I’ve received permission from Belgian author Bob Van Laerhovenh to repost something he wrote in a newsletter sent out yesterday to his subscribers that I found to be poignant and insightful. He had recently written a guest post for the site Murder is Everywhere about the terrorist attacks on Brussels on March. 22. There’s a link below to this article, “Brussels, You’re Very Sick”. I urge you all to take some time and read what Bob has to say, because he knows of what he speaks – Bio below**. (Bob was previously promoted on Reading Recommendations in April 2015.)
In my guest blog “Brussels, You’re Very Sick,” written last week and published on Saturday 9/04 on the international blog site Murder is Everywhere, I asked myself if Belgium will be able to cope adequately with the “new reality” after the terrorist attacks on 22/03 in Brussels Airport and the metro of Maelbeek.
Coping with the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks has to be done quickly, because, in the aftermath of the tragedy, it became clear that Belgium, although a “logical target” for Islam extremists, was very ill prepared for an attack. In the world press, Brussels got nicknamed the “European capital of Jihadists,” when it became clear that Belgium’s State Security Department hadn’t noticed that, right under its nose, in some of the rather sinister municipalities of Brussels, a network of Islam terrorists had planned attacks in Europe, gathered weapons and raw materials for bombs, and studied possible targets. Belgium was labeled a “failed state.”
In the light of the arrests since Saturday 9/04, and the dismantling of the terrorist network in Brussels, it seems that Belgium has learned its lesson fast.
Because, in the wake of the new arrests, stories simmer of Jihadists who had been identified for quite some time but left undisturbed by the Belgian Police, some of them even arrested before, but set free again.
I know it’s easy to critique police work, and successes have been achieved, but it can’t be a coincidence that Brussels was chosen by Jihadists to prepare for their apocalyptical delusions.
One thing is for sure: after some 70 years of peace, Belgium, just like the rest of the European Union, is entering a situation that will definitely affect our society, our politics, our values, our way of life, and our security.
Bob Van Laerhoven – Belgium
**A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, I made my debut as a novelist in 1985 with the novel Nachtspel (Night Game) and quickly became known in Flanders for my ‘un-Flemish’ style and my kaleidoscopic novels in which the fate of the individual is closely related to broad social transformations. I became a full-time author in 1991. As a freelance travel writer I explored conflicts and trouble-spots across the globe from 1990 to 2003: Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Lebanon, Mozambique, Burundi… to name but a few.
During the Bosnian war I spent part of 1992 in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Three years later I was working for MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings. At that moment the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. I was the first writer from the Low Countries who had the opportunity to speak with the refugees. These conversations resulted in a travel book: Srebrenica – getuigen van massamoord (Srebrenica. Testimony to a Mass Murder). The book denounces the murder and torture of the Muslim population of this Bosnian-Serbian enclave and is based on first-hand testimonies. I concluded that mass murders took place, a notion that was questioned at the time but later was proven accurate.