Brussels prepares to commemorate the worst attacks in its history
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM .- Brussels commemorates tomorrow the first anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in its history, two almost simultaneous jihadist attacks against the airport and the city’s metro network, which caused 32 deaths and more 320 wounded, and of which the details are not yet known.
The first of the tributes will take place at Zaventem airport, where a minute of silence will be kept at 07:58 local time (06:58 GMT), at which exactly one year ago began the blackest day of the capital Of the institutions of the European Union (EU).
Two kamikazes – along with a third terrorist who escaped and was arrested two weeks later – activated their explosive vests at Brussels’ main airfield, causing 14 deaths and 92 injuries.
At 09:11 local time (08:11 GMT), a third party member launched another suicide attack on the Maelbeek subway station in the European quarter of Brussels. Tomorrow, at that exact time, the staff of the municipal transport company and travelers are invited to applaud for 60 seconds.
Then, on the neighboring Rue de la Loi, the King and Queen of the Belgians, Philip and Mathilde, will inaugurate a monument dedicated to the victims of terrorism.
Nidhi Chaphekar, a 42-year-old Indian stewardess whose image became one of the graphic icons of the attacks claimed by the terrorist group Islamic State (EI), when she was portrayed wounded, barefoot, with clothes Torn and covered in dust, lying on benches at Zaventem airport.
At noon, schools in the city will also pay tribute to the victims, while the collective «Todos Unidos» will invite citizens to carry a flower and participate in different marches that will converge in the Plaza de la Bolsa from different points in the city. City, among them the designated district of Molenbeek.
It will be one of the many commemorative activities that will be held in this Brussels district where many of the terrorists who participated in the attacks in Brussels and four months before in the jihadist attacks in Paris in November 2015.
In a religious note, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel will perform a Mass at 18:00 local time (17:00 GMT) in the cathedral of Saints-Michel-et-Gudule, two hours before the church Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Molenbeek serves as an auditorium for an interreligious concert.
The tributes and commemorations will take place in a city where, despite the strong military presence in the streets, many citizens feel that the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism is not just a matter of the past.
«We are still afraid, we do not feel safe, even if there are soldiers (because of the street) because they are not going to stop anything,» said Efe Jeremy, a 22-year- The Maelbeek station, where the terrorists caused 17 dead and more than a hundred wounded.
After the attacks in Brussels, organized by the same small group that had attacked in Paris a few months before, it was the French city of Nice which saw, on 14 July, the day of the national holiday of France, a jihadist was launched with a truck by The seafront, killing 86 people and leaving more than 450 injured.
Last December, Berlin had to mourn nine people killed in a similar attack on a Christmas market, and this same Saturday, another suspected terrorist was killed in the Parisian airport of Orly after attempting to steal a military man in the name of Allah .
The dribbling of attacks in Europe, coupled with the fact that all the unknowns about the attacks in Paris and Brussels, such as the identity of the brains of the attacks and the whereabouts of the alleged artillery, have not yet been clarified, continues to generate a certain sense of vulnerability to fundamentalism Islamic.
«I had changed my customs even before the attacks, within reason. I do not avoid the subway, but it’s something you have in mind when you go by subway, to the supermarket or to another place that is susceptible to many people,» explains Efe Estefanos, A Greek based in Brussels that leaves the station of Maelbeek.
On the eve of the anniversary of Brussels, EU anti-terrorist coordinator Gilles de Kerchove told Belgian radio «RTL» that the great threat is not the two thousand and fifty Europeans in Syria or Iraq, but those who » Are among us and radicalized through the internet. »
«Twelve months later, it continues to hurt the same. We continue to wonder: Will it happen again or not?» Says the young Jeremy before riding the subway that jihadism turned into a death trap in the heart of Europe.