This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Life Goes On : Cautiously

"We are not afraid. It is our customers who are afraid. We usually do about 4,500 euros business a day and Easter should be one of the best days. But today we will probably only make about 1,000 euros. The fruit is spoiling. We will have to throw away a lot of it."
"Those who did this [Brussels bombing] have nothing in their heads. They do not believe in God. I hope that they are done with this because it destroy us commerce."
Abdel Kaldon, Bruxelles-Midi market vendor

"This terror is all over Europe now and it is not finished in Belgium because there really is no solution to this problem. But I hope we are safe here in the market. This place is full of Muslim sellers. I don't think they want to kill their own people."
"We have to adapt to their [Muslim] culture because they are so strong in Brussels."
Anna Maas, Bruxelles-Midi flower vendor

"If you succeed in taking down one cell there will be another. If you take down three of them, ten more will rise."
"My question is: In whose name do they do this? I am an atheist but I don't know one religion that advocates this kind of general violence."
Arlette Antoine, market shopper
Gare du Midi general market, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - Stock Image

The fruit-and-vegetable seller is concerned with earning a living. The attacks that left so many dead and injured are truly an inconvenience. And in condemning the attackers he is effectively stating in an oblique fashion that as a Muslim, a believer, he has no truck with the kind of psychopathy that targets innocent people going about their daily lives. And failing to accommodate the living needs of others of their religion.

The flower vendor, for having lived for so many years among Muslims appears to know very little about Islam, a trusting and puzzled person for whom the violence and the hatred seems inexplicable. If she knew a little more about world affairs she would be aware, as well, that Islamists don't mind one bit killing "their own people". She observes that change is always underway, and it is Belgium that changes to accommodate the Arab population by the school calendar taking note of Ramadan.

The market shopper's disingenuous question reflects no wish to linger on the question of religion and how it impacts peoples' lives; those who become raging psychopaths and those who become their helpless victims. A state of indifference, an unwillingness to view the reality of her life and those around her as the malign influence of a totalitarian religion infuses her community with a pathology of hatred that no number of arrests will serve to quash.

Belgian authorities have taken steps to see that rock concerts, sport matches and even a March Against Fear are all temporarily postponed or cancelled, for fear that terrorists will strike again in the crowded venues so beloved of assassins looking for maximum impact, making their martyrdom well worthwhile. Belgium little envisioned the future when it undertook to respond to a manpower shortage a half century earlier by convincing Moroccans their future lies in Europe.

Gare du Midi general market, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - Stock Image

In the market a Flemish man who withholds his name waxes eloquent that his government "must be more severe with those who commit some crimes or talk about doing it. Until now we have been far too tolerant. We should help people but we should not always behave like we are Santa Claus", he states. At a time Santa Claus needed all those helpers to get the toys to deserving children. Presumably, the helpers have turned to their own enterprise of persuading non-Muslims they deserve to convert to Islam.

In the marketplace, when asked, Moroccan-born Belgians emphasize that Islam is a religion of peace. The attacks killed a Moroccan family, they state pointedly, so they too have suffered, as does the Moroccan man who lost one of his limbs in one of the blasts. "This complicates our lives. Of course some people change their opinions about us. We know this. It is really sad", Yassine Elyazildi, said.

"This market is empty right now People are not buying our fruit. They are not buying any meat or fish or clothes from anyone else, either. It really has been this way since the Paris attacks last fall. I understand why people are afraid to go down into the Metro now. This place could be a target, too. It is a big market. But life continues."

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