The Attack on Brussels and its Lessons
The dreadful attacks which struck the city of Brussels this week have sent another painful reminder of the very real threat of terrorism throughout the Western World. Brussels is the capital of Belgium, as well as the country’s largest city. It also serves as the home to the European Commission, Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a secondary home to the European Parliament, thus making it the closest thing to a capital available in the European Union. The attack on the Brussels Airport and the Maelbeek Metro Station by the Islamic State was thus an attack on the political structures of Europe. While the official reason for the attack is unknown, it believed to be a part of the larger offensive of a European based ISIS cell. The perpetrators of last year’s attack on Paris coordinated their plans from Brussels, and earlier this March one of their accomplices was hunted down in the city. The arrest of Salah Abdeslam is seen by some experts as having angered and speed up the timetable of the Airport bombing. Many European leaders have now come to realize that the region has entered a new phase of violence, and unfortunately at the moment it is unclear just how best to try and handle it. Europe is uniquely vulnerable to the rise of extremist terrorism. While the marvels of the modern world have made international travel easier than ever, to access North America terrorist still have to fly to the continent and pass through various visa and screaming processes. However, to access Europe, terrorist can walk, drive, or take a boat. Europe will most likely now be going through a period similar to that which occurred in America after 9-11, with high amounts of patriotism being mixed with heightened security and political debates about what to do next.
Among the victims were three American Mormon missionaries as well as a US service man with his family. As of this writing, all of the above victims were only injured in the blasts; however a few were in intensive care at a local hospital. Other Americans know to be in the area of the blasts are also still unaccounted for at this moment. The lessons of this attack should be vividly apparent. Firstly, these events should not dissuade you from traveling. That would send the wrong message. However, you should always remember that no level of security can be 100% effective. When in the process of traveling with friends, church members, family, etc. always keep track of where you’re party members are. Do your best to stay together or in groups. Have each other’s contact info, as well as someone’s at home or your destination. This will allow you to establish communication in the event of an emergency. And lastly, always remain alert when in heavily populated areas. There is no way to prevent something from happening, but quick response can make a world of difference if something does.
God bless the Belgian people and everyone stay safe.