On March 22, 2016, ISIS forces attacked Brussels, the capital of Belgium. The first attack hit the Brussels Airport, killing at least 10 people. This occurred at around 8 a.m. this morning. The second attack was at the Maelbeek subway station, which killed at least 20 people at around 9:10 a.m. Overall there have been at least 30 people killed, with many more wounded.
Police conducted raids in attempt to find the suspect(s) and, “They found a bomb containing nails, chemical products and a flag of the Islamic State in the Schaerbeek neighborhood,” according to an article from the NY Times. “The attacks occurred four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, believed to be the only surviving direct participant in the Paris attacks in November.” So, it is easy to assume this is a retaliation of sorts.
Security in Brussels and Belgium has since been increased, including evacuations of nuclear power plants, metro stations, and the airport. In the United States, “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state law enforcement officials to “step up security at high-profile locations around the state, including our airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems,” according to CNN.com. Other states have increased security as well.
After the attacks in Paris in November of 2015, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel feared that Belgium would be attacked; unfortunately this came true. Because Brussels is the home of NATO and the capital of the European Union, it was an obvious target, which Michel was not unaware of.
The United States is standing behind Belgium in this difficult time. President Barack Obama made a statement saying that, “The US will do ‘whatever is necessary’ to bring the Belgium attackers to justice.” Hillary Clinton, the current democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential election stated, “Today’s attacks will only strengthen our resolve to stand together as allies and defeat terrorism and radical jihadism around the world.”
Parisians united in solidarity by flying the Belgian flag at half-staff at City Hall, and Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, asked that Parisians hold a minute of silence for the victims of the attacks. This attack resonated deeply with the people of Paris, in the wake of the recent attacks their country saw back in November.
To help people in need of transportation in Brussels, @BrusselsLift has taken to Twitter to organize rides for those who need them. This account was opened in November after the attacks in Paris. One of the people helping to moderate the account, Marie, said that, “the attack ‘really hits you hard,’ but that seeing the offers for help highlighted the good in people,” according to the NY Times.
The occurrence of this event is very upsetting. How can people be so cruel? The world as we know is turning into a dark place. When attacks like these happen, I cannot help but think that it’s only a matter of time before the United States is hit. It is very scary, and I cannot imagine what the people of Brussels and other affected areas are going through right now. Innocent civilians are paying the price, and for what? World domination? A global caliphate secured through a global war? Each attack makes the situation more and more real.
The world needs peace, and in moments like these, achieving that peace seems nearly impossible. What is the world to do? How can we achieve this peace? I wish I knew the answer. But what I do know is that it is important to help those affected by terrorism, and Brussels is certainly in need of assistance.
“This is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality, or race, or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can — and will — defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.”
– President Barack Obama