On the day the victims of the murderous disaster with Malaysia Airlines MH17 were brought home from Ukraine, this Dutch windmill turned its blades into the mourning position and flew the flag half mast...

I had flown MH17 quite a lot. It was Malaysia Airlines MH17 or KLM KL809: the only two direct flights between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur. Depending on the price it would be either one, but I preferred MH17 because of its arrival time. Arriving at six in the morning is easier on the jet lag, compared to the KLM flight, which arrived at three in the afternoon.

When MH17 was shot down I already had a booked ticket to Kuala Lumpur for the next week: KL809.

I do remember reading the news, that 17th of July in 2014, eight years ago. I sat frozen for a while, trying to digest the horror of all those people dying, thinking the cliché: this can't be happening. But then also, perhaps somewhat selfish: it was close to my own departure date... I could have been on that flight, as I had booked MH17 so many times before...

I'm morbid enough to realize something can go wrong when I board any airplane, but who's gonna expect a bunch of Russians being so stupid? And then for years denying it, until today, which really infuriates me; trying to blame Ukraine and coming up with all kinds of ridiculous scenarios, when it was so obvious what had happened. Ah well, let's face it... MH17 and the way Russia handled it is just one 'incident' in a long list of horrors perpetrated by Putin and his cronies. They're still at it at the time of writing, waging war on Ukraine. Regarding MH17: they never cared and they never took responsibility.

On the one hand I was glad I flew KLM the next week. On the other hand I felt sorry for not flying the successor of MH17 (Malaysia Airlines kept flying daily, but changed the flightnumber to MH19... MH17 would never fly again), supporting that battered airline that already had lost MH370 earlier that year. Malaysia Airlines ceased operations for passenger flights on Amsterdam soon after.

It's been eight years now. Currently the case is in the courts, to determine the guilt of a few indicted Russians. But of course, for the relatives and friends of those who died, it's those denials of Russia that cut deepest.

I remember seeing the windmill a few days later, when the Dutch victims were finally brought home - in a long line of black hearses from the airport where they were being flown in - and feeling at least a bit proud of the Dutch reaction: in silence and with dignity.

And then we proved who did it.

Leica M9 with Leica Macro Elmar 90mm f/4.0

The Netherlands - 23 July 2014