(With grateful recognition to Nicky Anderson of the Houston Chronicle)
Over the last week I have read and analysed countless articles about the Pro-Russian attack on Flight MH17 and the stories behind the victims. Yet none have seemed so thought-provoking or poignant as this tribute left by a member of ground staff at Schiphol Airport . We hear reports that say there is no proven Russian connection with any of the MH17 atrocity while the pro-Russian rebels metaphorically scrub the evidence from the wreckage. This is NOT a crash site, it is a crime scene: If the Russians had no hand in this, why are they allowing the evidence to be airbrushed out? Equally, if Russia had no say or control over this, where did the rebels get a surface-to-air missile launcher mounted on a 38 tonne articulated lorry? Clearly the Russian government is no more honest than its filthy, thieving rebels in Eastern Ukraine. If this is what the Ukrainians have had to suffer, no wonder there has been such unrest, with a pro-Russian ex-President (Yanukovych) who lived in Donetsk being ousted by the Mayden Square protestors because of massive corruption.. No one should forget that the Yanukovych family fortune ballooned from £4bn to £40bn in the course of his presidency. Like his hero Putin, he clearly felt that the nation’s assets where rightfully his.
Reading so much of this caused me to make a comparison between the European view of respect for others and their lives and what seems to currently prevail among large swathes of the people in ‘The Republic of Donetsk’ and more wider, about Russia generally. I was particularly shocked to read that after the the plane was downed by the pro-Russian missile on July 17, witnesses reported seeing separatist paramilitaries at the crime scene stealing, pocketing jewelry, money and electronic items that belonged to the people that were laying dead around them.
Shane Hattingh, whose brother-in-law of 43-year-old helicopter rescue pilot Cameron Dalzie said that his credit cards had been used after the time that that the airliner crashed to the ground. Hattingh made the claim to CNN after he and his relatives had watched the first first plane carrying coffins arriving in Eindhoven on a day of mourning yesterday. He said Reine, Dalziel’s widow had cancelled his credit cards and tried to busy herself but had been “destroyed” by the procession yesterday. Speaking of the pro-Russian rebels and their attempts to delay search efforts following the crash, Hattingh said: “They have no respect for each other, look what they’re doing [...] It’s no surprise that they were treating the remains of people like that. It made me angry beyond words”.
On Monday, the Donetsk ‘Prime Minister’ Alexander Borodai, who is controlling the area of the crime scene, confirmed bodies and belongings had been looted. He said that looters “can be found everywhere,” while promising to punish any he found. More recently he has admited to informal linka with Russia – but not with the Russian government. It is clear that Borodai cannot be trusted any more than the Russian government. There are also unconfirmed reports that possessions of the deceased are being sold in local markets. Can you really see that happening in the EU zone?
To look at events through the perspective of a nation, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a press briefing that he is willing and ready to deploy Australian police to “help secure” the site of the crash, also saying that 50 officers are already in London waiting for the go-ahead. Mr Abbott said that we should all be aware that there had not been a “thorough professional search” of the site and neither can there be while armed rebels with a “vested interest” in the outcome of investigations are the calling the shots.
We may never see justice for the almost 300 deaths on that aircraft. When the dust settles it may be that we will never have definitive proof that the rebels, aided by the Russians, carried out this vile act. What we should reflect on is this: If the Russian character is so fatally flawed that it permits shooting passenger out of the sky and robbing the dead once they fallen to earth, then we can take a fresh look at our own society and realise that at least our country is not ruled by armed thugs, where consus is determined by violence. Their hero is Putin - a man that has stolen £40 billion from his people - where else would a lifelong government servant who now only earns around £125,000 a year get this kind of wealth from? I have lived in countries where the only thing that talks is money, but they were nothing like this. This is really sickening.
Let us always remind ourselves that the stench that comes from the murderous aggression and outright duplicity from Russian nationalists is a clear reason why they are way below us on the moral scale. Europe would really be better off without intimidation and threats of losing Russia’s gas supplies by simply seeking other options. Look where the profits go: look at the predator that is at the top of this unpalatable, bile-inducing food chain: Putin.