Brussels and Brooding

(It took me awhile to write this)

It feels, almost, like a nightmare. This morning, a Brussels airport was attacked with 30 dead and dozens more injured. In that same day, there was another explosion in the Maelbeek metro station with similar tragedy. Never failing to be symbolic, the ISIS bomb exploded near the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. ISIS wanted to strike fear and division in an already anxious Europe. It has worked, people are afraid and looking for someone or something to blame.

We gaze in awe of the destruction caused only to be reminded that actual lives were taken. And yet, the movie is suddenly real and the destruction is no longer an awesome site. Instead of inner monologues by Liam Neeson or Morgan Freeman, we will have to comprehend the flurry of news and analysis that will blare ad nauseam until the weekend (long after we have finished contemplating.) Today, we live in fear. Tomorrow, we will pretend to be defiant even though we are actually much more afraid about what comes next. And in the next football game, we will wave lots and lots of flags and sing hymns that signal european solidarity and national strength while doubting whether they still exist and whether we should still signal these virtues. We will not admit that we still don’t understand ISIS, or admit that they are much more capable and versatile than past enemies. However, we will admit that this is a war. There will be fewer casualties and fewer battles, but its the story that counts. ISIS wants the advanced world to become the very monster that it propagandizes against. They want to destroy the institutions and aspects that have brought prosperity, peace, and solidarity. Planting a bomb near a weakened European Union was not an accident, it was a great intention. Let’s hope, after all the cheers of defiance, we begin to truly reflect on why we are being attacked. And after we have reflected, let’s aim to amplify what makes our modern, liberal world so great.

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