On Sunday morning, the Russian Defence Ministry’s Tu-154 plane crashed in the Black Sea that was heading from Moscow to Syria. The plane was carrying 92 people, among them 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, nine journalists, eight crew members, and two civil servants.
The loss of life disarms us and throws whole nations into heartbreak. Russia often faces criticism in the media, most recently because of the Olympic doping scandal and her involvement in Syria, but the stigma surrounding the whole nation in the world of politics seems to have waned. Politics does not define people; people define people. We can often be bundled together and generalisations can be made about how any person will act in a given situation, but when push comes to shove human sincerity trumps expectation.
Tragedy is a common woe that envelops us in a blanket of unified mourning. People from all walks of life gather together in solidarity and pay respects to the lost lives of innocents. We enter into a bubble of empathy and the beauty of looking past preconceptions opens up within us. Suddenly, it’s not a case of placing blame or imagining an elaborate web of conspiracy theories. It’s a case of coming together and recognising that those who have died have been cruelly stolen from this world through no fault of their own. It’s a case of connecting with our human roots and seeing a level of sameness among all of us; look past nationality, faith, sexual orientation and all other factors that can divide us and see a person just like you or me. It’s a case of knowing that the ones affected by the loss are not so much the deceased but the people left behind – the families left sonless, daughterless, motherless, fatherless.
Outside the Russian Embassy in London lies a row of bouquets, cards, and candles all showing the humanity within us that can hide from time to time but occasionally makes itself known. The letters express sorrow in every language, Russian, English, and Serbian just to name a few. In one, the anonymous writer expresses the sentiment that words are inadequate to convey the magnitude of the loss. Their sincerest condolences are with those affected. The Russian Embassy expressed gratitude on Twitter saying: ‘Thank you for your support and solidarity over the tragic death of people in #TU154 flight. We sincerely appreciate it.’
The recent tragedy is just one example of people coming together to pay their respects. Seeing all the horror that tarnishes our world every day in the news is a haunting obligation. We feel that we have to keep up with the news every second, and yet what we see in said media mostly paints a harrowing image. The influx of televised terror can make it difficult to see the best in people, but when acts of kindness emerge not just in the nation affected, but globally, our heartfelt nature comes forth and restores faith in humanity one kind act at a time.