After the Brussels attacks, I didn’t want to share another post-Charlie Hebdo cartoon nor a #JeSuis, because I don’t want to ritualize the mourning. I didn’t want to join the #Bruxellesmabelle series either, because if we’re friends on fb, you’ve probably heard me curse the weather, the administration, and the EU a lot, so you’d know I was lying a bit. Still, this was an attack in a place I called home for 3 years, it hurt people I love, and I wanted to share this for them and all others who went through days of pain like March 22:
A few days before leaving the city for good, in September 2014, I walked down Chaussée d’Ixelles and saw a group of dirty old furniture piling up in a street corner. My first thought was, “Ugh, Brussels…”. Why always so dirty and messy?
Then, on my way back up, I saw a group of young guys had taken over the dirty corner and were using the chairs and sofas as an improvised stage for their live music. “Wow, Brussels,” I thought then. Always mastering the art of finding beauty in decadence.
Last week’s attacks are the ultimate example of a civilized society’s decadence. And I can only hope Brussels turns it around like it turns around dirty street corners.
The fact I’m writing this in English rather than French or Flemish is not a good way to start a talk about integration. I was always guilty of living in A Brussels bubble – not THE; because there’s many. But like a friend told me: “It’s time to change the Belgian compromise where all groups are equally miserable to one where we create positive benefits for everyone in Belgium – that our diversity becomes an asset, which I believe it can.”
There was no Tripel Karmeliet in Carrefour, and this is not the right glass for a Duvel, but this is to cheer for that wish to come true. In Belgium and elsewhere. Pis & Love.