The 22nd of March was the day we all expected, the day we all dreaded. The day our Belgium got hit by disgusting terrorist attacks. And it hit us hard, the realization that our tiny, often ridiculous Belgium isn't safe.
Until Tuesday, I never fully identified with being "Belgian". After all, we're not a country that is defined in its' essence by a rich culture or that is romanticized like Paris is. All anybody associates with Belgium are fries, chocolate, beer and a little guy peeing. And the fact that we did not have a government for a significant amount of time. In fact, a lot of people in the world don't even know Belgium at all for that matter. But this Tuesday, that all changed, for me, for us and for the world.
I was sad, angry and worried about the future. I still am. But I'm also proud, proud of our beer, our way of good living, proud of our cats filling Twitter during the Brussels lockdown in the Paris attacks aftermath, proud of us Belgians writing messages in chalk on squares and sidewalks after tragedy struck, proud of the fact that only a minority are using inflammatory war rhetoric. We're not the prettiest of countries, but we're rock fucking solid.
As I'm writing this on a late train back home, I hope we can stay rock solid and most importantly, show solidarity. This too shall pass and all of us with a good heart have to stand together to face those with a poisoned heart. The day they rip us apart, the day they will cause us to be afraid of our brothers and sisters with a different color of skin or a different religion is the day they win, as cliché as that may sound. In the night of the Paris attacks, at 2 AM, I felt my world view and my ideals stagger for a brief moment. In those little hours, they almost won, but I realize now they'll never be able to turn me. I will never be afraid, I will never let them change the way I live my life nor will I let them change my beliefs and ideals. And I'm not the only one.
I will go to Brussels on Monday to enjoy a concert and I will then sing the lyrics to the song "Solidarity" now even louder than ever. We'll never forget this and our hearts lay with all the victims and their families. Fuck you daeshbags.