A few days ago I wanted to write this blog post, but it’s been a lot harder than I thought. It’s just not possible for me to move on without writing it down, so I’m kind of forcing myself right now. First came the shock, then the sadness and mourning, and now the anger. I am really grateful that I didn’t lose anyone close to me, but nevertheless the psychological wound is deep.
March 22, 2016
When I arrived at work the day of the attacks, the news about Brussels Airport started to come in. Not yet fully realizing the consequences, we heard about the explosion in the metro station. It happened on the metro line I take every day to go to work. I passed by Maelbeek only 20 minutes before the attack… It’s a strange experience when you receive messages from worried friends who want to know if you are still alive. All day long I watched the news, contacted friends and family and wondered if it was safe to go outside and go home.
So what now?
It’s almost one week after the attacks, but tensions are still very present in Brussels. Police sirens are dominating the city’s soundscape and I never saw so many military forces in the streets. This might seem frightening to some of you, but strangely I am not afraid. We can never be a 100% safe, not in Brussels, not in Belgium and not abroad. Taking the metro again wasn’t easy, but life goes on. Well actually I am afraid, but not of potential terrorists. I am afraid that Brussels will change. I am afraid that my muslim friends will feel threatened, that some politicians will try to spread hate. I am angry that a group of hooligans and neo-nazis took over the center of Brussels yesterday! How could that happen? The people of Brussels showed that they want peace, unity and love. These are some of the comforting words I read in the streets: We are all one, Bruxelles ma belle, no to terrorism, la BXL attitude survivra, we are not afraid, même pas peur, make love not war! I felt a lot of warmth and support on the streets and on social media. It even seems like the Brussels blogger scene became a little bit more united.
This will take a lot of time to heal, that’s for sure. Personally, I can find some comfort in art. Art makes me think about the human nature that is both cruel and loving. Art is a also a good distraction. After most of the museums were closed for a few days, today the Museumweek is kicked off.
As much as I try to avoid political statements on my blog, I would like to end with a message to our Brussels politicians: Please protect our city from hatred and violence, let’s all stay united!