The tragedy and mystery that is MH17
Who shot down the MH17? And what could be the reasons?
From last evening, most news channels have been streaming shocking news about a passenger aircraft being shot down over Ukraine.
It is indeed sad news. While my heart reaches out to those affected by it, the question still remains… why was Malaysian Airlines (and indeed quite a few international Airlines) flying over a disturbed area like Ukraine, where not a few days ago, 2 aircraft had been shot down?
The answer lies here. Most of our actions are driven by our opinions. And most of our opinions are driven by media.
The conflict in Ukraine, has pretty much been ignored by international media, choosing to give more importance to a biased view on the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.
The fact is that the conflict in Ukraine has affected and killed substantially more civilians than the current conflict in Gaza.
I am not, in any way, suggesting that what is happening in Gaza is not important. One cannot take away from the human rights abuses that are being perpetrated on innocents in Gaza. Every life lost is a shame on humanity.
However, the insistence of media to ignore the huge crisis in Ukraine, has given way to a false sense of security in flying over a conflict zone. The assumption that there haven’t been too many ‘scary’ media reports lulls people into believing that they are safe.
The Airline has claimed that they were given the go ahead by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The organization I am sure, will find something to justify their clearance (the safe height to cruise, as communicated by the Ukrainian Government, for instance).
Wherever the fingers may point, the fact remains that 298 innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the conflict have paid for this minor oversight with their lives.
From the looks of it, all the three parties involved, the Government of Ukraine, the Government of Russia and the Pro-Russian rebels seem to have had access to technology that could shoot down a plane.
So that leaves us with ‘most probable’ scenarios.
The most obvious explanations seems to be that it was the rebels. Poorly trained soldiers with access to technology that they have no clue how to handle.
A misreading of radar information, a trigger-happy rebel and you have one of the biggest man made tragedies in ages.
The other players also have their own justifications. The Ukrainian Government claims that the Ukrainian planes which were shot down in the past, were also flying above the ceiling limit of the Buk missiles. Their claim is that Russian aircraft fired air-to-air missiles to bring down their cargo and Sukhoi aircraft. Their logic dictates that it was a misreading by Russia that led to this happen.
The Russian Government and Pro-Russian rebels have been claiming that the Ukraine Government shot down the plane. There doesn’t seem to be any justification as to why, just claims made by the leaders.
The one thing that anyone could say with clarity, is that there isn’t any.
As with most disasters like this, the news emanating from the crash site has slowly, but surely, gotten more and more muddled, with claims, counter claims, expert opinions, governments’ statements… each proclaiming something new, to the extent that it is no longer clear what happened, or why.
Usually, the first reports that reach a person are the correct reports before the spin-doctors start tweaking news to suit their objectives. Going by that, the finger points directly at the Russian rebels who in their excitement at having found a new toy, took down a neutral target.
So who actually shot it down? Only time will tell. The investigations, if carried out correctly, without interference from interest lobbies and biased media, should be able to point out the perpetrators of this heinous crime.
Till then, we will need to wait and hear more and more theories as to what happened.
While on the topic of theories, here’s one.
A conspiracy theorist I know shared this line of thought…
There is a huge amount of resistance in the western world, to sending troops for support of the Ukrainian government’s cause.
In the interim, the unilateral actions by Russia in annexing Crimea and the potential threat of the separatists merging eastern Ukraine with Russia are real and serious.
The NATO and allied forces have been contemplating action against Russia. While the sanctions on Russians involved directly in the conflict will have some effect, it doesn’t seem to have sorted out the issue.
Maybe it is time for NATO to step in? Maybe it is time for the western world to officially get involved?
Maybe an international disaster like this would change public opinion, to justify their involvement in the conflict?
Governments have, in the past, created stories out of thin air, positively identified the presence of weapons of mass destruction in locations where there were none, created wars where there weren’t any, concocted ‘clear and present threats’ to justify actions that they wanted to take.
Why should this be any different?
I welcome your views on this. Do share your comments below.