Friday, July 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: This Time it's Over Land


(From Reuters, used w/o permission)
("Debris is pictured at the site of Thursday's Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, near the village of Grabovo in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014."
(Reuters))

The good news is that nobody, as far as I have heard, is claiming what happened to Malaysia Airlines MH17 as a glorious victory or heroic act. Remarkably, the outfits most likely to have shot another airliner out of the sky are saying 'it wasn't us.'

They may be right.

Killing nearly three hundred folks whose greatest offense seems to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time isn't good public relations. Not these days.

People, 'Important' and Otherwise



(From Valentyn Ogirenko, via Reuters, used w/o permission.)
"People light candles at the Dutch embassy for victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine, in Kiev July 17, 2014"
(Reuters))

More than half of the folks killed yesterday lived in the Netherlands. That's no surprise, since they were traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

At least one body went through someone's roof, but happily nobody on the ground was killed: as far as I have heard. Folks working for Malaysia Airlines and the various governments involved are probably still trying to sort out who was actually on the flight. So far, it looks like folks from 11 countries won't be going home. Not alive, anyway:
  • Dutch: 189
  • Malaysian: 44
    • Including 15 crew, 2 infants)
  • Australian: 27
  • Indonesian: 12
    • Including 1 infant
  • United Kingdom: 9
  • Belgium: 4
  • Germany: 4
  • Philippines: 3
  • New Zealand: 1
  • Canadian: 1
  • American: 1
    (Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times (July 17, 2014))
News coverage, understandably, concentrates on what folks with titles are saying: and on the "important" folks who stopped living yesterday. I found one news service that gave a list of the folks who have been tentatively identified as being on MH17. Instead of breaking out the names by country, as they did, I've put the names in alphabetical order, by 'first name.' The article didn't give names for some of the children:
  • Ahmad Hakimi Bin Hanapi
  • Albert Rizk
  • Ali Md Salim
  • Andrei Anghel
  • Angeline Premila Rajandaran
  • Azrina Binti Yakob
  • Ben Pocock
  • Bujanto Gunawan
  • Cameron Dalziel
  • Chong Yee Pheng
  • Darryl Dwight Gunawan
  • Dora Shamila Binti Kassim
  • Elaine Teoh
  • Emiel Mahler
  • Eugene Choo Jin Leong
  • Frankie Davison
  • Glenn Thomas
  • Hamfazlin Sham Binti Mohamed Arifin
  • Irene Gunawan
  • Jill Guard
  • Joep Lange
  • John Alder
  • Jolette Nuesink
  • Karlijn Keijzer
  • Lee Hui Pin
  • Liam Davison
  • Liam Sweeney
  • Liliane Derden
  • Lucie van Mens
  • Maree Rizk
  • Martine de Schutter
  • Mastura Binti Mustafa
  • Mohd Ghafar Bin Abu Bakar
  • Muhamad Firdaus Bin Abdul Rahim
  • Nick Norris
    • Grandchild Evie
    • Grandchild Mo
    • Grandchild Otis
  • Peter Nuesink
    • Nuesink child
    • Nuesink child
  • Pim de Kuijer
  • Puan Sri Siti Amirah
  • Quinn Lucas Schansman
  • Richard Mayne
  • Roger Guard
  • Sanjid Singh Sandhu
  • Shaikh Mohd Noor Bin Mahmood
  • Shazana Salleh
  • Sherryl Shania Gunawa
  • Sister Philomene Tiernan
  • Wan Amran Bin Wan Hussin
  • Willem Witteveen
    (Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times (July 17, 2014))
By any reasonable standard, this is a very sad situation for many families.

Now, some 'big picture' stuff.

World Leaders, Families, and Today's World


"World leaders demand answers after airliner downed over Ukraine with 298 dead"
Anton Zverev, Reuters (July 18, 2014)

"U.S. President Barack Obama demanded Russia stop supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine after the downing of a Malaysian airline by a surface-to-air missile he said was fired from rebel territory raised the prospect of more sanctions on Moscow.

"At least one American was among the almost 300 killed, he said, a revelation that raises the stakes in a pivotal incident in deteriorating relations between Russia and the West....

"...But, noting the global impact of the crash, with victims from 11 countries across four continents, he said the stakes were high for Europe, a clear call for it to follow the more robust sanctions on Russia already imposed by Washington.

"Russia, whom Obama said was letting the rebels bring in weapons, has expressed anger at implications it was to blame, saying people should not prejudge the outcome of the inquiry.

"There were no survivors from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, a Boeing 777. The United Nations said 80 of the 298 aboard were children. The deadliest attack on a commercial airliner, it scattered bodies over miles of rebel-held territory near the border with Russia...."
As far as I can tell: some folks in Ukraine who were doing well in their 'good old days' want to get back in power; at least some Russian leaders want Ukraine back in Russian hands; and quite a few Ukrainians want to run their own country.

I'm inclined to sympathize with my counterparts in Ukraine: 'unimportant' folks who want to raise their families; vote in elections that aren't rigged; and live without having their 'betters' deciding what they should buy, and who they should deal with.

The situation in Ukraine is not simple. Folks have been living there for nearly three dozen millennia. About a thousand years back, from the time of Володимѣръ Свѧтославичь to Ярослав Мудрий's death, descendants of the Væringjar ruled the most powerful state in Europe. Things went downhill after that, and that's another topic.

The point is that, after tens of thousands of years: Ukraine has a rich cultural, economic, political, and religious heritage: and no shortage of soreheads, in which respect they resemble people everywhere.

There's a lively blame game going on, but all I can be sure of today is that nearly three hundred people are dead.

I think it's possible, perhaps even likely, that this massive tragedy was an accident of sorts. Some trigger-happy fool or paranoid field commander may have mistaken the airliner for something else: a guided missile, flock of birds, whatever.

I don't know what happened. Ukrainians may lose their country — again. And a whole lot of families are mourning.

I do know that this isn't the world I grew up in. In some ways, it's better. We still have petty tyrants, clueless leaders, a scattering of wise people, and the usual assortment of oddballs. But I think many folks have realized that John Donne was right: we're all connected, part of humanity.

The Other Malaysia Airlines Disaster



(From BBC News, used w/o permission.)
"Missing Malaysia plane: What we know"
BBC News (June 26, 2014)

"Mystery continues to surround the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March.
"Investigators have identified a new search area 1,800km (1,100 miles) off the west coast of Australia, covering an area of some 60,000 sq km.

"The latest zone is some 1,000km south west of the area which was extensively searched with underwater surveying equipment in April.

"Work will resume in August and take up to a year to complete.

"Malaysian authorities, assisted by international aviation and satellite experts, are continuing their attempts to piece together the plane's final hours and explain what happened to its 239 passengers and crew. Some preliminary details were released on 1 May in a short report...."
Today's information technology isn't universally loved, putting it mildly. Some folks I know complain about social media: in, ironically, social media. I like living in the Information Age, because today's tech helps me find nuggets of wisdom in the mountains of gibberish.

Folks can still get 'lost without a trace,' but many aircraft now 'talk' to satellites and ground stations: independently of the human pilots: giving technophobes something to fear, and searchers something to work with.

These "handshakes" give searchers more information about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 than they'd have had in my 'good old days.'

That globe, from BBC News, shows several "handshakes." The last full handshake happened at 08:11. (0:11 GMT) An event recorded a few minutes later, at 8:19, may have been a partial handshake: a request from the aircraft to log on. That request may have happened while the airliner's communications system was rebooting.

Eventually, airlines and global traffic control systems may keep lines of communications open throughout a flight: giving an airliner's avionics a chance to ask for help, if something happens to the humans on board. And that's another topic.

Related posts:
In the news:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

National September 11 Memorial Museum Opens: Some Folks Aren't Happy




(From the National September 11 Memorial Museum website, used w/o permission.)

I doubt that I will ever see the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York City. I live about a thousand miles west of the city, and don't travel much.

At least part of the museum and memorial open today. As usual, some folks think it's a good idea: some don't.
"National September 11 Memorial Museum opens in New York"
Anna Bressanin, BBC News (May 15, 2014)

"The National September 11 Memorial Museum tells the stories of the more than 2,700 people who died in the city when jet aeroplanes hijacked by Islamist terrorist destroyed the World Trade Center.

"It also tells of those who survived, and of how the world has changed since the attack...."
The bulk of that article is a video.

Unidentified Human Remains


(From Reuters, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
"Fire trucks and police cars carried the remains to the repository in downtown Manhattan"
"Unidentified 9/11 remains returned to 'Ground Zero' "
BBC News (May 10, 2014)

"Thousands of unidentified remains from the 9/11 attacks have been returned to 'Ground Zero' in a solemn ceremony.

"Fifteen vehicles took the remains from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to a repository under the World Trade Center site....

"...The 11 September 2001 attacks killed almost 3,000 people in New York, the Washington DC area and Pennsylvania.

"The remains consist of 7,930 fragments of human tissue that could not be identified by forensic teams.

"They were placed in metallic boxes, covered in the American flag and taken in a convoy comprising fire trucks and police vehicles to the site of the attacks in downtown Manhattan...."
Folks whose family members were killed in the 9/11 attack believe, for good reason, that some of the unidentified human remains belong to their loved ones. Some of these folks are upset about what's being done to these unidentifiable pieces of humanity. Apparently they believe that the remains should be buried in a more conventional cemetery.

I can see their point. My faith includes some well-defined principles about what should be done with human remains. Dignity and respect are two key points.

Happily, what happens to the unidentified 9/11 remains is not a personal issue for me. From my point of view, taking them to the 9/11 memorial and museum is somewhat comparable to placing the body of an unidentified soldier in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington.

I could quibble about its propriety: but am convinced that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, like the 9/11 Memorial, is a well-intentioned tribute to our dead.

In the news:
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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.