Well it’s been a rough time in Brussels, I come here most weekends for work…..normally I enjoy the usual suspects…. the waffles, the beer, the chocolate…..squeeze myself through the crowded streets, wait patiently at the overflowing waffle houses and bars…..
It’s a bit different since the bombings, no crowded streets, no crowded anything to be honest, except the hotel which is completely full of news crews, set teams, news anchors.
Do I feel safe here, well not really but then I didn’t feel that safe here before the bombings, but that’s the general feeling in Brussels all the time since the Paris attacks.
As I’m here a lot I thought I would have a chat with the locals, see if their 'let live' opinion has changed at all ….. well, yes it has, it's now an attitude of anger and action, rather than one of acceptance. Everyone is suspicious and the normal multicultural acceptance of Brussels has infinitely diminished… one girl who had the opinion only a month ago that it was the few extremists causing the problem now harbors the view....
“we need to get all these foreigners out of the country before it becomes the normal thing for us that bombs go off every few weeks”
....she continues to express the view that she now views anybody who appears to be shady with caution and distrust and does not want to be this way, but the terrorists acts have turned her to not trust anyone except her inner circle of friends……. A view given by many of the locals.
Normally on a weekend you cannot move in the streets, but now the streets are empty, the shops empty, except for the very obvious police and army presence. Normally I have to wait in line behind a mum and kids or families to get my coffee at Starbucks, today I queued behind 3 soldiers in balaclavas sporting semi-automatic machine guns and a news crew …. A bit surreal.
The locals now seem to have the opinion, it’s time to take some kind of action, official or vigilante is acceptable, but some kind of action, the high jacked demonstration which ended with riot police and water cannons was not as frowned upon by the locals as you would think. A lot of local opinion is the same, Brussels has always been a fun multicultural city that has welcomed and accepted all race creed and colour….. the welcome is running out and they want it to be how it was. To quote one elderly café owner I chatted to in his nearly empty café, he is afraid we will end up like the middle east where nobody flinches when a street bomb goes off, because it a normal occurrence.
Where will it all end, I fear it won’t. I believe it could be too late for Europe, short of closing the borders again to separate us all as nations and installing martial law, which will never happen, I hope, Europe will return to its accepting multicultural state until the next inevitable bomb goes off.
Our thoughts go out to those who lost their life or were injured in the attack and of course sincere condolences for those left behind, not just here in Brussels but in all terrorist attacks around the global, of which there are many.
A picture speaks a thousand words so we have intentionally used a lot of visuals in this article and shall leave you now with some more which reflect the most sober feeling in the city right now. Please feel free to leave comments in the comments section at the end of the article.
Written for Eternity by Eternity's Underground Correspondent (DJ)