The line between tragedy and farce is difficult to explain. The best way to to distinguish them is to say “you’ll know it’s tragic if it is.” In 1998 Eugene Volkh wrote an article titled “How the Asians Became White”. That was farce. In Malaysia this transformation literally happened. The results might prove to be tragic. The passengers holding stolen Austrian and Italian passports who boarded MH370 had “Asian faces”. Reuters reports:
Malaysia’s state news agency quoted Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying the two passengers using the stolen European passports were of Asian appearance, and criticizing border officials who let them through.
“I am still perturbed. Can’t these immigration officials think? Italian and Austrian but with Asian faces,” he was quoted as saying late on Sunday.
Of course anyone who said the same thing in the West would be decried as racist. But Chinese, never having heard of PC, are not amused. They have taken a dim view of Malaysia’s handling of the entire affair. “China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, appeared to flash impatience in a phone call reported on the ministry’s website.”
“The Malaysian Airlines flight has been missing for close to 40 hours,” he was quoted as telling his Malaysian counterpart, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
“The Chinese government is treating this very seriously, and the Chinese people are extremely anxious.”
He asked that Malaysia “constantly” provide updates on the situation, the global daily reported.
It noted that in a series of briefings, Malaysian officials refused to answer any questions relating to what they described as “security matters”.
Not discussing “security matters” might be another way of saying “we’re are afraid to tell you how badly we screwed up.” Now the situation has taken an even more dramatic turn. The description of the interlopers has changed. They are now black. ABC News says: “One of the passengers who used a stolen passport to board the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was a black man, a Malaysian official indicated today.”
When asked about the two men who used the stolen passports, Rahman replied, “We confirmed now they are not Asian looking males.”
When pressed to describe them, he said, “Do you know a footballer by the name of Bartoli? Do you know what he looks like?”
Reporters corrected him asking, “Mario Balotelli?” and asked whether the man with the stolen passport was black. Balotelli, who is black, is an Italian soccer player.
“Yes,” Rahman replied.
Rahman refused to further describe the two men.