This is my piece (after being edited and upgraded by Bernama), written and published on Bernama website on the the very day Malaysia was shocked and saddened brutal, inhumane action by yet to be identified party (my mind keeps telling me that the storyline was wonderfully charted and executed by the USA).
Since it has been archived, you may not be able to read it online. Thus lay it here.
AFTER MH370, MH17 PUTS MALAYSIA TO TEST
KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 (Bernama) — As Malaysians are still trying to come to
terms with the fate of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that went missing just
over four months ago, on late Thursday they were once again jolted by another
tragedy involving the airline.
And Malaysia and Malaysians were once again put to test when it was
confirmed that Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
with 298 people on board had been shot down over conflict-torn Ukraine.
If the analysis based right from the initial reaction shown through blogs,
tweets and Facebook is anything to go by, Malaysians were definitely shocked and
distressed over the latest tragedy.
MALAYSIANS DON’T WANT TO SEE ANOTHER DISASTER
As the this writer flipped through the updates on Facebook late Thursday, a
link Malaysian Airlines (MAS) MH17 crashes in Ukraine appeared. This writer
could not believe it and chose to ignore it as a spam, linked to some malware
However when a respected aviation blogger, Azuan Ahmad Zahdi
(www.azuanzahdi.com) tweeted ‘Please don’t let this be true,’ sometime near
midnight, this writer’s heart started to pound fast, sensing the earlier link
may be genuine.
And the reality descended on this writer when Malaysian Airline s tweet
‘Malaysia Airlines has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known
position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow appeared.’
And it turned more dramatic when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak
tweeted ‘I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an
immediate investigation ‘. The heart sank further realising this was no rumour.
It was most heartbreaking when at 4.30 a.m the prime minister announced at a
press conference at the Sama-sama Hotel in Sepang what no Malaysians wanted to
hear – flight MH17 had crashed in a area near the eastern town of Torez, near
the Russia-Ukraine border controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
And once again Malaysia is on the news for the wrong reasons.
From writer s observation, during the early hours after the news started to
spread in the Malaysian media, many started to pray for a miracle or were hoping
that the news was just a rumor.
Facebook icon William Cheah posted ‘Keep calm. Keep speculations at the
barest minimum. Keep your mouth shut if you have nothing good to say. Stay
united and hope for the best. Most of all, pray for MH17’ sometime near
midnight. The post received 490 Like and was shared by 62 other users.
Another Facebook icon, Saiful Nang took a different approach. He changed his
cover photo to a banner showing moral support for MAS.
The banner said ‘Although there are few of your planes never arrived, I know
you are the victim. Don t worry, I will still fly Malaysia Airlines with hash
tag #ItCanHappenToAnyPlane and #AlFatihahMH17.’
This banner has received 3,211 Likes and shared 182 times.
Shortly after the first report by Interfax, a Russian non-governmental news
agency, the news on MH17 went viral on various social media platforms.
Official and unofficial news were shared, pictures of the scene, some of
them extremely graphic were retweeted and reposted unfiltered and
unverified. Not long after that, the video of the crash site and the flight
manifest flashed across the globe.
In a blink of an eye, #MH17 and #PrayForMH17 were top trending on Twitter,
Facebook and Instagram.
Also, MAS and Malaysia became the key words for almost all media
organisations. Be it CNN, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, Al Jazeera or
the Twitter account of leading journalists like Thomas Erdbrink and Ellen Barry
and Michael Weiss, as well as airline crash expert like George Hatcher Sr.
AGAIN MANY QUESTIONED THE PLANE’S ROUTE
Some Malaysians were not happy that the plane took a dangerous flight route
over the crisis stricken area in the first place.
“If the plane had taken a different path, unnecessary lost of life could
have been avoided,” said logistics executive, Abd Roni Awang, 36.
This was answered by Najib in his press statement, that the flight route
taken was the usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International
Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Also, International Air Transportation Association (IATA) stated that the
airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.
A tweet by Flightradar.com, an online flight tracker also showed that there
were two other planes nearby MH17 when it disappeared from radar – Singapore
Airlines SQ351 (Boeing 777) and Air India AI113 (Boeing 787).
Another tweet condemned some airlines that lied to their customers about
flying over Ukraine when data showed their planes have been tracked over the
country as late as yesterday.
In the country’s hour of need, world leaders shared their sympathies with
Najib as soon as the news appeared in the media, almost all of them were equally
shocked to hear this tragic news and expressed support for Malaysia.
Among them, United States President Barrack Obama, Singapore Prime Minister
Lee Hsien Loong, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dutch Prime Minister Mark
Rutte, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon too expressed his condolences,
calling for full investigation into the tragedy.
Both Putin and Poroshenko vowed to give their fullest cooperation to
Malaysia in investigating the incident. Kiev has established a State Commission
to investigate the crash while Moscow asked Kiev on Thursday for permission to
help with rescue work.
Meanwhile, Obama in his telephone conversation with Najib said that the
investigation had to be conducted in a transparent manner.
In an official statement, The White House urged all concerned parties,
Russia, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine to support immediate ceasefire
to ensure safe and seamless access to the crash site for international
investigators and facilitate the recovery of the remains.
May they all rest in peace.
July 18, 2014