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The Word on the Week

Malaysian Airlines

The latest tragedy to hit Malaysian Airlines is the shooting down of their flight MH17 as it flew over Ukraine’s war zone on its way from the Netherlands to Malaysia. It was taking the direct route, perhaps to save fuel or simply following the normal flight path feeling safe at a height of 33,000 feet.

Travelling at a speed of between 500/600mph one thing is certain it was not a bullet from a Kalashnikov rifle that brought down the jet killing all 298 people on board. It is much more likely to have been a guided missile from the Buk system which the rebels have obtained from Russia presumably to continue their practice of shooting down planes from the Pro-Western part of Ukraine.

If you give a child a loaded weapon it is unlikely that he will be able to resist using it. In the same way the rebels with their new rocket system may have not been able to resist trying it out on the commercial airliner when it appeared in their airspace. There is also the report of a Ukrainian transport plane flying in the area and it may have been the original target.

The wreckage has fallen in rebel held territory and reports confirm that they have secured the two black boxes. I would think the chances of them being sent to Malaysia are slim!

Whilst all the world powers have had something to say about the tragedy Russia’s Putin blaming Western Ukraine “as they had resumed fighting against the separatists” is particularly myopic!

Of all the soft targets that the rebels could find this must be the softest. The Boeing 777 did not stand a chance. Once the rocket locked on to it there was only going to be one result. The bodies and the wreckage were strewn over several kilometres.

Christians know what is like to be a “soft target” in many countries today. Take the case of Asia Bibi in Pakistan. More than four years ago she was the victim of persecution by some Muslim women who wanted her to confess the prophet Muhammad. Instead she asked them what had their prophet done for them – she said Jesus, her saviour, had died for her.

This unanswerable question landed her in Jail for blasphemy, convicted by the Lower Court in 2010 and now awaiting the result of her appeal to the Lahore High Court. The appeal has been postponed four times by judges who seem to have come under pressure from Islam extremists and would prefer not to get involved.

Meanwhile Asia languishes in death row in wretched conditions in Multan rather that renounce her faith. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James Chapter 1 verse 12.