took active pleasure in the suffering of others.

  45. Mo-

    Do you have any relatives who might have been on that ship? I hope not.

  46. “I’m sure if an ship full of Southerns sank in the Gulf Coast, you’d be pissed if Jennifer said that the world is a better place with all of those racists and rednecks dead.”

    I doubt she’d say that, but if she did, I wouldn’t be terribly upset. Why do you assume that I like Americans more than any other peoples?

  47. t,
    Not that I know of. I have an uncle who is in SA for a conference, but he went by plane (I assume). I haven’t gotten a call from the fam back in Egypt, so right now I’m assuming the best. I hope this remains true. I do, however, pray for those that have not been found yet.

  48. Well I suppose that’ll have to do as an apology from Andy.

    On a more relevant note, as some articles have mentioned, routine safety inspections in Egypt aren’t exactly up to par. We saw how well N.O. was prepared…you can imagine the challenges a country like Egypt faces. Anyway my cousin (in Cairo) just popped on IM to report two ships went down together. He’s 14, so I think he’s wrong, but I wanted to shout out his attempt at crack reporting.

    F

  49. thoreau,

    …some of whom are so bad that they don’t see it as a big deal when Egyptians die.

    People die. That’s life. For all practical purposes, that is the attitude you (and everyone else) has about 99.99999…% of the human population that has died, are dying right now and will die in the future. Yes, its unfortunate (and fortunate at this time in human evolution) that people die, but the vast majority of the time we don’t get all soppy about it. So, taking the absolutist position that you do borders on the sort of hypocrisy I expect out of a holier than though twit like yourself who in real life doesn’t on a normal day give even a passing thought to those dropping like flies all around him (if by all around we mean across the globe).

    Jennifer,

    I merely have a low opinion of human nature–it sounds like you outright hate it.

    When its convenient for your arguments. Its obvious that you have no true opinion on the matter as you flip flop too much on it.

    …but not to the point where I assume that any mass death is a “net gain for the world.”

    That sounds like a “half pregnant” argument.

  50. I don’t mean to generalize by race (whether in a positive or negative sense), but pretty much all of the Egyptians I’ve met I have liked. (Hi, Mo!) And I’ve worked with quite a few in the past, as there is a rather large enclave who live in my city.

  51. I’m sort of unaffected by this, in the same way I was more shocked and surprised on 9/11 than I was affected by the deaths of people I’ve never met and how I’m getting goddamn sick of made-for-TV memorial movies.

    That said, I’m sure the loved ones of those Egyptians are pretty upset, and it’s damn unfortunate that a bunch of folks trying to make a living and support themselves ended up dying in some stupid boat. More trade and more freedom are, of course, the answer.

  52. andy,

    To me, one’s general opinion of the death of strangers is a direct function of one’s overall view of humanity.

    Aside from random gasps and the like, we simply don’t care – and for good and proper and ultimately beneficial reasons.

  53. fredsoxnation,
    “Aren’t exactly up to par” is a major understatement. The reason earthquakes out there are especially deadly and disasters like this happen more often than they should is that the safety inspectors are corrupt as sin. The owner of the boat likely bribed the inspector to keep the boat running.

    One time at Sharm El-Sheikh, I was parasailing and noticed (in midair) that the rope was fraying (though still relatively solid). I told the guys when I got back down, but I doubt they did anything about it. On the plus side, the increased chance of death made that parasailing experience a lot more exciting. πŸ™‚

    Eddy,
    Those comics funny? I dunno, maybe inflammatory and the reaction has been fucking extreme, but I didn’t even catch myself cracking a smile at any of them. Maybe I just don’t get Danish comedy. (My background has nothing to do with it, I’m generally the first one with a joke on Islam)

  54. Timothy,

    I’m sort of unaffected by this, in the same way I was more shocked and surprised on 9/11 than I was affected by the deaths of people I’ve never met and how I’m getting goddamn sick of made-for-TV memorial movies.

    Taking human death too seriously can lead to some fairly poor analysis re: risks, etc.

  55. Mo – if the rope had broken, you woulda just had that much more fun. Remember, you had a parachute on, unfurled. You would have simply drifted to the ground, but it woulda been cool.

  56. Mo,

    The timocratic nature of many Muslims makes for poor reasoning skills and allows for the rise of demagogues.

  57. Aside from random gasps and the like, we simply don’t care – and for good and proper and ultimately beneficial reasons.

    Taking human death too seriously can lead to some fairly poor analysis re: risks, etc.

    Hak,

    I agree with you, biologically/psyiologically speaking. If people actually thought about death and its whereabouts too much, there would be many more paranoid* and neurotic personalities, I would think — kind of like me!

    *(and borderline schizophrenic — though hopefully not attributable to me)

  58. people looking for work. Don’t use them to get back at the cartoon crowd.

    fredsoxnation,
    My objective was not to get back at anyone but, as Dave so quickly picked up on, to point out that this tragedy will be explained by the extreme sectors as < insert name of monothiestic Supreme Being here >’s means of punishment for < insert some silly reason here > . My choice was meant more to be current than offensive. My second post posed an alternative explanation that will be given by only one point of view. Finally, my previous posts illustrate that the people giving those explanations won’t give a damn about the families or the 1000+ people who were lost, only their own agenda.

  59. smacky,

    Remember, we’re supposed to make all the correct, P.C. noises about such incidents as school marms like thoreau (jeez, pick another nick or take the time to read The Maine Woods, Walden, etc.) like to remind us. We’d of course do better to allocate our time to those things and people we are connected to (as Adam Smith’s thoughts on human relationships intimate).

  60. There’s a happy medium somewhere–if you spend your every waking minute thinking about your own mortality or mourning those who are dying all the time you’ll never be able to live a happy life, but if you make yourself completely callous, either by not caring at all or even by saying things like “mass deaths are a net gain to the world” you become sociopathic.

  61. Hak,
    Many Americans are timocratic as well (otherwise the phrase “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” wouldn’t be a popular term of derision for the French). I notice that demagogues are not a uniquely Middle Eastern phenomenon. There are quite a few right in our own backyard.

    Lowdog,
    My concern was more that I would get tangled up in it when I hit the water rather than the force of the impact. Though it probably would’ve still been a blast.

  62. Just do what we say, smacky, and everything will be fine.

  63. Mo,

    We aren’t generally stuck with our demagogues for life though. Indeed, we tend to have a convenient process for allowing them to hang themselves by their own petard.

  64. I prefer my demagogues hoisted.

  65. I don’t understand that saying. A petard is a bomb. Being hoisted by it means what? I guess it could mean that you held onto it longer than your fuse was set to burn, but I fail to see any “hoisting”. Obviously, it’s something to avoid. Like acting in Muhammad: The Musical.

  66. Hoisted by his own petard = thrown up into the air by an incendiary device of his own construction.

  67. Hak,
    True. Thank God for democracy. But that’s more due to our system of government and personal freedoms that we have that Muslim countries don’t have rather than a personality trait.

  68. Or, as originating in Hamlet (apparently), being “hoist by one’s own petard” can mean “farting oneself up into the air”.

  69. Timothy,

    For ’tis the sport to have the engineer
    hoist with his own petar…

  70. Hmmm. “Hoist” would appear to be the wrong word. It implies a mechanical lifting, like by a rope or something. Is this Shakespeare’s fault again? Smells like teen Hamlet to me.

    I feel beset by a host–not a metaphor-mixing “sea”–of troubles.

  71. At the time “engineer” referred exclusively to folks involved in either the destruction (by mining for example) or creation of fortifications. This was a time when the role of such military personnel was coming into full flower and they were becoming a semi-professional corps with specialized learning, etc. Not quite the age of Vauban but on its way to that point.

  72. Pro Libertate: I’d say a bomb is a mechanical device, and it wouldn’t be strange to say, “He was lifted into the air by the explosion”, so “hoist”, while uncommon, is probably fine.

  73. Pro Libertate,

    You’re forgetting a little used definition of the term “hoist,” which doesn’t have a mechanical aspect to it. Take more philology. πŸ™‚

  74. PL

    It is my understanding that it relies on an old no longer used meaning of the word hoist.

  75. Pro Libertate,

    Well, little used any more.

  76. I feel quite hoisted.

  77. Make that hoistful (obscure other thread reference).

  78. Jennifer,

    I’m with you on this one. There is quite a bit of difference between not actively caring about the gazillion deaths that surround us everyday which we may or may not hear about, and saying “mass deaths are a net gain to the world” when such a tragedy is brought to your attention. Let alone to take time to make a comment like that. I believe that would be the difference between indifference and malevolence.

  79. CNN “Breaking News” reports that 314 people have been rescued.

  80. Pro: I am the only one allowed to invent words.

    And Jerry’s still dead, man.

  81. I believe that would be the difference between indifference and malevolence.

    Agreed.

  82. andy,

    Most people aren’t necessarily evil, even though their actions often are. They’re just ignorant, which all of us are of most things. Remembering this keeps me from hating. Instead, I tend to feel pity (most of the time).

    Regardless of the relative moral status of those lost at sea in this event, I hope their suffering was short and I feel empathy for their families and friends. There are few things worse than the loss of a loved one.

  83. Remember, a single death is a tragedy but a million deaths is a statistic (or 1500).

  84. Hakluyt, are you among the .00000000001% of the human population that will never die?

    πŸ™‚

  85. andy at 3:23 PM,

    That was seriously unkind and unfair. You coulda hurt some peoples’ feelings with that comment at a time when they’re already in terrible pain. Remember, this blog has a worldwide readership. Now if you’ll simply apologize, the rest of us will be relieved of any embarrassment. We’ll, at least I’ll, think far more of you if you do. Andy, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes it takes a fair person to own up to them and to try to rectify them.

  86. andy at 3:23 PM,

    That was seriously unkind and unfair. You coulda hurt some peoples’ feelings with that comment at a time when they’re already in terrible pain. Remember, this blog has a worldwide readership. Now if you’ll simply apologize, the rest of us will be relieved of any embarrassment. We’ll, at least I’ll, think far more of you if you do. Andy, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes it takes a fair person to own up to them and to try to rectify them.

  87. “Hakluyt, are you among the .00000000001% of the human population that will never die?”

    Hakluyt CAN’T be an Immortal. There can be only one, and Hakluyt’s got 6: Hakluyt, Gary Gunnels, Jean Bart, Jason Bourne, the Merovingian, and Croesus.

  88. On an average day, with no particular tragedies, _one hundred thousand_ people die (lowball round number).

    The stories you hear about are those that make good soap opera, because the news business sells eyeballs to advertisers, and soap opera women (40%) are drawn to it.

    In addition, some tragedies make good rhetorical spinning material, and posturing ensues.

    Everybody who dies is important to somebody, but it’s a different somebody for each.

    The point of sympathy, as in “Sorry about your father,” is not that you are sympathetic, indeed you don’t care about his father, but that it’s code for cutting him some slack in his social obligations for a while, like the obligation to laugh at the same joke he’s heard you tell for the hundredth time. That’s why sympathy is useful to him.

    If you don’t know the people in the situation, your sympathy is you entertaining yourself, ie. soap opera.

    So you get plonking “Who cares?” in reaction, to make the point that you reserve your sympathy for cases where it relates to you, and refuse to entertain yourself at the expense of others.

    Probably you’re not a big TV news viewer in that case, too.

  89. The folks who cross the water to labor in another country away from their own are the best of both countries.

    Jen, yeah, it’s great they managed to save so many. I saw on TV, but can’t find a link to verify (so it must be true!) that it was the UK who first figured out that the ship had sunk and alerted Egypt. Really, it’s amazing that anyone made it.

  90. “You coulda hurt some peoples’ feelings with that comment at a time when they’re already in terrible pain. Remember, this blog has a worldwide readership. Now if you’ll simply apologize, the rest of us will be relieved of any embarrassment.”

    I would hope that our international readers would realize that I don’t speak for anyone but myself. In any event, I already admitted that I went overboard, and for that I apologize. There probably weren’t that many wife beaters on board, but I’m not going to cry for the ones that were.

  91. andy,

    Good for you. And good point about speaking only for yourself. You just did again. Kudos to you.

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