I hope it was an instant, painless flash that took their lives.
The innocent people on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 did not deserve to die. But more than that, they did not deserve to suffer.
The blame game has started.
Ukraine has accused the pro-Russian rebels of being trigger happy. Russia hasn’t denied anything, but President Vladimir Putin quickly shoved the blame straight back at Ukraine:
…the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.
…this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land.
He of course failed to mention his constant efforts in trying to destabilize parts of Ukraine with Russian military support.
Meanwhile, other leaders of the world chimed in. Obama said that the plane “was shot down” and that Putin has the power to end the escalating violence in Ukraine. Our Prime Minister tweeted that he was shocked, but predictably stopped short of making any conclusions. It is the hope of the Malaysian people that other notorious politicians just wish their condolences and say nothing embarrassing.
The next few days will surely see international power moves, more speculation, and glowing tributes to the people on board.
It will not be any consolation, but this is one incident where Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines are surely blameless. It’s just tragic that it happened to our badly stricken national carrier – still reeling from the disaster of MH370.
And yet, the pilots and cabin crew who remain bravely continue to fly. Fearful no doubt, but continuing to do their jobs in faith that the world will not crumble. That rational minds will prevail and that humanity will not self-destruct.
If you need a hero to look up to in this difficult time, may I suggest you only need to look as far as your next Malaysian Airlines pilot, steward or stewardess?
* * * * * * * *
Meanwhile, as the eyes of the world were transfixed on the flaming wreckage of the doomed plane, not many realized the numerous Israeli tanks that started rolling into Gaza.
So much hate, strife and bloodshed today. So much more to come.
And so, hauntingly – as the late Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday passes by, his words come to mind:
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion.
People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
What can save us?
Is it men’s fault or religion’s fault when atrocities are committed in the name of God? Is your religion more righteous than mine, or is mine more righteous than yours?
Whose land is it anyway?
For all their wisdom and strength, I don’t think Obama or Putin or Netanyahu or Abbas or Hamas have the answers either.
Perhaps only God knows.
The 3rd US president, Thomas Jefferson once said:
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
But is that really the only way?
* * * * * * * *
I don’t claim to understand geopolitics, or the intricacies of Middle East conflicts. I’m just a peace-loving person, who grew up in a small peace-loving country. Someone who has never come within a thousand kilometers of a war zone.
I will never carry the burden of leading a nation and watching my young people die by rocket fire. Neither do I understand the wretched pain of losing a family member in such a tragedy. I can only imagine it to be the most terrible feeling in the world.
Here’s what I do know: The selfish fear that comes from having a plane ticket that reads “Amsterdam”. The terror of knowing it could have happened to any one of my friends who recently traveled that route. And the solemn truth that life is fleeting – that we should live with no regrets.
Above all, the sad realization that violence breeds violence. And that innocent men, women and children will die. For nothing.
That’s something we should all cry about.
My deepest condolences to the friends and families of the passengers on MH17. Malaysia mourns with you.
Pic by Dittymathew (Own work)