The Brussels terrorist attacks and what comes next for Belgium

I woke up this morning and as always checked the latest news. Turned out this was the day I knew would eventually come. The numbers so far after three explosions at Brussels airport in Zaventem and the metro station of Maalbeek:

30+ people killed

90+ injured.

These numbers will rise in the following hours and days.

I’ll write some more about this in a bit, but first this:

In November 2015, I wrote this article about the Paris Terrorist attacks and their connection to Belgium. It’s long, but I suggest you read it first to understand what I write next.

After I wrote this, I received a lot of negative feedback.

I was told I was a racist.

I was told I exaggerated.

I was told I was a coward.

At the end of that article, I commented on what I thought would happen next. Let’s look at those points now:

The Brussels terrorist attacks what comes next for Belgium

The bombing at Maalbeek metro station.

  • The polarization of our society will accelerate. This happens at an accelerating pace. An increasing number of people who always believed in peaceful coexistence in a multicultural society are abandoning that belief. Instead, they now state both in private and publicly that it’s time to “clean house.” The “us vs. them” mindset is growing rapidly. At the same time, the reports are coming in of Muslim youth in the high schools of Brussels and Antwerp cheering and celebrating the attacks. The rift in our society is now wider and deeper than ever.
  • Demagogues, from the left, right and center, will get more attention than they deserve, their non-solutions as well. We’ve had months of nonsense from our politicians. Self-evident actions that should be taken are derided as “Nazi tactics” and the opposition goes out of its way to paint the government as incompetent. Truth be told, they aren’t always wrong, but the point is that there is no unified political front to handle the issues. Instead, they launch soundbites in the media to get some airtime.
  • The media once again go out of their way to obscure the facts. The level of media coverage has become even more deplorable than before the Paris attacks. We are inundated with good news shows about how things aren’t that bad in Molenbeek and we really shouldn’t worry too much. Dissenting opinions are either not invited to share their views or they are ridiculed and marginalized.
  • The political will to change is not present. This is only partly true. Some parties want to take far-reaching action, but the coalition government isn’t unified in that approach. Obviously, the opposition shoots down everything the government proposes. But most of all, because of the dysfunctional way Belgium is organized, the Brussels government can block or ignore policy that comes from the Federal level. They have made their intentions clear on that front: they do not see the need for important changes…
  • The Prime Minister announced his plans yesterday and the erosion of privacy has already started. There have already been some legal changes re. police procedures and more are on the way. After the attacks of today, this process will accelerate and we’ll soon wake up in a very different country.
  • We’ve entered the next phase of an asymmetric war that has been raging for decades, but most people chose to ignore it or thought it wasn’t relevant here. Paris was a rude wake up call for them. I believe there is worse to come. I wish I would have gotten that wrong. There’s blood in the streets and corpses on the ground. For many people, they will only now understand that safety is an illusion. It never existed and never will. That includes our lives here in Brussels, Belgium  and everywhere else in the world.

I wish I was wrong when I wrote that list after Paris happened, but I don’t think I am. I am not going to spend hours looking up all the links to articles and videos that prove everything I wrote in the above bullet list. If you want them, Google is your friend.

 

What now?

I expect things will get worse. Some thoughts:

  • The rest of Europe. We’ve had the Paris attacks and now Brussels. I expect bombings and attacks to succeed in other EU countries in the near future. Belgium is now at alert level 4, which gives our police forces and government more leeway in going after terrorist. France is still in a state of emergency and has the same leeway now. This makes it harder for terrorists to execute their missions, but not impossible, not by far. However, other EU countries aren’t at the highest alert levels, so terrorists have more freedom of movement there. It also makes sense for them to attack as many countries as possible to achieve their goals.
  • The Syrian war will change. Belgian Airforce already does raids on Syrian IS targets, soon our government will have to decide whether to do more of these. Other governments will have to ask themselves the same question. Increasingly, IS is striking in the homelands of the coalition that is lined up against them. Public opinion in these countries will pressure politicians to act. In the end, that can only lead to an escalation of hostilities and boots on the ground, which also means body bags returning home. We’ll see if our societies are ready for that too…
  • The Belgian economy will bleed. Our government has a multi-billion Euro deficit this year and our economy is fragile, to put it mildly. Today’s bombings deal out a hard blow to our tourist industry (a key component of our economy) and will have consequences in many other sectors. This combined with the negative outlook for both the EU and world economy doesn’t bode well for the future.
  • Belgian society will become even more divided. When I look online and on social media, I see a lot of outrage, which is to be expected. But I also see a huge increase in people who publicly voice their mind on what they perceive to be the root of the problem. For Belgium, this is unheard of and it indicates the tipping point in public opinion I’ve slowly seen building in the last few years. More next.
  • People will push back. Our modern society doesn’t handle fear well, but it also increasingly refuses to be manipulated. As I explained in my other article, the debate about multiculturalism was sabotaged for decades and we were told to not be “scared, white racists.” The problems were left to fester and now we have the current state of affairs, culminating in today’s attacks. The media will find it increasingly difficult to sell the message of “it’s your fault” to the local Belgian population. The people will demand action and the politicians who fail to deliver it will be remembered in next elections. If the people don’t see rapid change (which they won’t, because that’s not how societal change works), they will take matters in their own hands in all kinds of ways. The hardening of out society that started a few years ago will deepen. As a result, our society will become even more divided, the Muslim population will close ranks to protect itself, and then we have a vicious cycle that only leads to more violence and terror.

There’s more, but I’ve delivered enough bad news already.

The Brussels terrorist attacks what comes next for Belgium

EMTs trying to save lives after the bombing in Brussels.

Conclusion

The future is bleak and we Belgians are now entering the next phase of asymmetric warfare I mentioned in the previous article.  Our society will change rapidly and not for the better. There will be more blood and violence as people come to understand that you cannot negotiate with those who want to kill you. But stopping that from happening has far-reaching, lasting consequences for our society and people do not understand just what that means. Nor will they feel comfortable with what our government and law enforcement will have to do to protect us to the best of its limited abilities. We are entering “breaking a few eggs to make an omelette” territory and this should scare everybody who has half a brain.

The end is also nowhere in sight. We will be struggling with terrorists on our home turf for a very long time. I don’t expect this to be over in the near future and each new incident will spark even more changes in our society. Given the way news, true or false, spreads instantly by going viral, the potential for civil unrest and violence is huge. It’s safest to assume this will become the new normal and prepare accordingly.

All that said, life will go on.

I will still get up each day and go to work, spend time with my kids and loved ones and live my life as I always have.

Illegitimi non carborundum.

Not now, not ever.

The Brussels terrorist attacks what comes next for Belgium

My sentiments on the matter…

UPDATE:

It’s been one year since the Brussels attacks. So far, everything I predicted happened, except for the war in Syria; I was wrong on that front.

Belgian society is more divided than ever and the push back is gathering steam.

The EU still has its head up its ass and citizens are increasingly dissatisfied.

The victims of the attacks here were in many cases left to their own devices by the insurance companies. Many of them only got compensated now, a year later.

Some insurance companies asked to sign a waiver after six months, to release them from their obligations…

The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

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Comments

  1. Charles James says

    Hoping for realistic hope.

  2. Alan Nevling says

    Wim, you correctly point out that “… [Y]ou cannot negotiate with those who want to kill you,” and then you indicate with the cartoon at the bottom of your page, that you prefer not only to discard, but to destroy weapons with which you citizens might counter your attackers. I fail to understand.

    Do you hope to defeat them by enhancing the government’s ability to spy on you? Or by perfecting your weaponless martial arts? Or do you accept that they should be allowed their “ways,” while you should only be allowed to MMA them to submission, in accelerating progress to whatever results next?

    Is it possible to be too “civilized” to survive? You say that Belgium (Europe?) is entering “‘breaking a few eggs to make an omelette’ territory and this should scare everybody who has half a brain.” I’d have to agree. Allowing the government to curtail your rights in order to fight one enemy simply makes it easy for them to become the next enemy. But that is at least possible, if not intrinsic, in any “solution” that denies the right of self defense, and places the entire responsibility on a government that is as likely to decide that its complaining citizens are “the enemy” as it is to blame those who make the attacks of which they complain. Governments will always take the easiest route to “success,” even if that means making you shut up and take it.

    • Alan,

      I indicate no such thing. The entire line of reasoning that followed your statement only happened in your mind, certainly not in mine. You seem to assume I am a stranger to firearms or am anti-gun. If that’s the case, you are wrong on both counts. I humbly suggest you take back your straw men.

      • Alan Nevling says

        Wim,

        I apologize. I misunderstood your intentions as regards the cartoon, and in hindsight, relied too much on my first guess of its significance. Manneken Pis saturating an AK didn’t immediately translate to a statement of the intent to defend oneself in my uncivilized mind, but as I rethink it, there is an element of defiance in it, particularly appropriate to Brussels.

        I see much the same governmental and societal changes coming here, that you see for Belgium, and can only hope that terrorist actions will not need to rise to European levels to alter current US suicidal borderlessness.

        • No worries, I wasn’t offended.
          If you look for it, you’ll find many cartoons that feature the AK as the weapon of choice of terrorists and then ridicule it. The legend of Mannenken Pis is also about defiance towards attackers, so blending both is a good match in this case, to tell the terrorists we piss on them, in all possible ways.

  3. I am going to suggest that we all go have a look at Israel. That’s our future.
    I’m not suggesting this just to be depressing. Israel is on the cutting edge of an experiment we are all now involved in whether we want to be or not, how a free society survives under stress.
    We are having our noses rubbed in the fact that the W.E.I.R.D. societies (Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic) are just that, atypical.
    Modern technology has brought us into intimate contact with the non-W.E.I.R.D. world, given them a taste for what we enjoy without the capability of producing it for themselves, the means to come here, and the motivation to do so.
    Israelis are Western, but share a country with a large number of people who loathe them and their Western values. Increasingly so do we.
    They are faced with the necessity of defending their society by means repugnant to free men. So do we.
    So far the reaction in Europe and increasingly in America seems to be to demonize Israel – because facing the question their problem and increasingly ours poses makes us profoundly uncomfortable.
    Tough shit. Nowhere on my birth certificate does it guarantee there’ll always be neat and comfortable answers to disturbing questions.

  4. “Given the way news, true or false, spreads instantly by going viral, the potential for civil unrest and violence is huge. ”

    I can’t help thinking that’s the whole idea. Once the ‘civil unrest’ reaches a high enough pitch, our ‘superiors’ in government will have the excuse they need to start jailing, shooting and otherwise hounding the general and typically civilized populace.

  5. Hi,

    you have provided a much needed point of view on the whole issue the Europe is dealing with atm. Hopefully, many people will read your blog and finally get real. The naivety and extremism (both left and right) has to stop. The reality is always more complicated than that.

    I have to agree we are reaching the stage of “breaking a few eggs to make an omelette”. It has gone too far and there is no an easy way out of it.

    All the best.

    Luke

    • Thanks Luke. We’ll see how it goes. Over here, I don’t get much understanding for this article. Most of my compatriots look at me like I’m from outer space when I tell them this.

      • Unfortunately, most people cannot make decisions in situations when there are only bad options available. Denial, false hope or ignorance are their reactions. Most people lack experience in psychology because they have never been in critical situations or never experienced extremes of their own psyche. These people tend to be extremely naive when it comes to situations like this. They don’t understand how an individual reacts to things, how a mass of people reacts to things, how radicalization and aggression develops. That in everyone of us is a killer. An animal, waiting for the moment to unleash the most primitive, basic reaction in order to survive and deal with fear. That even your long-time neighbor, friend or a family member is capable of going against you if conditions are met. They don’t realize how thin the line can be.

  6. thebronze says

    Wim,

    What is the status of civilian firearm ownership in Belgium? Mostly like the rest of the Anti/Non-Gun EU? Are most Belgians left at the mercy of the Terrorists?

    • You can own a firearm, but need a license. Getting a license is difficult and costly, but not impossible. Getting a carry permit is only possible in certain exceptional cases. It will take a much higher body count before our politicians will even consider making any changes to the legislation.
      That said, every civilian in the entire Zaventem airport could have been carrying, it wouldn’t have stopped the suicide bombers. Unless human beings suddenly become telepathic and can read the intent of others. So for that specific type of attack, it isn’t a solution.

      • thebronze says

        Very good points.

        Luckily we’ll at least have a fighting chance in the US during a Paris-type attack.

        (Mistakenly or not) I think that’s part of the reason (gun ownership) we haven’t seen those kinds of large-scale attacks here. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re coming, and I’m very surprised they haven’t come yet, but I think that certainly plays a part in their decision on where to strike.

        • Just yesterday I was emailing with a US LEO and he told me he’d arrested a radicalized American who’d gone to the Middle East for training and had returned. This is likely not an isolated case. You’ve already had the San Bernardino and Fort Hood attacks and will likely have more. We all will.
          I doubt it’s as large a factor as most people think it is. Firearms will not stop suicide bombers as long as they keep being smart enough about it. There are also more than enough scenarios in even an armed society where they can get a sufficiently high body cunt to suit their needs.

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