The train pulls into the metro station. It’s packed. I rush in as I am running late and missing out on my new routine of walking to work and enjoying the view of the sky, water, ducks, trees, and life around me. The train pulls out. Bang! Icy silence in the crowd. Engine problem? I’m thinking rather a gunshot. All the polluted images seen in the news are parading in my mind. No word has been given as to what has happened, except a message continuously repeated over the sound system that we will have to endure for the next 45 minutes. "Due to a technical problem, we are striving to...", and I forget the rest. Waiting. Then the silence is broken by the technological world we live in: the internet informs us, attack in Zaventem. Nothing about Maelbeek, but a woman standing next to me learns about it through her sister by phone: bombing in Maelbeek. The rest of our journey is nothing, for we have escaped the worst, compared to the situation of the unfortunate victims and their families.
The Maelbeek station had always struck me with its simple "decor": a simple face drawn on white tiles, two words, Maelbeek – Maalbeek, written neatly and singularly by a human hand. And it is there that violence struck and hurt human beings.
The world in which we live has changed, it will never be like it was before, whether I like it or not. And Josefa? "All of us migrants"? Reciprocal hospitality? Aren’t we naive? Are we measuring the complexity of the world we live in? Do we continue? Still believe in it? I keep these questions to myself, but I hear someone say, "If we don’t continue to speak and meet with one another, we are headed into a dead end, spiritually and humanly. There is no other way." The coldness of this analysis surprises me, yet it touches me, as it is food for thought. I suspect the analysis is correct, beyond emotion, and can stand on its own.
On March 22 and afterwards, I realise that I am not alone. There are people who, for a long time in some cases, and many others, would you believe, who are architects of a peaceful living together, and about whom the media do not talk about enough. But it is the reality, my reality, our reality. Let’s continue, together.