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Sunday, 29 March 2015


Until a couple of days ago very few people in the world knew the name #AndreasLubitz. Today everyone knows him as the co-pilot who locked his Captain out of the cabin of a Germanwings aircraft and then flew the plane at 700kph into the side of a French mountain, killing all 150 people on board.

Sky News reports that Andreas Lubitz told his ex-girlfriend a year or so ago that one day he would do something "that would change the system and that everyone in the world would remember the name of Andreas Lubitz". Prophetic words, but is that really the way to ensure you get remembered? Did he make a difference? Did he change lives? You bet he did, but to what end and at what cost?

However troubled Andreas Lubitz may have been, however much recognition he may have wanted and however much he may have wanted to be remembered, nothing can justify his actions. He has left behind incredible pain and grieving and affected the lives of everyone associated with the passengers on the ill-fated flight. Take the 15 children from the Joseph Koenig Gymnasium who died in the flight. It is hard to imagine the grief and sorrow for parents, siblings, schoolteachers, classmates, in fact the whole town of Haltern am See. Then multiply those numbers by 10, and include in those the names of Andreas Lubitz' parents and family members, to understand the scale of what he did and the hurt his actions have prompted.

Now consider someone like Alan Turing, who broke the German codes in the 2nd World War and is said to have thereby ended the war at least two years early.  How many lives did he save, how much sorrow did he manage to spare people? He also eventually committed suicide, vilified and chemically castrated for being gay, rather than being heralded for the hero he was. Today the world remembers Alan Turing for the genius and hero he was, his name now immortalised by the silver screen.

Two different lives, ending in suicide, remembered by the world for completely different reasons, one set of reasons noble and heroic, the other notorious, cowardly and self-indulgent.

We don't have to be depressed, or brilliant, or gay, or victimized or heroes  or villians to be remembered: all that we are called to do is our very best for the greater good.  Life will take care of the rest.

So how do you want to be remembered?

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