OPINION: Take comfort in reasoned voices
COMMENT BY BILL HOFFMAN: IF YOU can, for a moment, shut out the shrill discourse - the strong plans for bright futures, the dire warnings of national financial collapse - that is meant to pass as communication between leaders and people. It is possible to hear voices reassuring of our basic humanity.
Politicians too often treat people as fools and pander to perceptions of bigotry and ignorance, and in doing so drive many away from discussion that should involve thoughtful consideration.
The Ryder and Van der Mooren family, who lost Arjen and Yvonne Ryder on flight MH17, issued a statement on Monday after the pair was positively identified.
"We thank the Australian Federal Police and other forensic personnel in Europe for their prompt and professional handling of the identification process. We know how difficult the process has been with limited access to the crash site and potential disturbance and removal of evidence. We also thank the Australian government, in particular the Prime Minister, Governor General, Foreign Minister and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade liaison officer for their continuous support."
The families also extended thanks to an embattled Malaysia Airlines for its "support and professionalism through this crisis".
"Despite the high personal price paid by some of their staff members and the enormous pressure on their business, they have gone above and beyond in supporting us as a family as we go through the grieving process," the statement said. "Finally, we reiterate our message of grace and forgiveness in these trying times. We are not seeking retribution against those responsible for this tragedy. Our prayer is for peace in Ukraine through contrite hearts and minds, not rhetoric which incites more violence. We will continue to pray for reconciliation in the Ukraine-Russia conflict."
Similar thoughts, free of sabre rattling and demands for revenge, have been voiced by other families of victims of the tragedy.
Closer to home last Sunday, Paul Powell, a fabulous surfer, horticulturist and much-loved member of the Mudjimba community who died on Mount Coolum of a heart attack two Fridays ago, was farewelled in a simple ceremony in Power Park.
His mother's first words though were not about her son, but for those strangers who had noticed his distress, come to his aid and worked so hard to save him.
Those who were involved should know that their response and their efforts and concern they showed for the 53-year-old father, son, teacher and mate deeply touched his family, who took comfort that despite his tragic and unexpected loss, Paul died in the outdoors he loved so much and in the company of good people.