When the news of the terrorist bombings in Belgium reached me I was filled with unbelief and then I got very angry. Which #@é&&!# dared to mess with my people at home, with my small beautiful country. There has been a lot of bombings lately, in Paris, Istanbul, Pakistan, Tunisia, but you never get used to it. Every time again I grieved. For humanity. But when I heard about the terrorist attacks in my home country it just hit me right in the heart.
You never imagine it can happen this close to home – or let’s say home.
Although I live fulltime in New Zealand, Belgium is still my home. Belgium is the place where all my friends and family live. Luckily none of them got hurt during the explosions on 22nd of March, but 32 other people were less lucky and died. And I didn’t start yet about the hundreds who got wounded.
It is horrible. After all these attacks I hear more and more people talking about cancelling their trips to Europe, or to Turkey or Egypt (it’s a long list). And that’s horrible too.
Should we let terrorists dictate our life?
To all the scared parents out there who aren’t happy to see their kids travelling to ‘dangerous’ countries: Instead of being afraid, be proud of the strong individuals they’ve become. Individuals who aren’t afraid of being out there, of facing the world.
I know, we all know, it happens, terrorist attacks. We hear horrible stories in the media, people being killed, families ripped apart, but always remember: the vast majority of the people have a good heart and are more than happy to welcome you into their country.
Countries where there have been attacks see a big decline in tourism, while it is mostly those countries who needs tourists the most. So don’t cancel your trips.
Don’t let the terrorists win. Don’t let them decide what you do. Where you go or don’t go. That moment we let fear control our decisions is the moment that the terrorists win in destroying what little hope remains in our world.
Some numbers might help
If you aren’t convinced yet, let me talk to your rational side. The chance to die in a terrorist attack is negligible. You don’t have to believe me, but believe the numbers.
Drowning in a Bathtub: 1 in 685,000
Dying from a Heart Disease: 1 in 5
Being Murdered: 1 in 18,000
Dying from a Car Accident: 1 in 18,585
Dying from Choking on Food: 1 in 370,035
Being Struck by Lightning: 1 in 576,000
Dying from a Cancer: 1 in 7
Dying from a terrorist attack: 1 in 9,300,000
You are 14 times more likely to die in your bathtub than in a terrorist attack! Does that mean you should stop taking baths? In my case it is probably even higher, because I dare to fall asleep while bathing. But I still love taking baths! And I still love to travel, although the world ‘gets more and more dangerous’.
In two months I will be flying to Belgium. And I can’t wait to go. Not a single cell in my body is afraid. I want to be there to be with my friends and family and I will visit Brussels to see, feel and support my country.
Kia kaha, kia toa
In the Maori language Te Reo they have a beautiful expression for difficult times: Kia kaha, kia toa. Stand tall, stand strong. We need to remember to stay strong, even after such a horrible event. We need to stay ourselves, be strong and especially can’t allow those terrorists to get to us.