Speaking up for the victims
WE ARE in the midst of two calamities - the crash of MH17 and the worsening plight of the Palestinians - which make this an even more tragic world.
News that another Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane was lost with 298 people on board gave Malaysians and, indeed, the world the combined feelings of shock, deja vu and grief.
The first natural reaction on hearing news of MH17's fate was "it can't be true". When the news was verified, it changed to: "Oh, no. Not again!"
And when reality sank in, the priorities changed to finding out what caused it and who was on board, and the feelings gave way to grief for those who perished and their families.
It really is both unbelievable and unfortunate that two catastrophes of such magnitude could have happened to MAS planes within such a short time.
What happened to MH370 and why may remain unsolved for quite some time.
The chances of knowing what happened to MH17 and who is responsible are much better.
It is really an outrage that a commercial flight with almost 300 innocent souls on board should fall victim to a conflict that none of them are a party to. Those responsible must be brought to justice as swiftly as possible.
But that will not be sufficient consolation for the families and friends of those who perished.
We are often told that flying by plane is much safer than driving a car, and I am sure that statistically that is true.
But the statistics of chances are of no comfort to those whose loved ones have been lost on MH370 and MH17.
The other current calamity is the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, after weeks of killing Palestinians and bombing their homes and infrastructure.
The Palestinians must be the most unfortunate and tragedy-laden people in the world, for whom it is said that "even God cried".
What is even more unfair and infuriating is how many Western leaders and many Western media outlets have been so courteous to Israel, making sure to preface their statements on the conflict by condemning the rockets fired by Palestinians at Israel, recognising the right of Israel to self-defence and asking both sides to have a ceasefire.
They fail to acknowledge, let alone condemn, the killing of Palestinians - most of them civilians, including children - by Israeli missiles and bombs that are supposed to be smart and accurate.
If they are indeed accurate, then the civilians are being deliberately targeted and it is a war crime. If not, then they are indiscriminate and thus irresponsible. In any case, this should never have been done.
People under colonialism, occupation and brutal aggression have always resisted.
This resistance is always portrayed as illegal and acts of terror by their oppressors, as colonial regimes have done to independence movements all over the world, and as the apartheid regime in South Africa did to the African National Congress led by Nelson Mandela.
Israel says its bombings are in retaliation for the rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel, which must be taken out. Those firing the rockets say it is a response to the Israeli bombings.
Whatever one's view of who started it all, the brutality of the bombings and such killing of civilians must be condemned.
Last week brought news of Palestinian families being killed in their homes in Gaza, and four Palestinian children being killed by bombs or missiles while playing at the beach.
Merely calling on Israel to be more careful to minimise civilian casualties is out of place. At least a condemnation is the bare minimum, and actions to stop further deadly attacks are needed.
Ending the occupation and siege of Palestine, and the effective establishment of an independent Palestine should be on top of the international agenda.
Failure to achieve these, and opposition to it, is the root cause of the conflict. Blaming the victims for resisting is doing double or manifold injustice to them.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK