For the sake of life and it’s vulnerability itself

Op reis in Amerika, gedachten aan de slachtoffers van MH17, Nederland en de internationale orde. Verwoord in een brief die ik heb gestuurd aan mijn veelal Amerikaanse tochtgenoten van de LA-Boston fietstocht in 2013.


I kind of felt the urge to write this and share my feelings with you. Maybe because I am travelling in the States again, maybe because I’m pondering about entwined fates. I guess both reasons apply.

Steve Hogarth, lead singer of my favourite band Marillion wrote a beautiful lyric about a visit to Montreal. This song starts with the line: “200 fates entwined inside a plane.”

Last Thursday the entwined fates of about 300 innocent souls were sealed by a missile hitting the wrong plane. These last words are way too factual to describe a terrible reality, but I think this reality cannot be described with any words in any language.

Amongst these souls a leading AIDS scientist, a Dutch senator, honoured member of my political party and as I learned just before I boarded my plane, a girl from my improv theatre association. And many, many more loving, talented, good people.

Their demise, which is beyond tragic, shows us with a grim twist of irony that all our fates are entwined. Globally.

As it appears, a mistake of a Ukrainian separatist -I type these words with utter horror- has global consequences. The crash of a plane from Amsterdam immediately calls to action the President of the US and other world leaders and I am glad they do come to action. Yet when I see the images on CNN during a breakfast far away from home it sends shivers down my spine to realise that in that very crash a girl I once shared a stage with deceased.

I know, the troubles in the world only strike you when they come close to your (virtual) doorstep. I plead guilty immediately. And yes it made me realise how entwined we are.

We shared our fates during 3400 epic miles. The wind in our hairs, the hurting legs, the tears, the laughter. And we got on with our lives afterwards. But we’re still entwined by invisible threads fate has woven for us. And I am glad for that.

The crash of MH17, the situation in Gaza make me long for peace more than ever. What a mad, mad world it is. I know quite a few of you served or serve in the military. Peter van Uhm, a former Dutch chief of staff, taught us that he chose to use his gun as an instrument to achieve and defend peace and freedom. He stuck to that choice even when his own son was killed in action.

We live in a global village. I hope there are enough wise people in that village choosing to use their instruments, whether it is a gun, a pen, a plough, a scalpel, a textbook or heck even a bike to achieve peace. I know you guys are.

Entwined as we are, let’s carry on with our lives. For the sake of life and it’s vulnerability itself. As Jim taught me, it’s the experiences that last. I’m in the States for a holiday to fill my book with a few more memorable experiences. As trivial as it may sound these days.

Bless you.



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