Did you know that someone who is drowning is hardly moving at all? The flailing about that we see portrayed on the screen is called aquatic distress, but no one is drowning just yet.
The untrained eye will miss the unmoving person, perhaps hanging very still in the water nearby, face half under water, arms stretched out, glassy eyed, unable to utter a sound.
I am that person. I’m all still, barely hanging on. Most everyone around me is “merely” exhibiting signs of aquatic distress.
There’s a party on the pier. It’s a warm, muggy summer day in London, so why not have a BBQ with music and pretend that all is well?
I find it obnoxious and inconsiderate at the best of times. This is the worst of times.
I’ve been reeling since the news of flight MH17 broke. It’s hard to say why this affects me so much. My first thought was of my brother, who lives in The Hague and who flew today from Amsterdam to Singapore.
If it weren’t for Thursday’s events, his flight would have taken that same route as MH17. I had to remind myself that he hadn’t flown on Thursday and was headed for SIN, not KL. But I checked WhatsApp anyway to see when he had last been “seen”.
I’ve not spoken to him since. I can’t imagine what it must be like in The Netherlands right now. I thought it insensitive to ask. I can guess.
I’ve been following the news obsessively, reading everything that didn’t scream propaganda.
But as much as has been written on it as little is factually known. All evidence is hearsay and/or circumstantial. Until the wreck is investigated and Russia and the Ukraine take some fucking responsibility.
They are playing the blame game over an unspeakable atrocity. The “why” doesn’t even matter. It’s the most irrelevant question. The international community, the families of the victims, deserve to know how this happened, though.
There is little doubt that the plane was shot down. Just as it seems clear that the pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists were the ones doing the shooting. No other explanation seems plausible. But concrete evidence is required.
At the same time it would appear that the only weapon capable of such a thing was of Russian origin.
Which brings us to the biggest question: now what?
There’s no satisfactory answer. And all of them have already been written on. Much depends on Putin and what he intends to do next.
The crash site is in the hands of separatists. The investigators are not getting full access. Evidence is potentially tampered with, if not removed entirely. Rumours are rife.
So what will Putin do? And how will the US and Europe respond?
One plane shot out of the sky. Perhaps mistakenly. Yet 298 people die in an instant. And the impact on international politics unpredictable.
Meanwhile Israel and Gaza escalate the violence in their courtyards. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians flee home. The Tour de France cycles on. And the party on the pier continues.
My heart keeps bleeding as I am treading water, trying to come up for air, wondering what’s wrong with our species that we created a world such as this.