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Iranian Voices: The Crash of IranAir Flight 277

11 Jan 2011 20:49Comments

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The tragic deaths of 77 people in this Sunday's plane crash near Orumieh have infuriated Iranians. In person and on the web, they have been voicing strong reactions. Reading some of the comments below -- mostly from Tehran -- it must be taken into consideration that Iranians have developed a morbid sense of humor to deal with the hardships of living in the Islamic Republic. In particular, black humor is often used to express grief and to vent anger and frustration. These comments in no way indicate that Iranians are taking the tragedy lightly.

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"In Europe there was a lot of snow and there were also bad weather conditions, but there wasn't any plane crash. You know why? Because when the weather is bad they have the sense to cancel their flights."

--Cab driver, 50

* Transportation Minister Hamid Behbahani blamed the crash on bad weather conditions.

***

"No one survives a plane crash. If there are survivors, it wasn't a plane crash. It was a crash landing. The plane definitely had technical problems. I just don't get why they have to keep lying about it. The truth won't kill you. Tell us that because of the sanctions you can't maintain your 37-year-old planes, so people, don't get on planes for your own safety."

--Book store owner, 67

***

"The life of an Iranian is worth nothing to them as long as they can stay in power."

--Homemaker, 30

***

"IRIB's news coverage is really something to be proud of -- in a matter of minutes they increased the death toll by 50."

--Journalist, 25

* Within an hour after the plane crash, different IRIB channels began reporting the incident. IRIB1 said 105 people had lost their lives. According to IRIB4, 165 people died.

***

"This incident was definitely the will of God and not the result of mismanagement. Inshallah, God's will shall prevent such incidents from happening again."

--Anonymous comment on regime-aligned website

***

"Stop spreading rumors. This is the work of global arrogance. No one has died. Why are you worrying the families of passengers? Inshallah, all of them are alive. "

--Anonymous comment on regime-aligned website

***

"Instead of spending so much on producing a national car, spend money on making a decent plane so that so many people do not die in plane crashes."

--Accountant, 37

***

"If the cause of the crash was bad weather conditions, all those who allowed this plane to take off must be put on trial and the aviation chief must be fired. Of course, this would only happen in a Western country. In Iran, no one will be tried and no one will be fired."

--Anonymous comment on Persian-language website

***

"If we continue like this we won't have any planes left within the next two years."

--Engineer, 45

***

"They tell us to come donate blood and then say don't gather outside the hospital. What do you want us to do? Come or stay home?"

--Anonymous comment on Persian-language website

* President Nassrollah Molazadeh of Orumieh Medical Sciences University told Mehr News Agency on Monday that Orumieh Red Crescent officials need donations of blood to save the lives of those who survived the crash. He also asked citizens to refrain from gathering outside hospitals where the injured are being treated.

***

"If the aviation industry continues like this and we do not find anyone willing to sell us new planes, every Iranian should except to have their name on the list of plane crash casualties."

--Art student, 22

***

"I finally understand what the president meant when he said these sanctions are an opportunity, not a loss for us. It's an opportunity for us to see the names of more Iranians on lists of plane crash victims. This is a golden opportunity we should not miss."

--Political activist, 28

***

"In any other country [after a plane crash], officials would courageously come forward and tender their resignations and apologize to the people or they would be fired. Unfortunately, in Iran these gentlemen insist on serving the people."

--Columnist, 47

***

"Please notice that it took 45 minutes before 'locals,' locals as in the people living in that village and not airport rescue teams or authorities, came to his aid."

--Anonymous comment on Persian-language website

* Crash survivor Behnam Esmaili said, "The pilot told us to fasten our seatbelts as we would be landing.... As we were about to land, there was a lot of turbulence and the plane increased its altitude.... I was thrown into the snow some distance from the plane.... It took 45 minutes for locals to come to my rescue. I thought I was going to die, but I am alive due to people helping me."

***

"The honorable transportation minister said rescue teams arrived on the scene immediately after the crash. The crash survivor says locals helped him after 45 minutes. Who is telling the truth here? Definitely the poor person who had to wait 45 minutes to be rescued."

--Anonymous comment on Persian-language website

* Transportation Minister Behbahani said in a Monday press conference that rescue teams had immediately arrived on the scene of the crash along with the West Azerbaijan governor.

***

"It's obvious how sorry they [regime officials] feel when they announced three days of mourning in West Azerbaijan. The loss of 77 lives was not worth three days of national mourning."

--Cameraman, 35

***

"God sent us ten centimeters of snow after four months but took 77 lives as compensation!"

--Green grocer, late 20s, Saadatabad

* A snipe at Shia clergy who say that if you demand something of God, the demand may be met but he will surely take something away in reparation for your arrogance.

***

"Our aviation industry has major problems that will not be solved by increasing ticket prices. People have to buy [domestic] plane tickets at the same price as tickets for international flights and board antiquated but still-in-use planes so that they can enjoy the pleasures of a crash experience together."

--Director, 32

***

"Aviation accidents are a reality in today's world. It happens even in the most developed, arrogant countries that manufacture planes. Unfortunately, people in our country like to create a hype around everything and magnify commonplace incidents. We need to learn to deal with these things logically."

--Anonymous comment on regime-aligned website

***

"Praise Allah, who has given our ministers more than their share of cheek. In this regard, he owes them nothing. The statistics for aviation accidents are lower than international statistics, so they will continue with their management techniques so that we can catch up with international standards. "

--Anonymous comment on Persian-language website

* Behbahani said Monday that Iran's rate of aviation accidents was lower than international norms.

***

"Our esteemed transportation minister says our crash statistics are lower than the international norms. This means there is still room for a dozen more crashes."

--Metro passenger, 54

***

"The flights take off on time regardless of the weather conditions and the possibility of a crash. After all, there must be a difference between our hard-working managers and European ones."

--Journalist, 28

***

"Honorable arrogant countries whose people have private planes at their disposal, we implore you to lend us your private planes awhile so that our transportation minister can no longer use us as human sacrifices."

--Animator, 31

***

"So this is why Ahmadinejad keeps saying we must abandon all efforts at population control. Because if we continue like this, Iranians will become extinct in the not-so-distant future. "

--Political activist, 27

***

"When will the international community realize that ordinary Iranians are paying the price for the sanctions they are using to cripple the Iranian regime?"

--Religion Teacher, 50

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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