Enough is enough?
On 7 July 2005, London was brought to its collective knees by a series of bomb blasts that cost several people their lives and injured scores of others.
The very next day, despite the horror, the carnage, the public transport system was up and running again. I know. I was there, and I rode the tube on 8 July like many other Londoners, whether residents, visitors or tourists. We got back to our daily lives with a collective sense of defiance to those who wanted to terrorise us. We got on with it.
Here in Brussels, the streets, at least in the centre of the city, have been silenced. The underground Metro system closed, the buses and trams, that are supposed to be running relatively normally, are (at least in my experience) as rare as hen’s teeth. And taxis, where are they? They don’t stop, whatever their destination it appears to be someone else’s business. Frustration is rife.
Today, schools and museums and other public places were closed.
The gallery below shows images I captured this morning, as I made my way to my workplace. I think they need little explanation?
This evening, the Prime Minister announced that what has has become known as the ‘Brussels Lockdown’ will continue, maybe even until Wednesday.
This evening, I walked from Brussel Centraal station to my home in Molenbeek via the Grand Place. There were more journalists and soldiers than ordinary people, whether locals or visitors. Fact. As you can see from these that images I captured during that cold and frustrating walk.
The twitterverse has been divided and complex, there are some who tweet defiantly that local people are carrying on their lives as usual and suggest that the media are exaggerating.
On Sunday, the twitterverse responded to requests made by the Federal Police, keen to stop rumours spreading or to make sure their operations were not compromised, by tweeting assorted kitty photos as reported by the BBC here.
Well, I have no idea who is exaggerating or indeed understating, all I can tell you is that the Metro has been closed for three days, schools are closed, troops line the streets, the people are most definitely not in the centre of the city, the buses do not run on time, if at all, and it took me three times as long to get to work as usual this morning.
The Guardian tweeted today:
In response, I tweeted:
This morning, I gave an interview to John Hockenberry on ‘The Takeaway’ show on WNYC in the USA, I tried to explain what I see, I tried to be balanced and to explain that people, the people of Brussels are not afraid.
What I can’t see is why a city at the heart of Europe, the host of the NATO headquarters has felt it appropriate to respond in this way.
You can listen to that interview by clicking here.
Paris, as far as I can see, where the recent atrocities actually took place has not clamped down on its population in the way we have seen in Brussels.
So far, as I write four people have been charged. One man remains at large. A capital city locked down.
My question is whether this is a proportionate response to a genuine threat of serious and present danger of a terror strike or an over reaction that in effect, without any bloodshed, has give the terrorists what they want?
Should any country have to shut down its vital Metro system for five days and close schools across the capital? Really?
People I have met, here in Molenbeek and further afield are not scared, they are frustrated.
All this for one remaining fugitive?
In my view this is not sustainable and someone, somewhere, should be asked some very searching questions.
I hope those questions are being asked.
19 thoughts on “on the third day”
Reblogged this on andy townend and commented:
My latest post, covering the so called ‘Brussels Lockdown”, which describes my experiences of the third day of this seemingly unprecedented situation here in Brussels.
We have been discussing that in front of TV…My C says that he has to assume they (the authorities) have a lot of info leading to one specific way… To me it is very hard..When this happened in Madrid trains´, the very next day people were taking them like a kind of “rebellion”, like saying “I am not afraid, you can not do that to me…”…To me what is in Brussels in a state of emergency…What I am afraid is…If authorities do not find what they are looking for…What is going to be next? And if they ease the situation and something happens.. How are they going to cope with that?
It is a very difficult situation..But the bad people have what thay wanted: terror…
agreed, there is no winning here.
A tough one, and if there is a ‘victory’ to be won it needs to be one that addresses the root cause of the problems we face rather than one that drives us down a path where the troubles multiply…
I hope world leaders find that path because war isn’t it.
that’s the problem: the bad people have what they want. It’s not “state of emergency” it’s a “state of terror” and the longer Brussels stays that way, the harder it will be for people to go out again.
in Paris, we’ve been out, drinking, singing, in the subways, on the terraces, since last Saturday already; in spite of the sadness, in spite of the assault given into the appartment of the terrorists on Wednesday.
For our own sanity, for our own solidarity to Mankind and goodness, we NEED to be out.
I truly hope Brussels will find the will to go out again. ASAP.
Wonderful words, and our thoughts are with those who suffered in Paris, I hope the people of Brussels will soon once more by drinking and singing and living to the full again…Thank you once more for your support.
As you say, as have others, it is a difficult situation for those in charge and so very hard to comprehend when we don’t have all the facts, we can only hope that those in charge make the right decisions for the right reasons…
Better safe than sorry
A totally understandable point of view, a tough call for those in charge, thank you for reading.
Tough call, yes
Reblogged this on pavement stories and commented:
I do not agree with Andy, I do not seek for sustainability in this matter.
All views welcome here, I will come over to your site and read yours in more detail.
What a tough situation. Difficult to comment without running the risk to add no value. Only those who live in Brussels (like you) know how they felt about this event.
I would love to know how the majority felt, it was a very curious few days….
Unfortunately it’s not on the papers what the majority felt.