Bridge Collapse in Florida: A Third World Catastrophe

FIU bridge collapse gdb voanewsPhoto courtesy (for one-time, academic, not-for-profit use): VOANews.

Media here in the U.S. are playing their familiar role again. They are making tons of money by showing and reshowing the catastrophic bridge collapse at Florida International University. The deaths, and the destruction. Discussion on the various engineering stuff. “Why and how” the tragedy happened.

There is familiar competition among all the big media corporations: who can show more graphic pictures, who can bring in a new scoop.  How many people died, and who they are. Who can show how the cars and people are crushed beneath the huge, broken structure.

In the middle of all this, just the same-old way big media does it, there is complete silence as to the root cause of this kind of a “Third World” disaster in the so-called First World America. And that root cause is: a profit-first system that puts money first before the lives of ordinary people. And this is the latest example of that extremist, profit-before-people economic and political system.

Yes, this is an extremely unethical, extremist, profiteering system.

The “Accelerated Construction”: everybody is now talking about it. I am not an engineer, and therefore, I can’t comment on the technology aspect of it. But this is all I know. The Accelerated Construction was implemented by the authorities (likely private enterprises, I heard, bypassing the state transportation department) who decided to rush in the parts of the bridge, and put them together in a way that made sure no traffic was disrupted underneath the construction.

What does it really mean? It means no business — i.e., money making and profit — would be disrupted. They did not test the construction for its safety — the traditional way they would wait for a substantial amount of time for safety checks — before they opened it up for business. What does it really mean? It means they did not care about the lives and safety of the ordinary people who would be possible victims if such a disaster struck.

And the disaster struck. This is purely Third World catastrophe.

And now, words leaked out that engineers spotted cracks two days before the tragedy, but nothing was done to stop the traffic and pedestrians from using that bridge and the busy highway underneath it. Again, it shows how inhumane this American profit-before-people system has become.

A few years ago, in Calcutta, a similar disaster took place. Here’s a picture of that.

Calcutta Flyover Collapse India TodayPhoto courtesy (for one-time, academic, not-for-profit use): India Today.

Very similar situation. Very similar unethical construction. It’s not the first bridge Calcutta engineers put together, in case you didn’t know. The city has dozens of such bridges (some gigantic), and no others ever fell apart. This was an act of dishonest perpetrators, who are still at large. Nobody, other than some small potatoes, was ever brought to justice.

We see such extremist act of dishonesty and money-driven, greed-driven tragedies in places like India all the time. But here in USA — the self-styled “best country in the world” — we do not see such horrific disasters that happen purely because of inefficiency and dishonest, misplaced politics and economics.

In the middle of their round the clock reporting of the catastrophe, American media would completely bypass the root cause of it: extremist capitalism that puts profit before people. And soon, the place will be cleaned up, and everybody will forget about it.

Just the same way they forgot all about it in Calcutta.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

###