Just a good drama? ‘Disaster flight’ is much more than that

Also all episodes of disaster flight seen with growing astonishment? Then I’m sure you’re just as stunned as anyone I talk to about it. Overwhelmed by the power of good drama. Because the KRO-NCRV series about the plane crash in the Bijlmer – thirty years ago on Tuesday – gives this ‘old’ story a brand new, current dimension. It is right that the jury of the Golden Calves last weekend disaster flight has rewarded.

There is also criticism. Terrorism expert Beatrice de Graaf stated on Twitter that she doesn’t like faction: mixing fact and fiction. But as long as I see that the king of facts Vincent Dekker is behind the end result, I am happy for those who are still frustrated that, partly thanks to disaster flight the disastrous aftermath of the disaster is once again in all the media.

The real Vincent Dekker

The series is much more than just good drama. He puts his finger on a few painful places in our society. That becomes extra clear for those who also watch on NPO2 on Wednesday disaster flight, the documentary. It has been available online for a few days and contains conversations with the real Vincent Dekker, the real Rob van Gijzel (great narrator) and others involved in the question: what cargo was the crashed El Al-Boeing transporting? Unfortunately, the real then ministers Hanja Maij-Weggen and Annemarie Jorritsma and the real Henk Wolleswinkel of the Aviation Inspectorate did not want to cooperate. However, some rebuttal comes from Henk Pruis, a former researcher at the Rijksluchtvaartdienst. Prussia does not agree with the rather one-sided media attention for the depleted uranium in the crashed plane. Which by the way becomes clearer on the extensive website of KRO-NCRV than in the documentary itself.

It is especially poignant to see that a democratic instrument that is so respected and in principle feared, such as a parliamentary inquiry, becomes a sham when MPs do not have the right input or the skills of interrogation. And the outcome of their findings is politically weighted. For example, the government parties adopted the recommendations of the Vliegramp Bijlmermeer inquiry committee, but not the conclusions. Because then heads would have had to roll and Purple II wanted to continue.

Civil servants out of the closet

“Politics at its ugliest what happened there,” said investigative journalist Joost Oranje, currently coordinator at news hour and NOS News. He argues that civil servants should be able to come out of the closet. Since the ‘oekaze of Kok’ in 1998, the possibilities of the civil service to communicate openly have been too limited for a healthy dynamic between journalism, civil servants and politics. How bizarre in fact.

Curious, by the way, what Maureen Sarucco, the former director of public order and safety of the municipality of Amsterdam who defended the integrity of its people like a lion, thinks of the scene – in the series – in which she bites journalist Dekker: “I hope you don’t created a monster that is unstoppable, Mr. Dekker. If trust in the government, the experts, the policymakers is destroyed, then a society falls apart. I hope it doesn’t get that far.”

Don’t shoot the messenger, I think. But otherwise: anyone who looks around these days will agree with her conclusion.

Renate van der Bas and Maaike Bos write columns about television five times a week.

Also read:

Thriller series about the Bijlmer disaster mixes fact and fiction. ‘It wasn’t a conspiracy, but definitely a cover-up’

Trouw journalist Vincent Dekker got stuck in the Bijlmer disaster thirty years ago. Actor Thomas Höppener plays him in the thriller series Disaster Flight. “Still no lessons have been learned from that accident.”

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