As you might know, I’m on a roadtrip in the US right now. The day after we arrived in Denver, the news about MH17 broke, and in the following days, it became clear the majority of victims were Dutch,
Of course I’m touched and saddened by this needless loss of life. Luckily, no one my family knows was on board, though that doesn’t make it any less of a tragedy.
Since we’re on the road almost the entire day and are not at home right now, it’s hard to get an idea of what the mood is like in the Netherlands. We’re trying to follow the news as best we can, but we ‘re not seeing any of the Dutch news reports.
Apparently, they must be something fierce because they have managed to turn friends I thought were smart and balanced into people screaming for war and posting on ministers’ fb pages demanding an armed intervention.
It really saddens me to see so many friends turn into raging idiots so easily. I understand they’re angry and upset about what happened, as i am, but I think not being exposed to media 24/7 right now enables me to look at all this from a distance and analyze it more rationally (as far as that’s even possible in this situation).
Also, this is one of those situations that makes being a historian more of a curse than a blessing. From similar incidents in the past, I know it’s very unlikely we’ll ever get the full truth about what happened. Maybe in 50 or 70 years when secret service reports about this get declassified, we’ll get a better picture of what happened and who’s to blame.
I understand people feel hurt and want to have someone to blame so they can punish them and ‘avenge’ the victims, it’s really no use jumping to conclusions and demanding war. Do you honestly want this to turn into a fullblown war between the West and Russia and its allies? Because I certainly don’t. I’m not saying I don’t want justice for the victims and their families, we just need to keep calm, however hard that may be, and let the diplomats do their job. War in Ukraine/with Russia is not going to help the investigation into what happened at all.
I’m sorry this became such a longwinded post, but this has been bithering me for some days and going on fb to check up on my friends has become a daily round of frustratin because each day, more of them seem to have turned into people I hardly recognise.