Brussels: Lots of love, too many reporters

Today in English, I will mainly share some pictures and impressions from the Bourse in Brussels and my take on the press coverage. I, we, Brussels is still trying to come to terms with what happened, there is lots of talking, lots of mourning and lots of tears being shed. img_20160324_065950.jpgYet, there is the sentiment of vigilance, but not fear. People are taking their time to cope with the events, but they are determined to go on – to pay tribute to the victims by not being afraid, not giving in to terror.

The bourse has become the city’s main site for mourning. There was a minute of silence yesterday at noon, and people continue to pilgrim to the Bourse, to pay their respects to the victims. I went there yesterday in the early evening, a beautiful evening, and it was impressive to see all these foremost young people, singing, lighting candles, hugging, writing their thoughts on the pavement. Apart from the young, I saw a lot of muslims paying their respects, but basically all groups of Brussels‘ diverse society were present, united in our shared grief, and this is what we can take from this: This terror will only make us stronger, as long as we stand together and stand up for our values.

While I am quite happy to see the press broadcasting a positive message from the Bourse, the sheer amount of cameras, broadcasting vans and reporters is actually limiting the

space at the bourse and interfering with the mourning. Wouldn’t it be enough to have mobile teams go there and get some coverage? Aren’t the people more important than the cameras? Well, I hope the people left enough room for the TV stations…

While the people of Brussels are obviously producing good coverage, their message is obviously not heard by neither journalists or politicans. Looking at the German coverage, I see a lot of „everything has changed“, „we have to be afraid at anywhere, anytime“, „We are at war“, „no more excuses“, etc. What has actually changed compared to Paris img_20160324_070405.jpganyhow? Aren’t we facing the same problems we were facing before? Don’t we have to address marginalisation and radicalisation in our societies? Don’t we have to work on a stable and peaceful future for countries like Syria, Iraq? And yes, Belgium has to improve their intelligence services and the police co-operation, and yes, the support for muslim extremists within certain communities has to be diminished – points well made by
German journalists, but what about the „highly effective“ German police forces, as Germany faces a right-wing terrorist threat with huge support in parts of the population, with about three attacks on asylum homes everyday and intelligence services undermining the work of the police?

Well, one thing is for sure: I won’t be afraid because journalists or right-wing politicans img_20160324_070751.jpgtell me to do so – and I rather face the risk of Jihadists in Brussels than right-wing terror in the East of Germany. So, please, for once, listen to the people of Brussels, see their message, and understand that we can only face and overcome this threat, when we build stronger communities, become a stronger society, and stop being afraid of our neighbours.


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