The past few weeks zipped by in a blur of constant travel. I took more planes and trains than I’ve ever had in the span of three weeks as I travelled twice to the Middle East for work and to France for vacation.

Due to the terrorist attack at the Brussels airport, these journeys took much longer than usual as some of my flights were cancelled or re-directed to nearby cities. Which was understandable and one just has to adapt to it.

I was in Doha on 22 March. A colleague told me that there had been an explosion at the airport when we stepped out during a break at the conference. I thought she was joking or maybe I had misheard something. It didn’t seem real.

But I wasn’t surprised that this had happened. It was only a matter of time.

I’ve been living in Brussels for more than four years. I’m often struck by how segregated the city and its inhabitants are. There is much poverty in and around the city. For instance, one can see and feel the anger and anti-social sentiment when walking through the city centre where shop windows are constantly smashed for no reason.

The hours and days that followed 22 March were cloaked in a surreal haze. My consciousness was absorbed with every news update on the attacks.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m deeply saddened by these atrocities. What upsets me more is knowing that this is not the end. That things will get worse, not just in Belgium or Europe, but also in the rest of the world including in Africa and Asia.

What can we ordinary citizens of the world do? Let’s keep our minds and hearts open. Life must goes on.

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8 replies on “Back in Brussels

  1. Sadly, I cannot see an end to these type of attacks. We could just ‘hope’ it does not happen again. There’s two types of disaster – man made and natural. We all hope they don’t occur soon, and more selfishly anywhere around us. Lives are fragile.

    1. It will happen again. The roots of such organisations go much deeper and striking their strongholds will not solve the problem (if not worsen it).

      On a slightly different note, the likelihood of being killed or injured in a motor accident is much higher (in most places) than that happening in an airplane crash or terrorist attack. Many drivers in Brussels seem to have little regard for lives of other people (pedestrians included) and this makes me mad.

  2. Hi Angelina. I have visited Brussels twice in the last 5 years, and it has been one of my favorite European cities to date. I was so saddened to hear of the event’s last month that occurred in Belgium, as well as all others that continue to plague our global community. I hope that there is an end in sight. I have always loved the sense of humor of the Belgian people, and the light hearted lifestyle that I have encountered on my visits.I think all we can do is to try to come together with warm hearts and kind words. Thank you for your post!

    1. Hello, thanks for stopping by and am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Brussels. The Belgian humour is quirky indeed. When a major police took place during last year’s Brussels lockdown, Belgians took to social media and posted pictures of cats ‘in response’ to the request from the police to not publish any images that may compromise the operation!

  3. I live in Brussels aswell and it’s so weird reading this a few months after the attacks. You were sure right about this not being the end of the terrible acts of violence.

    On a sidenote, I just discovered your blog and I am enjoying myself reading a lot of posts. I was looking for some new books to read and your blog is helping a lot!

  4. Hello, thanks for dropping by my blog. I need to resume writing again… I left Brussels for Hong Kong two months ago and have been busy settling into a new job, city and life. Am pleased to hear that some of my book reviews are helping you in your search for new reads. 99.9% of my books are now travelling in a cargo boat somewhere between Belgium and Asia. I can’t wait for them to arrive. Though I suspect I’m going to have to give away several of them as there’s not enough space in my tiny apartment in HK!

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