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  • Belgium, Europe

When A Writer Has No Words

This morning, I woke up at six o’clock, and started working on my daily to-do list. At eight o’clock, I got a text message from my boyfriend about the attacks in Brussels, at the Zaventem airport. I couldn’t believe it at first. I thought it was either a hoax, or an accident that had happened but was not related to terrorism. But then I turned on the news, and while I watched what they said about Zaventem, I began to feel like this couldn’t be all. That something else would happen.

Around nine o’clock, we got news of the bombing in the metro of Brussels.

So it wasn’t a hoax. It was no accident. It was a terrorist attack happening right in the capital of my country, in the capital of Europe.

When the Paris attacks happened, that was only a three hour drive from my home. I thought it was horrible, everyone I knew thought it was horrible. We were scared it was so close to home. But the feeling I have now is worse, because although I knew, logically, there was a possibility they would attack Brussels, I never thought it would happen for real. It’s like winning the lottery – if you play, you know there’s a possibility you might win, but you never count on actually winning. Just like that, I knew Belgium was a possible target, but I never thought it would actually get to this.

But it has. Thirty people dead, one hundred seventy people injured, and counting. The injuries are horrible, resembling those of victims of war. When I watched those images of people running out of the airport, shock written all over their faces, bloodied, panicked, that hurt me to my very core. It is horrible, horrible to have such a thing happen to innocent people.

And the problem with terrorism is that it’s everywhere. It’s not just in Syria – it is in Turkey, in Paris, in London, in Berlin, and now it has come to Brussels. It has come to Belgium, to my own country. When it happened in Paris, my heart bled for the innocent lives lost. Today my heart bleeds for the people who passed away or got injured, and it also bleeds for my country. I guess I never understood until now how much it hurts to see your country go through that.

Because I always assumed Belgium was safe. Even when our security was raised to the highest level, level four, and when it was rumored the person responsible for the Paris attacks lived in Belgium, I was worried, but I never imagined it would come to this.

I take the train through Brussels at least once a week. My train passes through the Zaventem airport. If this attack had been two days later, I would’ve been on a train underneath Zaventem airport at the time the bombs exploded.

This makes me sick. I’ve watched the images and cried because innocent people were attacked. Because my country got attacked. And because this won’t be the end. It won’ stop. Not now. Maybe not ever.

I saw a man stumble out of the metro station and he talked about a woman who had lost a leg but barely realized it, as she was worried about her daughter who had gone missing during the attack. When I heard that, I thought: what if that was my Mom looking for me? And I cried because I thought about my Mom going through something like this, and then I cried for the woman who had gone through that for real.

All these people who got hurt and injured are mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and daughters and sons. And I fear that until everyone on this planet starts seeing each other as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons, that there will be more attacks. That there will be more senseless violence.

When the news reports come in, I still can’t fully wrap my mind around it. I read it, I understand it, but it doesn’t really sink in yet. This happened here, in Brussels today. I have friends living in Brussels. I could’ve been in Brussels at that very moment.

I have no words to describe how this feels, how shaken up I am about this, and how much I wish that we could just all start loving each other again, respecting each other and not hurt each other. The world isn’t safe anymore, and I’ve finally fully realized that. It’s not safe anymore, but I wish it was.

 

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