“Reward MH370”: We need to have faith in those who govern

But attacking the relatives of the lost is inexcusable  

Share

Sadly, I’ve lost many loved ones over the years, attending more funerals than weddings and christenings put together. As I result, I’m better versed than many on the inexorable cycle of grief, and the rocky road that is the healing process. I would never be so arrogant as to say I know how to deal with it better, but I am more familiar with the journey and its concurrent emotions - and only because of direct, painful experience.

Touch wood, however, I’ve never lost anyone truly close to me in mysterious circumstances, so I cannot know how that must feel. I cannot know therefore how bewildered the desperate families of missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 must be to set up a crowd-sourced whistle-blower fund, “Reward MH370”, in the hopeful belief that someone, somewhere must know what happened to the jet that went missing two months’ ago with 239 people on board.

Nor, can I know the overwhelming terror, guilt, worry and helplessness that Gerry and Kate McCann must endure daily as they continue to search for answers regarding the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine, seven years ago. As the police dig in Praia de Luz, and stories fly around the possibility of “interviewing”three people, these events pass for “latest developments”, whereas in truth there have been no meaningful developments since that infamous May night.

I have also – luckily – never had to deal with a child or other loved one being known to have been kidnapped, taken or otherwise held, apparently against their will, an occurrence rare even that the two preceding cases. Could you or I accurately and meaningfully put ourselves therefore in the shoes of Robert Bergdahl, the father of Bowe, the US soldier released in a prisoner swap with the Taliban after five years in captivity. Yes, the one who grew a beard and learned Pashto, and who is being destroyed for it in the American media.

Bergdahl senior has now received at least four death threats as rumours swirl about the nature of both Bowe’s capture and subsequent release. Was Bowe a deserter? Did he ‘go native’ or ‘turn’ like Sgt Brody in Homeland? Whatever the truth, was his release worth trading five Guantanamo terrorist suspects for?

We can all debate that one safely, freely and dispassionately. Just as some of us can “tut” over the supposed “waste” of time and resources in continuing the hunt for Madeleine McCann, and criticize her parents as “delusional”. The same charge of course is being levelled – at least in private – at the MH370 relatives, whose belief in a cover-up has already won its place in some people’s great conspiracies list alongside 9/11 and the JFK assassination.

So, I don’t know how I would feel in any of those situations because I have never been exposed to them. Except, that is, in one regard. If I was a relative of a missing passenger, if I were the parent of a long-lost child or if my son or daughter had been held captive, I would want the authorities to move heaven and earth and more to find out whatever the hell had happened and act to find them and bring them home. That much I know. That much I know that any of you would feel too if it was your child, husband, wife, parent, sibling or other relative.

In these moments we need to have faith in those who govern though. So, yes, it does matter what Obama traded in return for Bowe; what the Portuguese and British police forces did or did not do in time, and what the Malaysian government does and does not know about that plane’s disappearance. But, attacking the relatives? Where is our humanity? Heaven forbid it should happen to you.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn arrives to take part in a Labour party leadership final debate, at the Sage in Gateshead, England, Thursday, Sept. 3  

Jeremy Corbyn is here to stay and the Labour Party is never going to look the same again

Andrew Grice
Serena Williams  

As Stella Creasy and Serena Williams know, a woman's achievements are still judged on appearance

Holly Baxter
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones