I dare say that like me you were horrified at the news last week of the Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down. So many innocent lives lost in a violent and tragic way to a conflict which has nothing to do with them.
The flight that was shot down could have been avoided
The news initially generated within me a level of shock then great anger at both the people in the conflict and then at Malaysia Airlines. My reaction was posted to Twitter as I asked why would they fly over a conflict zone?
Shocking news today but why is a commercial aircraft flying over a conflict zone?
— The Guy ✈ (@TheGuyWhoFlies) July 17, 2014
It seems such an obvious statement and lots of people were asking it.
I then discovered that MH17 was the Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flight, a flight I have experience of. Yes I took the flight that was shot down. In fact I’ve taken that flight numerous times in the past, primarily on my route to Australia.
A number of years ago I even redeemed my frequent flyer points so that my father could fly Business Class on that exact same route to Australia.
The personal connection (maybe tenuous at best) but it is there.
Admittedly in more recent times I’ve flown Emirates or Singapore Airlines on my trips to Australia yet MH17 has appeared as a viable flight option.
I suppose the personal connection brings to light how we are in touch or how close we are to world affairs, more than ever before. I dare say a few of you reading this have also taken the MH17 flight?
My connection with world events go further in that my former home was attacked by Al-Qaeda. I dare say I’ve had other connections to recent history and maybe I’ve just not realised it. I’m sure you have too.
Few people though can be as close as the cyclist who was due to take both fateful Malaysia Airline flights this year. Yet through a series of events avoided a premature end.
As I’m sure you’ve read, the idea of a flight that was shot down is not an entirely a new event. In 1983 Russia shot down a Korean Airlines flight (KAL007) carrying 269 people following claims it was flying off route in the region of Kamchatka.
In 1988 the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger plane killing 290.
These events are rare and so are air accidents.
When I travel I know my mother worries along with other people. Yet the truth is flying by plane is one of the safest forms of travel. I saw someone recently say that you’ve more chance of being hit by a hippo than of dying on a plane.
As you read this I’m probably travelling in a car on a road in India, believe me that is a lot more dangerous than any airline in existence.
With the recent announcements of airlines cancelling flights to Tel Aviv due to shelling from Hamas, air safety is risk averse more than ever.
I still question the mindset of Malaysia Airlines to fly over the troubled part of Ukraine last week. Official reports are that European authorities deemed it safe to fly. Claims were that the rebels did not have the technology to shoot down an aircraft at over 30,000 feet in the air. The thing is though, they were still shooting down military aircraft, why take the risk?
Numerous other airlines, including such as British Airways had already re-routed their flight paths.
The western media claim that Russia has been supplying the Ukrainian rebels. It is also little secret that Russia favours the rebels and their objectives. It seems very few if any other nations of the globe openly support them.
To be honest the whole thing disgusts me. The whole covering up, lies, smokes and screens. The tampering with evidence at the flight scene. Delays in access for the flight investigators. The very fact the flight was shot down.
I suspect many of us have come to our own conclusions already.
I find it hard to come to terms with the idea that whoever fired that missile did not have access to information to know it was a passenger plane. At least with the cancelled flights to Israel it is to avoid indiscriminate shelling, not weapons designed to bring down aircraft.
Now people are trying to make political capital out of the situation by blaming others to show how evil they are.
Should I even bring politics into my personal travel blog? I don’t know. We all have views and I have my own.
Only recently it influenced a rather innocent potential action of mine. As a blogger I feel part of the blogging community and this involves supporting other bloggers and providing encouragement to them.
Yet world events made me consciously choose not to.
I was reading a travel blog by someone who describes themselves as a dual national of America and Russia (is that a paradox? – only kidding.) They’d written an article on visiting Crimea. It was informative, played on some of the great attractions of the island with impressive pictures.
I felt a certain level of repulsion. Yet then I told myself to not form an opinion. Whilst I felt like posting something along the lines of “Nice article but I’m sorry I will never even consider visiting Crimea until it is returned to Ukraine” I restrained myself.
I chose not to comment at all.
This seemed the best option. I don’t know the personal circumstances or political views of that blogger. I don’t know when that article was drafted. I don’t know if she is secretly an employee of the Russian authorities or a pro-American. I know very little about that person so I shouldn’t criticise her work with my politics.
However I stand by my position that the person who shot down that plane needs to really question their conscience. The people who tampered with the crash site and sought to hide evidence are never worthy of my respect.
Finally. Malaysia Airlines I really question your judgement and wisdom by choosing to fly over a conflict zone where military aircraft have been shot down. The flight that was shot down should never have been there.