A Sad Week for Europe

Dear Folks,

Well this week events in the Middle East, from an EU perspective, were overshadowed by the devastating air crash that occurred last Saturday, which saw the loss of 96 individuals who were due to attend the commemoration for the Katyn massacre. The loss of Poland’s president Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of other senior officials from the Polish government has gutted the country. It has come so far since the fall of Communism, and is by far the most promising new EU member state. How Poland will recover, and how the population will cope with the gravity of this loss, remains to be seen.

This week at the Parliament, there was a sombre display of the victims of the tragedy. It really haunted me to see the faces of 96 men and women, who all led busy and eventful lives, but in an instant, everything they were, simply vanished. It really is sobering and truly humbling. So much talent and brain power was wiped out. It was painful to watch the president of the Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, as he stood in the hemicycle, with the sound of Chopin’s “Funeral March” in the background. I could only imagine the sadness that he must be feeling.

In stark contrast to this tragic event, was the bizarre disruption to flights over northern Europe. Thousands, perhaps millions of people are currently affected by Iceland’s volcano Eyjafjallajokull, which is spewing out ash which is notorious for causing irreparable damage to aircraft engines. I can sympathize with the misery of travellers-I really can-however, I hope that all Europeans will now give a thought to the men and women who died last Saturday. They cannot come back, and we owe it to them, to remember what things are truly important in life.

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