Polish Planes and Russophobia
Most will have heard about the awful tragedy by now of the Polish airplane crash in Russia. The plane carrying the Polish president Lech Kaczynski and many of the country’s military and civilian leadership crashed en route to a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the Katyn massacre. All 96 passengers have been declared dead. The reason for the crash is simple – there was extremely dense fog around the Smolensk airport and despite warnings from the airport not to land, the Polish pilots attempted it anyway with horrific results. This is clearly a sad and awful event, no matter your nationality or political persuasion.
Yet, of course, this is an important opportunity for many across the globe to not only disgrace the lives of the dead, but insult the living. As I write this, I guarantee you there are endless litany of bloggers, journalists and other nitwits writing posts and articles about the “intrigue” surrounding a Polish plane crash in Russia. Idiotic lead-ins like “is it a coincidence?,” “history repeats itself..”, and “do we know all the circumstances surrounding the crash?” will be pulsating from keyboards in many different languages. In short, many will find it necessary to insinuate the Russian government (and/or people) wanted to decapitate the Polish government in one fell swoop or somehow this is the fault of the Russians.
To give an example of what I’m talking about trot on over to the BBC – one of Europe’s leading news outlets. The BBC informs us that “Monika Sidor” – a Polish citizen living in London “is concerned about future relations with Russia.” Ok, you think – fine, this could possibly strain relations – there is a historically strained relationship between the nations and this is an awful tragedy, so perhaps it will be difficult in many ways for the two of them to communicate about what has happened. But that’s not the route we’re going here. Sidor informs us, “We hear reports that the plane tried four times to land. So what kind of advice did the Russian air traffic control give the pilots? It doesn’t make sense. Remember, these are the best pilots in Poland.” Sidor, clearly an expert in all things air traffic related, thinks there is something awry with the story without knowing any of the actual details. By saying “it doesn’t make sense,” she’s insinuating that this tragedy is the fault of the Russians. In her world, good pilots never crash planes, because of say, awful weather conditions, therefore one should let the conspiracy rumors loose. Would Sidor make the same accusations if this plane had crashed in America? And why is the BBC publishing this on their website?
The point here is if you want to talk about strained relations between countries in some sort of reasonable way, then fine, but if you are going to use a tragedy and the deaths of others to lash out at a country and people you happen to hate, you not only don’t have respect for the Polish dead and the Russian people, you don’t have respect for yourself. The Russians didn’t bring down the plane. Get over it, grow up, and mourn the dead with respect.