Monday, November 20, 2006

University Community Devastated by Minneapolis Tragedy (a fictional piece written on the airplane by TC)

The University of ____ was thrust into mourning last night when Northwest Flight 9## from San Francisco crashed only 10 minutes before landing at its intended destination at the Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport. Particularly devastated is the African Studies Program at the university which lost eight faculty and students returning from the 49th Annual meeting of the African Studies Association in San Francisco. Among the victims were world renowned scholars Prof. S_____ of the Anthropology Department, one of the leading experts on Dafur, Prof. F_____ of the History Department, and Prof. M________, a distinguished professor of Political Science, and also the head of the African Studies Programme. Also on the plane were two graduate students and one undergraduate student from the Department of African Languages and Literature, a graduate student in the History Department, and a representative of the University of ____ Press.

“This is a great blow to the university and to the field of African Studies worldwide” said University of ____ President ___ in a statement issued early this morning. “These were the best and the brightest, and their loss will be sorely felt.” The African Studies Program at the University of _____ is widely considered to be one of the top programs of its kind in the nation. “These scholars were the leading authorities in the field, and the students some of the most promising,” noted Prof. _____ the newly elected President of the African Studies Association in an email to recently parted members of the association. Other University of ____ faculty and students who had arrived back into the Midwestern town a few hours earlier were distraught. “It could have been any of us,” said Prof ____, who arrived into ____ in the early afternoon. “I will never forgive myself for not going to the panel that my student was presenting on. It makes me realize how much we take our colleagues and students for granted, and how fragile our lives really are. This is a great tragedy.”

Authorities have not yet identified the cause of the explosion that caused the 9pm Northwest Airlines crash, from which emerged no survivors, but one top level TSA employee, who did not want to be identified giving out details before the official transcript of the black box had been released, maintained that the explosion was likely an act of terrorism carried out by a passenger carrying a bottle of hair cream that exceeded TSA regulations by .5 oz. The source claims that on black box recording, a passenger can be heard loudly complaining about not receiving pretzels or peanuts on the three hour flight and threatening to denonate the oversize bottle. After the crash, an SFO security screening employee confessed that he had allowed the bottle through, citing the passenger’s complaint that the Northwest website had specified 3.5 oz as the cut off size. The security screener has since been disciplined, and the Department of Homeland Security is considering further action against him. Experts predict that this most recent crash will bring about further restrictions on carry-on items, and a renewed effort to increase communication between the TSA regulatory body and airline authorities.

In the meantime, the midwestern university community and the network of Africanist scholars across the nation and globe grieve. The president of the university noted that counseling will be available to distressed university students and faculty members. A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 7pm tonight at _____ outside the building that houses the African Studies Program.

(SORRY… I have a sick sense of humour…. In reality, we all made it back fine, but I amused myself, exceedingly, composing this on the flight back….)


stefan said...

hallo how was the Babu film?
(i just find your blog and as for a language student it is going to be a god and hard job to read it but i find something nice in your writtings so please don´t send me away :)

Talatu-Carmen said...

Hi Stefan,

Welcome.Where are you writing from?

"Babu film," in the Hausa language, means "no film" because I am busy and in between trips. I will keep in mind that I have a language student reading and try to resist my urge to write long parenthesis- filled blocks of prose! This will be good for me and I'm sure will also be appreciated by those for whom English is a first language, as well.

all the best.


Teju said...


I actually dig that sense of humor. I say we fight absurdity with absurdity!

Too bad I'll be away from New York when you visit. We'll meet another time, perhaps.

Talatu-Carmen said...

oh, yes, it would be nice to meet you sometime. The African Studies Association conference will be in New York next year. If you're interested in attending that, at all, I'm planning to be there.

stefan said...

hallo from slovakia(eastern europe former socialist country - until 1993 part of csechoslovakia )
and don´t worry please i like your writtings and suppose that others too :o), by the way a few time ago you wrote about politics :
i may be wrong it´s just my thinking but i think that your country not all republicans agree f.e. with mr. Bush and his politics and sometimes ( i may be again wrong ) there is not such a big difference betwen democrats and republicans when they´r in leading possitions ( am i completely wrong?
from how is your inters in Hausa language?
have a nice time

Dotun said...

are u predicting or satirizing

Talatu-Carmen said...

To Stefan:
Probably not difference between Democrats and Republicans in the big scheme of things. They are all politicians... I think it's good to have balance, though. If one party has too much power, then they seem to stop caring about representing people and start doing whatever they feel like. I recently voted Democrat because I felt like Bush and the Republicans have made an appalling mess of the country in the last few years.

To Dotun (i spelled your name right this time right?)
I should probably retitle this "TC delights herself on the flight back from san francisco with a morbid fantasy." I just thought it was kind of funny that there were so many of us from the African Studies Programme on one flight and started imagining what the news coverage would be like if the plane should crash. That and also being piqued that Northwest didn't even offer a single peanut or pretzel on the whole three hour flight. Nothing deep.

Texter said...

reading that freaked me out. i was trying to remember who "prof s" - a specialist on dar fur - could be.

Talatu-Carmen said...

sorry... ok, i've really got to re-title this...