to top

In the heart of Europe

And then there was terror….and then there was chaos…

Until it happened, the magnitude of the emotions that we would experienced on one sole day, was unthinkable: fear, grief, sadness, frustration, discouragement, to name a few. Some hot-headed decided to rip off our liberties in cold-blood. We became witnesses of cruelty. We will never feel safe completely, we will stay alarmed and we, “the faithless”, shall start “praying” to circumvent that “wrong place at the wrong time” from now onwards.

In a country as neutral and tranquil as Belgium that much of its fame, it owes it to the EU Institutions and where the only story usually making news headlines is the eternal dispute between its two communities (Flanders and Wallonia), never have I ever thought that I would be experiencing danger.


And then there was terror…and then there was chaos…

“They have won”, I thought to myself. It is still a blur what shocked me the most; was it the fact that despite the speculation and anticipation of a possible attack after Paris, yesterday’s dramatic events took us unexpectedly off guard? or was it the fact that where they hit, were familiar places? the airport I so often use for my travels, the metro stop I used to get off sometimes.

There are no words when confronting terror, only strong feelings surface, no logical arguments to explain violent acts as such. You are obliged to face someone’s pure madness, the “other side” , the dark side that has nothing to lose, placing its bet with an “all or nothing” attitude led by its will to sacrifice lives in the name of retaliation. “When and how will this vicious circle ever break?” I wondered as dismay and distress set in. Again feelings, in a place where logic reigns no more. “How one can undo years of brainwashing?” “How one can undo radicalisation?” and “how does one bend stiff mentalities?” Their primitive, coward war takes a hard blow on us, challenging enormously our way of thinking and living. And the most scary, challenging part of all this, is a possible three-dimensional footprint that extremism will leave on us; it may give birth to anger and even more racism against people of the same colour, look, origin. Some of them lived in this country and benefited from the western-civilised-social system! It may foster misbelief as to their proper integration in the local community, as plenty examples of their marginalisation and their exploitation of what this country has to offer, exist. Finally, it may give way to mistrust of how recognising and respecting their religion will do any good to a country where atheism is the norm. Again feelings surface, leaving no room for logic to prevail.

I read somewhere that wherever there is Darkness, there is Light (like good and evil) but in order for the Light to triumph we need to let it in, even if our hearts and our city have been cruelly assaulted. We cannot let “some” bully the rest of us, because this is how they will win. But we cannot maintain the belief that bombings and counter-attacks is the solution. My only wish is for the more enlightened (be it politicians, diplomats, people of the arts or academia) to prevail and break that vicious circle of violence and vengeance by letting the real virtues of our western civilisation, our Light through the “cracks of their primitive walls”. Again feelings, in a world were the one who feels is seen as weak but the one who thinks may not always feel.

Chryssa Panou

Born in the city, raised in the countryside: vibrant urban rythms mixted with nature's colours run in my blood. A citizen of the world, a devoted European and a proud Greek, this multicultural aspect of life fascinates me and broadens my horizons. A city encouranges me to respect our differences but empowers me to believe in equality for all. My personal "journey to Ithaka" is finding my place in the universe and its place in me. My motto: "Life is Love and Love is You".

Invalid username, no pictures, or instagram servers not found
Invalid username, no pictures, or instagram servers not found