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Tragedy and the change of plans

So, yesterday there was a tragic terrorist attack in Brussels, at the Brussels Airport and the metro station.  Three dozen people have been killed, and reports have the injured number over 100.  It’s a senseless, awful tragedy, and my heart goes out to the people of Belgium in this time.

Tomorrow, my mother and I were supposed to get on a plane to Brussels.

Obviously, we aren’t going to Brussels tomorrow.  But it isn’t because we are afraid.  My mother, when I sent her the message early yesterday morning, trying to figure out what to do, automatically jumped to the what-ifs.  I came to them later, after the business of changing plans 2 days before a flight had been resolved, but they do exist. I’m in no way trying to make this awful event about us, but there is a moment when you realize that something like this has happened in the exact location you were going to be in 72 hours, and that moment is sobering.

But I didn’t change our plans because we are afraid.  Brussels, as several people have told me – including Air Canada, when we were trying to change our tickets – is probably the one of the most safe places in the world right now.  Add to that, and if you let terrorism dictate your life and your plans, then the terrorist have achieved their goals.

We’re not going tomorrow because it just isn’t the right time to go.  To say nothing of the logistics – the security and the bombed out airport will be a nightmare, and the French/Belgian border is closed at this moment, as well as the airport – I don’t think the aftermath of a tragedy is a ‘tourist climate.’

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A small replica of Brussels Manneken Pis at the memorial for the attacks. Photo Emmanuel Dunand/AFP.

The appeal of going to Brussels for me and my mother was was to see the sights, have some chocolate, see a new country and culture.  And although I think those reasons are all things that we can’t let terrorism stop, the timing is just, in my option, wrong.  These are a people and a country in immense pain right now, and I can’t imagine how someone coming to look at their famous landmarks would help.

I will go to Brussels and Belgium one day.  It’s a rich culture and and lovely country, and nothing so cowardly as terrorism will stop that.  But right now, my mother and I are going to spend those three days in London instead before we go to Paris, and let Brussels mourn and heal in peace.

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A memorial in Brussels for the attacks. Photo Charles Platiau/Reuters.

 

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