You did well Najib. Now on to the next stage
The first hurdle is over yet more lies ahead in getting closure for the MH17 tragedy.
I admit to the fact that when Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down, and when fingers were pointed towards Russia and President Putin, I wanted our government to be aggressive too.
When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made his statement early on July 18, I was utterly disappointed that it turned out quite tame. He made a mere mention of Russia, the separatists in Donetsk and nothing more.
Other world leaders had been vocal and intimidating. In that immediate hour, Malaysia was in shock and in anger. Our country, which had no direct enemies anywhere in the world, had suffered an attack.
The attack happened in a region that is going through a violent conflict that we are not even remotely involved in. The situation was extremely complicated and geopolitics became the word of the day.
Ukraine, a country that has seen decades of turmoil ever since its separation from the former Soviet Union is facing a separatist crisis. Russia, which is the superpower of Europe's Eastern Block has vested interests in all the countries surrounding its borders.
I guess the bitterness of the fall of their empire is still evident.
Ukraine, on the other hand, has the backing of the Western Europe and the EU saw Russia encroaching as an inescapable threat. And what of the all-mighty United States of America?
Let's just say that their foreign policies are at times viewed to be one-sided. And just like its arch rival - Russia - the Cold War probably hasn’t ended in their eyes.
So, allow me to reiterate that geopolitics is the order of the day. It’s so complicated that I don't even have the strength and endurance to digest it all. It just gets worse especially when Malaysia gets violently sucked into it without any warning.
We lost innocent civilian lives and the nation is indeed, still in shock. And yet with the entire world so aggressively playing the blame game, pointing fingers and making threats, the actual priority was forgotten.
The priority was (and still is) the innocent victims and the innocent family and friends of the innocent victims. Their bodies were still at the crash site – their ‘dignity’ stripped off.
But in just a couple of days, Najib and his team was able to do what the EU, the US, the Dutch governments could not.
Malaysia managed to secure an agreement with the separatists to allow the handover of the bodies, the aircraft's black boxes as well as safe access of investigators to the crash site. No threats were made, no sanctions imposed and aggression was totally absent.
Although we are not privy to the details of the 'hush diplomacy' adopted by the government during the negotiations, it worked. Bodies of the victims are now being handled with the deserving respect. The identification process has begun and soon, those who have fallen will be laid to rest.
The government did what they had to do. By being calm, neutral, diplomatic, non-confrontational or accusational while no evidence was yet clear, Najib made the right move in this first stage. But there is more to be done.
The attack on flight MH17 is still that - an attack. And the perpetrators, whoever they are, still need to be found and justice needs to be served. The next stage may require our government to adopt a different strategy and approach.
It may be an approach that we are all, as Malaysians, may not be familiar or even comfortable with. But it still needs to be done. Our people were violently attacked, our country was obscenely violated. Humanity is facing a black period.