Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Brave little Belgium

The title of this post goes back to WWI, when our tiny county was invaded by the Prussians in 1914 and the sufferings my (great)grandparents went through from 1914 till 1918. My grandfather fought in the trenches in 'Flanders' Fields' (where the poppies grow) during that war. It was a dirty war, in which the enemy used lethal chemical gases, killing or disabling the allied soldiers for the rest of their lives.

Despite these horrors, it was a 'regular' (maybe this isn't the right word, but I can't come up with a better one) war. You knew where the enemy was, you knew the kind of weapons he had and - maybe, just maybe - you knew when he would strike. The soldiers who fought in that war, didn't know what they were getting into when they were drafted, but at least they knew that they were going to war, and that there was a chance/risk that they wouldn't be coming back. They said goodbye to their families and friends, pledging (hoping) that they would return ...

The people who died in yesterday's terrorist attacks at Brussels airport and Maalbeek metro (underground-subway) left their homes in the morning with the firm intention to return in the evening or to arrive at their destination. They never got the chance to say goodbye to their loved-ones.

Beside all the pain and horror these attacks at a mere 15 km (as the bird flies) from my home, have inflicted on the victims and their families, I have a hard time accepting that we are left to the mercy of these heartless killers.

Brussels wasn't their first target: 9/11, Madrid, London, Paris ... not to mention the other attacks in Asia, the Middle East and Africa ... So many victims, so many disrupted lives and families.

I know, I promised you a report of yesterday's events. I was never close to the terror sites, but I know Brussels airport (was there in May last year when I travelled to Corfu) and I know the metro station which was on my way to university between 1975 and 1979. So these sites are all familiar to me. Which makes it even harder to digest ...

Hope our 'Brave-little-Belgium' spirit is up to this 21st century challenge.

More tomorrow ..


The Beaver said...

Bonjour Martine

Thank you for replying and telling us how you are doing.
When I got up yesterday morning, Y who was already reading the news on-line told me about the attacks. I was glued on TV5 for the whole morning since I know of people who take that metro line to get to the EU offices.

We are living in a very dangerous time - not knowing what lies in the future.

Take care of yourself and your maman ( it must be very difficult for her to see this happening in her country).

Susan said...

Nicely put. It's the disdain for ordinary people that is hard to stomach, isn't it?

chm said...

Classic wars are no more! Now, it is everywhere and anywhere. You know there is an enemy, but you don't know where he is. Classic strategies are upside down. Let's hope the intelligence community will find a way to finally protect us all from this kind of carnage.

Stay safe, Martine.

Jean said...

You're so right. Terrorists with medaeval ideals and twenty first century technology makes for a deadly enemy.
I'm glad you're safe and my heart goes out to the injured and the friends and family of all the victims. It's impossible to imagine how any human being can contemplate killing ordinary people like this. But then their ideals are completely at odds with the civilised world. They are inhuman

GaynorB said...

Well said, Martine. The lives of so many people have been devastated by the actions of terrorists.
I don't know what the answer is, or even if there is an 'answer'. Vigilance is essential but the nature of the threat is such that it is almost impossible to police. We will all have to get used to increased security.

My thoughts are with all of the victims and their families, but also with everyone who has been affected for whom life will never be quite the same again. How do you explain this kind of hatred to children?

Take care.

Louise said...

Thank you for this very personal perspective Martine. Here in Australia, on our large island, we don't have the same border problems of the European countries, but still we must be vigilant against these 21st century faceless terrorists and their violent agendas. My thoughts are with all of you in Brave Little Belgium.

Bob said...

these people do not have the save values as westerners. we VALUE life and they do not. they do no assimilate in our cultures and want to make us part of theirs. I am sorry to say that I do not see how this can be "peacefully" resolved.

Bob said...

sorry, my auto correct took over. it should read "same" values, not "save" values.