I have lingered for nearly a week before writing about the Brussels terrorist attack because, for once, I was lacking the right words to express and explain what I felt. Beyond the mere shock and incomprehension of it, there was that feeling of uneasiness, the icy horror of having a bad dream with no chance of awakening. How is it possible that a whole list of terrorists of the international level walk freely in the streets of the capital? How on Earth do people who were born and educated on this very soil become its worst enemies? Are we going to have our very own no-go zone smack in the middle of Brussels? And where do we go from here, to begin with?
I went to a supermarket the day after the attack and, although we’re very rural here and a good 3 hours’ ride from the capital, I could clearly feel how unusually quiet the atmosphere was, everybody watching everybody from the corner of their eye, ready to flee at the first sign of danger… I remember I thought to myself: “Is it how we’re going to live now, in a continuous nightmare of collective paranoia?”
Luckily, our society has proven to possess a greater capacity of self-healing: every day I see pictures and videos of people comforting each other, people offering free hugs, people of different colours and origins standing together, singing, sharing their grief and their hopes, dreaming about a better world for all of us, people who are not infected with tunnel vision… and I know that all isn’t lost, that there can still be a happy end where the good guys win and the bad guys fail. One day I’ll bring my son to Brussels and we’ll walk on the “most beautiful square in the world” without having to look around in apprehension. It’s not too much to ask, is it?
https://player.vimeo.com/video/160151702“>Free hugs for Belgium