Yesterday, we welcomed the first forty victims of the brutally taken down flight MH17. Victims from all over the world. Today, we welcome seventy-four more victims. And there are more. We want them to come home. Wherever in the world their home may be. They need to be where they belong. With their loved ones. There is one word that comes to my mind, witnessing the responses to the horrifying event, and it is 'grace'. We welcome them silently. We are muted by grief. It is unbelievably gruesome how loud silence shrieks.
Yesterday, the whole world witnessed our bereavement and pain. On international television stations. And in my opinion, these stations have reported this horrible, but also binding day, with great respect. And I thank them for it. As also my fellow Dutch citizens showed exactly that. Respect. And grace. We welcomed the victims, from whichever country they are from, with grace. And love. And a vulnerable, open, wounded heart. We created a long ribbon. We were the ribbon. At Eindhoven Airport, on highways, on bridges, in Hilversum. And in our hearts, behind television sets. Wherever we were, alone or in company, in the Netherlands or anywhere else, we were one. We are one.
Since the 17th of July, I have been feeling (and still feel) a very deep bereavement for the loss of these precious lives. Intense anger, because their remains have been treated so disrespectfully at the crash site. And we have waited incredibly long until we got 'permission' to take them home. Shock, because there does not seem to be any remorse. Loss. Pain. And also, togetherness. For our country, other countries who have lost citizens and all other countries who have witnessed the horrifying event, are grieving together.
Some newspapers have expressed the Dutch sense of bereavement a tiny bit judgmental. As being 'mild'. Because we are not weeping and screaming on streets. This response by newspapers is incredibly painful to read. Because it simply is not true. We have been wounded in our core. We feel that thousands of lives have been demolished. All those people who have to figure out how they are going to lead the rest of their lives without their children, parents, lovers, family members, collegues, friends, neighbours.
Journalist Laura Klompenhouwer wrote an excellent piece in The Guardian. I strongly recommend reading it. It describes the way the Dutch express ourselves. And no, we are not cold hearted. Far from it. Please, read Laura's article: 'MH17: don’t judge Dutch people’s grief after this unspeakable crime'.
Wikipedia describes the word 'grace' as follows: 'the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it'. If love and mercy is what the newspapers mean by using the word 'mild', I'll take it. If they mean anything else, I suggest they think - and feel - again.
We are muted by grief. It is unbelievably gruesome how loud silence shrieks.
I know that feeling. I described it in 'So, you're an orphan now'. To illustrate what it's like the be aware of the fact that you have lost your mother (and/or father or other loved one, I include a fragment of one book page in this blogpost.