While I was glued to our tv-screen last Tuesday, I felt sad, angry and helpless. Sad for the many victims and their family and friends, angry at what has happened and at the people who immediately used it for propaganda or blame. As my newsfeed flooded with articles about what happened in Zaventem and Maalbeek, comments popped up that made me flare with anger. Instead of condemning the attacks, Belgium, again, got criticised for its approach to immigration and security.
It is easy to say you will not allow any refugee or immigrant into your country, when it is mostly surrounded by miles and miles of water, while in Belgium and Europe, hundreds of thousands of refugees just show up at your doorstep. Having to take an airplane to your intended destination, requires a lot more money and organisation than simply being able to walk most of the way. I want to see how many people that claim they would refuse every single person, actually go through with it when they see the many, hungry, innocent children through a fence just about twenty meters away from where they stand. These people are fleeing their home country and are desperate to have a better life, which they believe is waiting for them in Europe. And therein lies the problem, because they are horribly misinformed. The people smugglers are flatterers, they picture Europe as the promised land. They believe they will easily find a home and a job. They believe life in Europe is not expensive. The state of affairs of their country made them vulnerable and eager, and the smugglers know how to play this to make their own living and more.
It is easy to claim that Brussels is a hellhole now and to lecture Belgium on its lack of security measures. No matter how much you try and how much surveillance you put on people, you will never know someone’s true intentions until they want you to know. And by that time, it is almost always too late. Most of the people that turn into radicals are at least second generation immigrants. Radicalisation can go really quick and even though you have to look at the circumstances for radicalisation to be able to take root, I find it unfair to single out Belgium while it happens all over the world. The recent attacks happened in Belgium not because it is Belgium, it just happened to be in Belgium.
I cannot stand how the attacks in Belgium are being used to justify voting for and praising Donald J. Trump. It just blows my mind how people can be so easily convinced and manipulated into thinking the way they now do. Does no Trump supporter see through the lack of straightforward answers? Does it not bother them that he is able to contradict himself in only one sentence? Why do these people put up with someone who in essence is and behaves like a high school bully with rich parents? Do you not feel even the slightest bit embarrassed to be a human being when you see him up on the stand, speaking and acting the way he does, trying to get a job as important as the leader of a large nation? If not, I think we are doomed as a species and we have got nothing and no one but ourselves to blame.
Yet, after every devastating event, there always is a spark of hope. Of solidarity and compassion. Of wanting to believe that there is still good in the world and that it can prevail. But I cringe at the hashtags with pray in them. To bring religion into terrorist attacks in the name of or instigated by it, is to add fuel to it. When it comes to religion, there is no right or wrong. It doesn’t matter who or what you believe in. It doesn’t matter if I am religious or not. And it shouldn’t matter. Religion and beliefs are highly personal. I won’t like anyone less because they are atheists, muslims, buddhists or catholics. I will like them less when they intentionally hurt or manipulate for personal gain. So, let’s not give anyone any more ammunition, take #PrayForBelgium and #PrayForTheWorld out of the equation and just #ThinkOfBelgium and #ThinkOfTheWorld. Because if feels like there’s not enough thinking going on anywhere, anyway.