A beacon of reason amid the chaos

Have a look at this photo from the front page of Melbourne’s Herald Sun.

front_cover-Herald_sunIn all the chaos and reprehensible behaviour surrounding the shooting down of MH17 one figure stands out metaphorically as a symbol of efficiency, credibility and decency, although literally he is in the background – in the media coverage, anyway. It is Alexander Hug, Deputy Chief Monitor with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the person most likely to get some sort of closure for the grieving relatives of the lost ones. He is the one with his back to the camera, in the blue checked shirt. Around him, everyone is wearing masks or gripping their noses, struggling to cope with the stench of death. Hug isn’t wearing a mask, he is holding a camera, gathering information in a quiet and measured way.



The OSCE team led by Hug were initially denied access to the crash site, but have persevered each day and had a major success in negotiating the release of the bodies, which were being held as a bargaining chip. Towering over everyone, Hug has brought an air of calm and reason to the attempts to retrieve the bodies and investigate the crash. Being confronted on arrival by drunk, threatening separatist bogans, he said, in understatement, that they were “impolite and unprofessional”. These thugs were part of the same forces he had recently negotiated with for the release of two teams of his monitors who had been held hostage in Ukraine for more than a month. Definitely not work for the faint-hearted. Alexander Hug and his team present not only the voice of reason, courage and integrity amid the inept political squawking and posturing, they are also most likely to be the ones who actually get results in sorting out this awful mess.

Finally some dignity for the dead, as Alexander Hug and his team pay their respects with a minute’s silence


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