Six days after the Boeing 777 was shot down over the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, the first bodies finally arrived in the Netherlands, a country that bore the heaviest toll in flight MH17. As a lone bugler sounded the traditional “Last Post,” traffic ceased, church bells tolled and citizens stood in both silence and tears as a country offered a dignified return where Russia could not. Where Putin failed, Russian citizens did not.
Outside the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Russian citizens expressed their condolences and sorrow over the downing of flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine, a solemn reminder that there is rarely little difference between the people of one nation to another.
Flags at foreign embassies within Moscow flew half-mast, in solidarity with the Dutch declaration for a day of mourning. One touching point worth mentioning is that some Russian citizens wrapped themselves in Gold/Blue flags, the colors of Ukraine, and others draped themselves in the red-white-blue of the Netherlands flag.
For Putin, none of events seemed worthy of his attention. Instead, Putin criticized the sanctions the US and EU imposed on Russia, which began before and after the MH17 plane crash.
“The very concept of the state [Russian] sovereignty is becoming diluted. Unwanted regimes and countries that are trying to exercise independent policy or simply stand in the way of someone’s interests are getting destabilized,” Putin said.
Oh Mr. Putin, trying saying “…Unwanted regimes and countries standing in the way of someone’s interest …” to any Malaysia Flight MH17 victim. Who speaks for them?
CNN analyst, Fareed Zakaria noted, “We should be aware of the fact that this is truly a historically defining moment. If we do the things we need to do, if we are firm and clear, but also somewhat flexible, we can still give Putin the chance to redeem himself and to rejoin the community of nations.”
Seriously, I simply ask, “Does Putin even deserve to join the community of nations?”
It’s hard to imagine … one day the world looks so beautiful; the next day it’s awful. Scientifically, it seems impossible for the world to change so radically. But as lovers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, family and friends, we’re forced to reconcile that the world does change, sometimes quite significantly. Ecclesiastes 3:3 tells of there being “… a time for everything under heaven, a time for giving birth and a time for dying, a time for killing and a time for healing, a time for war and a time for peace.”
I don’t buy Ecclesiastes 3:3. All I see is a missing symphony of love, laughter, peace, joy and miracles – so many unfinished notes.
Citizens of Netherlands are changing their Facebook profile pictures and Twitter avatars to black squares and using #BringThemHome to commemorate the 193 Dutch citizens killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17.
To honor all those we’ve lost, I do the same.