Barely 131 days have passed since the Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 went missing. But now, the shooting down of another of their flights MH 17, is a news-story that is truly heart wrenching.
298 Innocent lives have been lost simply because a surface-to-air missile was apparently launched by some ignorant Ukrainian rebels, who may not even have had the necessary training to handle sophisticated war equipment.
Human error or not, this shooting must to be severely condemned by all of us.
Many of us may have travelled on planes, and it is shocking now to realise that incidents like these can also happen.
I looked at this incident, somehow, from different perspectives and can think of four simple words to describe it. Irony. Fate. History. Hope.
Firstly, Irony. It is very sad that one of the Dutch passengers, while boarding the plane, clicked a picture of the plane, at the Schiphol airport, and tweeted the picture with the caption, “if it disappears, this is what it looks like”! His words soon proved to be tragically prophetic.
Also ironical is the fact that among several other airlines on the same flight path, this shooting target had to be the same airlines that was struck by tragedy three months ago.
Secondly, Fate. I was surprised to read that an Australian woman has lost family members in both tragedies. She lost her brother in MH 370, and her daughter in MH 17 crash.
This is not a new tragedy.
A Soviet warplane shot down the Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983. A total of 269 people died in this shooting, and the blame was on the pilots for straying off-course into soviet air space.
A US navy ship shot down an Iranian plane on July 3, 1988 shortly after take off, on a regularly-scheduled route between the Iranian coastal city of Bandar Abbas and Dubai. All 290 aboard died, before they could complete a mere 28-minute flight distance between the cities.
So, a total of 857 innocent people died in the these three civilian accidental air-shootings, if we include this week’s shooting to these two earlier incidents.
We simply do not seem to be learning from history. Or maybe we are simply condemned to repeat history.
The fourth word I can think of is Hope.
Let us hope that this disaster would wake up the world to the harsh realities and the innocent causalities of war.
Let us hope that this will make the warring factions within Ukraine, as well the Russian supporters of Ukrainian rebels, realize the truth that if solutions have to be found, they should be found through discussions by sitting across tables, and not by using weapons of mass destruction.