189 (Netherlands) + 44 (Malaysia) + 27 (Australia) + 12 (Indonesia) + 10 (UK) + 4 (Germany) + 4 (Belgium) + 3 (Philippines) + 1 (Canada) + 1 (New Zealand) + 3 (Unconfirmed) = 298
Hope these would have been some numbers from an international sporting tournament and I wouldn’t have objected to the indomitable Dutch spirit taking the lead. Unfortunately! These are not.
These numbers are the losses of human lives suffered by the bracketed countries in the tragic shot down of flight MH-17 over Ukrainian airspace. May their souls rest in peace! May their loved ones get the strength to live through this man-made tragedy! My heart also goes out to the airline staff for the loss of their 15-member crew and for having suffered twin tragedies this year.
Here are a few of these tragic stories:
The loss of Karlijn Keijzer
Karlijn Keizer (aged 25) was a champion rower and a brilliant student. Her extended hours in the Indiana University labs where she was a doctoral student and an avid researcher were devoted to “preparing a computer simulation on bryostatin, an anticancer drug and a promising drug candidate for treating Alzheimer’s disease” as confirmed by one of her associate professors.
The loss of Joep Lange
Joep Lange (aged 60), a virologist, a former President of the International AIDS Society, and a father of five girls is no more thanks to an international conflict that we failed to resolve. Accompanied by his wife Jacqueline, Joep was on his way to attend the International AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia.
The loss of Cameron Dalziel
Pic: Cameron seen here with his wife Reine. They have two sons Sheldon (14) and Cruz (4).
Cameron Dalziel (aged 43) was a Zimbabwe born, South Africa raised and Malaysia settled former helicopter rescue pilot. He was presently working in Malaysia on 24-hour emergency operations for a private company. Friends knew him as a ‘larger than life’ character who was devoted towards his trade.
These are just a few examples of the unspeakable loss a callous launch of a missile has caused to friends, family, the respective nations and the world at large. Promising students, academicians, sports fanatics, humanitarian workers, etc. all wiped out from existence, their loss is irreplaceable.
As the situation stands today, the wreckage of the flight is unattended, the black box in custody of pro-Russian rebels, there is no arrangement being made to ferry the bodies back to the loved ones and we are squabbling over who would be investigating the crash. I have no doubts it has to be a UN deputed team for the probe to be impartial. In fact UN has to be the go-to body in all such similar situations where so many nations are involved.
But with one international crisis after another, I am also getting certain in my belief that UN has become one defunct body especially when it comes to exercising their influence in resolving international disputes. They always go textbook announcing sanctions and washing their hands of the ramifications thereafter. Take this recent case of MH17, the UN has done nothing except chair an emergency UNSC debate on the situation to give world leaders a podium to express anguish.
Dear UN, if you are so bookish, it is time to move beyond Article 41 and consider Article 42 of Chapter 7 of your own drafted charter.
The international community is visibly restrained so far. My own has been muted in response. I believe we should be fearless in expressing our views on international conflicts. Before terror strikes your doors or claims your men it is time to call a ‘spade’ a spade! Or you risk isolation when the tables are turned.
Country above self, yes!
World Peace above everything else, uncompromising!!