I have always been a huge fan of air travel. In 2001, at the age of 3, I visited my home country Gambia the first time. The trips required layovers in Belgium and connecting flights through Brussels Airlines. Since 2001, I have made three trips to Gambia, always enjoying my extended time in Brussels. The more I travelled through the airline, the more familiar the airport became to me. The March 22nd attacks at the airport and local train station quickly erased this comfort that I had developed over the years. After the attacks, ABC news conducted an interview with a missionary survivor Fanny Clain; who shared her experience about what occurred that day. By comparing my experience at Brussels Airport with the experiences of Clain’s, we can see how terrorist attacks have become normalized in our global society. As a result of this, it is not rare that we find ourselves uneasy in spaces that were once perceived familiar and secure.
My trips to Brussels accompany many stories. For the sake of time however, I’ll stick to one. On September 5th, 2001, my father and I left the US, arriving in Belgium the following day. At the time, the workers of Sabena Airlines, had gone on strike in response to intentional layoffs conducted by the company. The strike lead to many flight cancellations and increased layover times. Our flight was directly affected, resulting in a 16-hour delay. This meant an ample amount of free time for an inquisitive infant like myself to roam. From the moment I entered the airport, I was entranced by the conveyer sidewalks, and was determined the ride them for miles. At one point in the day, my father had gone to the restroom, and I decided to follow. I cannot recall exactly how the next set of ...
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...ttitude of indifference towards tragic events. With every new terrorist attack, school shooting, and act of police brutality, we become more psychologically desensitized. I can only wonder how such traumatic events will continue to shape our emotions and attitudes in the near future.
The Brussels Attacks earlier this year came as a wakeup call to me. Many of my family members fly through that airport every year, and it terrifies me to think that I could’ve been directly affected by the event. If someone were to tell my 3-year-old self that in 15 years my familiar place would become the next ground zero, I wouldn’t believe it. Unfortunately, this is our reality, and we should always keep one eye open when it comes to security. Even the safest places pose a risk of becoming cemeteries. This is a huge problem, but sadly enough, I’m not sure how we’d go about solving it.
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