For years now I’ve been willfully ignorant of media news and so miss most of what’s happening outside my little life. Bob and I have not watched television in our home since 1997 and we’ve not had a newspaper subscription for nearly as many years.
Bob is pretty good about staying on top of the news via the Internets but me, not so much. Despite adding news feeds from the New York Times and the BBC to my browser home page and listening to NPR during my dashes around town in Christine, I’m woefully uninformed. When I ask him what’s new in the news, he usually says “The world situation is desperate as usual” and we shake our heads.
Yesterday Bob uncharacteristically asked if I’d seen the story about the commercial airline flight that was shot out of the sky over the Ukraine so I took notice. Within a few minutes of browsing I learned about the 298 dead passengers and how surely this was not an accident and probably not done with a shoulder gun at 33,000 feet.
There was speculation that Russia had supplied the surface-to-air missiles and that perhaps Malaysian flight 17 had been mistaken for a military plane. Regardless of whether it was a mistake or not, there was no mistaking the horror and the outrage.
World leaders immediately began issuing bold statements. Most notably, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for an international inquiry into the crash, saying “We ask all respective governments to support the Ukrainian government to bring to justice all these bastards who committed this international crime.”
This morning there was more. There is still limited access to the site, and there are rumors of plundering and suspicion of rebel tinkering with the evidence while civilian bodies lay bloating in the sun. Having been on several international flights just last month it was easy to imagine what it would be like to get shot out of the sky. And yet luckily, the worst that had happened to us was the disappearance of Bob’s suitcase and two hours spent sitting in a motionless plane in Milan waiting for clearance to fly over France because of an air traffic controller’s strike.
Add the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 story to the recent news about rockets raining down on Israeli cities and new violence and instability in Iraq and it would seem that all hell is breaking loose. I looked up from my computer and no matter how I tried I couldn’t think of something witty to say. There is no bright side to people killing each other over resources just as they have done since the dawn of time.
And so, what else is there to say? These global tragedies are so much bigger than me that I feel helpless. I feel terrible that history is determined to repeat itself and that there is so much suffering in the world. I can’t imagine why anyone manages to be optimistic about the future of the human species and I can only take small comfort in the knowledge that, for the moment, I am far from harm.