Green lights blink in double eyecatching announcement. The name beside the lights can be read easily with eyes searching for confirmation of a specific destination—Beirut, Rome, Ankara, Tokyo, New York, London, Zurich, Chicago, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, San Francisco, Houston, Amsterdam, Frankfurt. What can be read by watchful eyes is suddenly further confirmed as a deep voice announces in two or three languages the departure gate.
I observed this procedure for some hours recently. We were filming in an airport, and since my job was just to watch the crew’s coats and extra equipment, I had plenty of time to watch and think. Blink-blink, blink-blink, green signals pulling eyes to check the accuracy of plane number and seat assignments. People, people, people, of all nationalities, all races, all ages, all sizes and sorts—all with several things in common: their passports have been checked and are in order, their baggage has gone through the controls and has passed inspection, they have walked through the arch with the electric test declaring that they are not taking any forbidden weapons. They have fulfilled the requirements for going from where they are to another place. But can each one know, with absolute assurance, that he or she will reach that destination?
There are such things as storms, faulty motors, sabotage, and highjacking. Machines can fail, and human beings can fail, and enemies can succeed in destroying what they set out to destroy, so that the expected destinations are never reached.
The certainty of having a destination with a name, and a ticket, and the official permission to board a plane, is not a guarantee of arrival. The life jackets under the seats, the oxygen masks being demonstrated a few minutes after takeoff, ...1
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