I can never forget that flight out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport in October 2009. This was not the first time that I was travelling out of Amsterdam and I had our young friend Sjoerd accompanying me. Sjoerd had stayed with us a year earlier and was like part of the family. I especially liked his fresh look at my life through his eyes and his interesting approach to everything new and unfamiliar and looked forward to spending the next eight hours in his company.
The hours went by soon enough and we were busy playing games on the small screen in front, watching movies, chit chatting and just catching up with news. Suddenly there was a bit of turbulence and Sjoerd and I like everyone on the plane felt our stomachs lurch.
“We’re over Afghanistan,” Sjoerd informed me as he was studying the flight path . ” Just imagine if a terrorist missile hits us we’re doomed! No one will ever find us.”
“Don’t be crazy,” I admonished him, ” How can rebel fighters have such sophisticated equipment?”
” Ya, ya, but you never know,” he said shrugging his shoulders and reassured me by adding ” Just joking!”
At that time I dismissed it as an over active imagination of a young lad whose artistic temperament made him more imaginative than most.
Nevertheless, I took out my book of prayers that I always carry when travelling and began muttering the mantras superfast all the while we were flying over Afghanistani air space. I can’t tell you how glad I was when we landed home safe and sound with the terrifying prospect of being shot down over Afghanistan blighting the last few hours of our journey.
Yesterday when I heard about the Malaysian Airways plane being shot down by a missile, I realised that Sjoerd’s comment in jest did come true! I can’t even begin to imagine the terror that gripped the passengers of the ill fated plane as they met their horrific end.