The world is changing. The world is changing constantly. And it will keep on changing. Forever. Without changes we will stand still and most of time you need progress to continue on in life. But changes are not always that positive. Today I realized how much our world has been changed over the past years. How Europe has changed. Changed from feeling like safe haven to a world where bad things can happen at any moment, any time. Welcome to 2016. The year war and violence have never been so close by.
I always felt safe in Western Europe. In the Netherlands. War, violence, attacks. Those things always happened in countries far away. You know it exist, but you never really think about it because you just can’t imagine how it would be like. A different world, you have zero knowledge about. It scares you when you read upon it, but after so many attacks in countries far away the news gets ‘normal’. Like you’re reading some article about the baker around the corner who won a price for the best bread. You read it and you forget it. Despite the fact that so many people get hurt. A really sad development actually.
I can’t be nothing but grateful for the fact that I grew up in the Netherlands. For the fact that I had a safe youth. That I have never seen violence. Always had a house to live in. Food. Water. It makes you feel unbeatable. Like nothing can ever happen to you. Or to the surrounding around you. War? Attacks? O yeah, that’s what the newspapers are writing about now and then. In countries far away. Let’s not go on holiday there. Then I will be safe for sure. Nothing will happen to me. It will be still far away.
And then suddenly. Bam. Violence. Deaths. Wounded. Attacks. It comes closer. Paris was already close by. Brussel is even closer. Just about an hour away from home. So close by that new questions pop up in my head: How could this happen? Where are these attacks suddenly coming from? Those things don’t happen in Europe, right? That doesn’t fit the safe haven my thoughts keep showing me. But also: Is no one of my beloved ones in Belgium today? Are the people I care about safe? Are they safe anyway in the Netherlands? Yes, they are. For now. I can still call myself a lucky person. Like a lot of other people here. But that group is getting smaller and smaller.
I am not scared. Because I know we are strong together. I will still take the airplane from Zaventem Airport. Of travel to Paris. I won’t drive myself crazy. On Friday I will go to Amsterdam. On Saturday I will be in Antwerp. No way I cancel that. When the fear will be the ruler, there is nothing left anymore. That’s why I refuse to be scared. But I am angry. Not only for Belgium. Paris. Europe. But for the whole world. Angry at the people who doesn’t show any respect for each other. Who follow their principles despite hurting lots of people by practicing that. Who can only cause pain. Sorrow. Because of the fact that these ‘always-happen-far-away-incidents’ are getting close by, I suddenly realize how people far away should feel every day. Who experience this fear on a daily base. Every. Day. Again. My heart is crying. I will never take those news messages for granted anymore.
Belgium, stay strong. World, stay strong.