MH17 & Dutch Pragmatism

It’s shocking news about the loss of flight MH17. All the more so because 298 civilians appear to have been killed in a conflict that has nothing whatsoever to do with them. And all because some trigger-happy Ukrainian rebels, armed by the Russians with surface-to-air missiles, appear to have mistaken a passenger airliner, flying above 32,000 feet on an established route over Ukrainian air-space, for a Ukrainian military transport plane.

It’s a route and flight that was well-known to me during my last years working for Shell. We were setting up a data centre in Kuala Lumpur, and many of my colleagues, of many nationalities, would be travelling back and forth between Shell’s head office in The Hague and KL. I myself flew that route on a couple of occasions. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that at least one Shell employee, working in IT, was on that flight.

This article in today’s Guardian points up the phenomenon of Dutch pragmatism. Dutch passengers checking in at Schiphol today seem to be of the opinion that the downing of flight MH17 was an isolated incident, and unlikely to happen ever again. They are right, but that’s probably of little comfort to those who have lost family, friends or colleagues in this tragic event.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in News and politics, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to MH17 & Dutch Pragmatism

  1. Matt Healy says:

    This awful tragedy hit my world — Virology research — particularly hard because some of those on that jet were on their way to a major AIDS conference in Australia.

    Click to access 0_IAS_Malaysian_Airlines_flight_17_Update_16_45.pdf

    I’m not sure whether anybody I personally know was among them; the US researchers I know who are going to that meeting would probably not be going there via Amsterdam. My wife’s take: “whoever did this is responsible not only for the hundreds on the airplane but also for the lives that might have been saved by the AIDS experts who have been lost.”

  2. Matt Healy says:

    PS: if I happened to be going to KL next week, I’d not hesitate to take a Malaysian Airlines jet if they happened to offer the fare and schedule that best met my needs. I flew Аэрофлот back when there was a Soviet Union; surely an MH flight today would be a lot safer than those Аэрофлот planes — to say nothing of taxicabs in KL…

  3. Matt Healy says:

    A journalist finds pieces of evidence not found by the official investigators:

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Yes, this story came out a month ago here in the Netherlands. It seems pretty damning when coupled with photos showing the rocket’s contrail, and audio recordings between the separatists and their Russian minders that first congratulate themselves over the downing of a Ukranian military transport plane, and then when it dawns on them that it wasn’t military, scrambling to get the BUK launcher back across the border into Russia.

      • Matt Healy says:

        A few hours before the shooting, Associated Press reporters in rebel-held territory not far from where that plane came down were prevented from photographing a missile launcher by a guy speaking with a distinct Russian accent.

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