**********I wrote this back in May, but wasn’t sure whether or not to publish it…several months later and I think I’m ok to share it now*************
I hate to say it but the terrorists beat me. Well not wholly, but they made me change what I would normally do. I admit that when I was in Brussels last week I had an afternoon off work and rather than head into the town center for the obligatory sightseeing, I stayed in my hotel room and binged on British TV. Why? Because knowing that this week was well known for Trump and other heads of state visiting Brussels for a meeting with NATO I decided it was prime time for an attack. It’s ridiculous really that this was driving me to make a decision to NOT go out. It’s the first time that’s happened to me, and I hate it because I feel like they finally got to me.
Having said that, I did go back to Brussels airport departures where the attack happened. I couldn’t real avoid it and had to face it. On my own too. As I queued to check in, I recollected that day and the terrifying events. I was queuing not far from where the first bomb went off. My heart raced and I looked around at everyone near me. I wasn’t sure I could stand there waiting for much longer. I felt vulnerable and suddenly exhausted. The departures floor looked the same but different to before the attacks. The queue started moving and I stopped thinking about that day and moved on. I took a picture from where I stood in the aftermath of the bombs and rather stupidly had taken a photo. I wanted to compare.
Brussels airport has a new improved security check which meant I moved through quickly, but only two customs security officers which meant a huge queue to get to the gates. An American in front of me turned and said ‘I don’t want to sound like a privileged American, but this line is ridiculous’. I said to him, ‘do you remember the attacks last year? Wouldn’t you want it to be slower if it meant more secure?’ He looked apologetic. Then I realised…again they had won. The damage had already been done.
Thinking about the suicide attack in Manchester got me wondering about the terrorist’s chosen venue and victims. Those caught up in the events who lived to see the day like I did, they are young and impressionable. They probably never cared about politics, international affairs or the threat of ISIS. But this week they do. And if they feel like me they will be inspired to prevent the terror from spreading to more innocent lives. I have thought seriously about how I can do something in my line of work. And yet, there I was hiding away in my hotel room rather than enjoying the beautiful sights of Brussels. It’s messed up. What kind of world will Aviana live in in 20 years time? Will this be the norm? Or will this be a historic period she will study as a tumultuous past?