Saturday, November 21, 2015

Belgium clamps down

In the wake of the anarchic assaults in Paris that left 130 dead on Sept. 13, Belgium battened down its hatches today.
BRUSSELS (AP) - Belgium's capital entered a security lockdown Saturday as the government warned of a threat of a repeat of Paris-style attacks, with subways in Brussels closed and heavily armed police and soldiers deployed. At least one suspect from the deadly Paris attacks is at large, and was last seen crossing into Belgium. Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision to raise the threat level was taken "based on quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris ... where several individuals with arms and explosives launch actions, perhaps even in several places at the same time."
For a week, the world has been in a confused thrall to the horrors visited on innocent people who the so-called Islamic State imagines are not so innocent at all. Sorrow, outrage, political advantage, proposals that swing wildly from the righteous to the inane ... the airwaves are full of disarray. Can it be stopped and if so how? Everyone's mind is edgy and begging for a surcease that will reassert a civil society. Everyone seems to be out of emotional breath, panting for some restorative balm ... but there seems to be no balm ... only bombs.

I agree with the pope -- it is a war, but a war without front lines or trenches or calculable targets. Like the forest fires in California, one objective may be achieved only to see the embers re-ignite elsewhere. It is a lousy feeling -- one that anyone might long to escape and yet there is no escape. Those who step into the batter's box and propose reactions that might still the waves ... well, there's so much information and there are so many possibilities, the the power that once was credible dissipates before the speaker has left the podium.

In the midst of bursting conflagrations, migrants pour out of the Middle East, headed for the relative safety and sanity of Europe. But suddenly Europe too is not so sane. The economic disparities between rich and poor add desperation. The insanities are insane and yet positing sanity seems impossible ... the insane run the nut house but the nuthouse no longer exists in any credible form. Those whom the state might once have cared for are pushed further and further from the watering holes of housing and education and safety and sustenance and  commerce. It is beyond a simple matter of being depressed or immobilized. Nobody wants to die and yet death hovers and hums and ... well, maybe it'll be someone else... but not me.

Belgium, like anyone else, wants to assure some more reassuring future.

But when has the future ever bent a knee to being known or assured?

1 comment:

  1. I had a dream last night. In this dream, the normal thing of having a family, a home, the usual stuff we do was clearly an instinctive action that carried with it our broken big brains. It was something of a nihilistic conclusion, that our inability to reason was trumped by our instincts that insisted on violence to protect our us from them, but it's true. It's the reality we live in. It's unsatisfactory. It's a nightmare from which we cannot wake. It's samsara.