Brussels: The new normal

The worst about this morning’s bombs in Brussels is the absence of shock.

A suicide bomber shouting a verse from the Quran blew himself up at the airport, killing many innocent people, at least a dozen, perhaps more.

Others planted bombs in the Metro during rush hour, causing further deaths.

And we are not shocked.

We go about our business, checking devices for updates.

After Paris, we tell ourselves, there were bound to be more coordinated attacks. Only a matter of time and place.

We pray for no-news.

We barely spare breath to condemn.

This is the new normal.

How we adjust to it is the test of our humanity.


Brussels-Airport bomb

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  • “There are no rules.” -President George W. Bush, September 17, 2001

    “If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan.” -President Barack Hussein Obama, November 16, 2015

      • … who should pick up a couple extra points today in Arizona and, especially, Utah, a proportional state he is expected to lose but which suffered injuries to three of its men in Brussels.

  • Actually, this “absence of shock” is the best way of dealing with it and foils the terrorists’ intentions. They want to shock us, they want to make us believe we have to fear them everywhere, everytime. And the best way to combat this threat is not to feel threatend and continue to live our free lives in a free and open society.

    Mourn for the victims, but don’t let the terrorists win by accepting their rules of the game. Actually, the threat they can impose on us is still very low: In any Western country, your risk of getting killed in a car accident is still much higher than getting killed in a terrorist attack.

    My deepest sympathy for the victims and their families, but I wont do the terrorists the favour of feeling shocked everytime they try to combat the way of life they hate, but continue with exactly this way of life.

    • Does the “absence of shock” necessarily include the willful importation of hordes of young Islamists under misguided notions of benevolence and charity? (And, ostensibly, cheap labor, on account of sub-replacement fertility rates?)

      • …. there we are. Blaming in generalizations, esp. war refugees – who flee the very violence now threatening Europe – is exactly what terrorists want: isolating & blaming muslem communities will make them all the more accessible to recrutement for IS. Obviously, the answer is mobilizing all people against this insanity, including muslems.

        • The problem is that these fanatics have embedded themselves into these hoards of “refugees” to gain entrance.

        • Mobilizing all people? Can “we” begin by asking the governments/kingdoms of the Middle East to accept even a baker’s dozen of humble, benevolent migrants before “we” then begin having our own arguments about “what to do with them”? Why aren’t Moslems on their home turf, in their civilization near Mecca, doing their “fair share”?

          It’s insane, all right.

          • It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations to conclude that because these Moslem factions are at each other’s throats 11 months of the year that they can’t come together and make peace during Ramadan and figure out a solution to this existential threat to their civilization. Because Allah.


          • Agree with you!! And the drivel about them being ‘born and bred’ in Europe – when they and their families have never actually left the middle eastern and muslim loyalties behind them which is absolutely staggering.

            Watch the ‘progressives’ dodging and weaving as this all unfolds in Europe in the coming years. “Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no….”

            You’ve all got the society they wanted for you.

          • Actually, Jordan, a country of some 6,5 million inhabitants, is taking in more than its share of refugees. Currently, close to 640,000 of them are residing there – and that’s only those fleeing from the war in Syria.(UNHCR data: That’s almost 10% of the country’s population, and not counting some further tens of thousands that stem from other conflicts (UNHCR data:

          • While in Lebanon 1/3 of its population now exists of incoming refugees from Syria, a situation that hardly can be sustained. But no, the GCC states, like the United States, accept no-one. Practically speaking, they do not border on Syria. But also their policies are supported by us, the West. Cuz of the oil. And yes Dubai might become fragile. Like Amman and Beirut are fragile. But let us stop our double-standard rationale and our double-standard support in the region. Which also should include the almost blind support for Israeli hawks.

      • Did I mention anything like this?

        Nevertheless, after reading your first comment to this post, it comes to my mind that I should have written “In any Western country, your risk of getting killed in a car accident, or, if you live in the US, in a non-terrorist gun incident is still much higher than of getting killed in a terrorist attack.”

        • Agree with you, Simon. Though I call US Gun violence terror, too. The NRA holds Congress hostage, claiming that freedom is the same as guns, not people, killing people. Which is why it is constitutional for people to arm themselved to the teeth. There is nothing in us left that gets shocked anymore here in Armed America. The chance to die of US home grown terror is much higher than the chance dying at the hands of Islamist terror.

          • “Progressive” double-speak!! You are re-iterating the words of your proselytizers very well. The politburo is alive and well.

            Meanwhile, Europe takes in significant muslim immigrants from the last decades and expresses surprise when some of them turn violent. They never left the middle east in the first place – preferring instead to remain entrenched in the medieval ideologies whilst residing in Europe. And the reason they never adopted liberal western values and freedoms is that THEY WERE NEVER ASKED TO.

          • Given any thought to what the Syrian refugees are actually fleeing from, Hol? And who caused that in the first place?

            But you’re so jolly clever, Hol, that if an insane regime was bombing your family, you’d just stick on there to be bombed, wouldn’t you?

            Care to ‘splain why we didn’t see streams of Syrian refugees fleeing into Europe 3-4 years ago? If, as you claim, they are just workshy idlers in search of a soft touch.

    • While I agree with you in principle, I’m not sure this is actually what’s happening. If the absence of shock comes indeed by a clear will of not indulging in terror or hate speech, I’ll be very happy indeed. Unfortunately, the absence of shock can also come from anesthetization to horrible facts.

  • Religion — probably the worst thing that happened to the human race, with the possible exception of politics.

      • How many unarmed civilians died in Iraq, in the fruitless search for the Weapons of Mass Delusion?

        Ooops, it’s not ‘terrorism’ if a national army does it, is it?

        During the Great Fire of London, in the 1660s, the mob caught and hung a group of Frenchmen. Because it was “obvious” who had started the fire.

      • Easy, isn’t it, to forget. No-one can condone what has been happening in Europe, but let us remember that the antecedents of the present perpetrators were of different religions. How many did the IRA and its opponents murder over decades? How many did the members of the Baader Meinhof terror organisation murder? How many did the Red Brigades murder apart from the Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro?

        Whilst I’m at it, how many did George Bush, Tony Blair and their lying neocons murder in their “crusade” which has so horrendously disabled a major part of the world that it may take decades before it settles down?

        • Wow, the Twin Temples of Mammon were brought down in 2001. Interesting that grim fundamentalists don’t mind earning 1 million dollars per day from selling oil. Intolerant and self-righteous Communists also committed mass murder but sure loved confiscating wealth of others. Disguising greed, as in rich organized religion, makes it all much worse.

  • ….”shouting a verse from the Quran blew himself up at the airport”. Any actual official reports that this is what happened, Norm?…or is this just another excuse to rubbish an equally idiotic Abrahamic religion?…also, it was definitely a ‘he’, was it? It would be great if you could furnish us with your sources.

    • I also have not yet heard anything to this effect on any of the broadcasts of four countries that I have heard, nor in any of the many online newspapers I have read throughout the day.

      I did hear that there was something called in Arabic, possibly the two words beginning with A that we are getting used to.

      But this assertion is standalone.

  • Absence of shock is the best response.
    Cold war was followed by the War on terror. Post- military intervention in Iraq it’s sad to note the situation is worse.

    • Things are going according to plan. These are just a few stirred up muslims, well worth the perpetual war for global hegemony under the rule of the oligarchy that resides and operates (mostly) in the US.
      These attacks are unavoidable collateral damage, unless you prefer to be ruled by the Chinese, possibly allied with the Russians.

  • In the context of such horrors, it may be clear that the arts have a symbolic and civilizing role to play, as different from misusing the arts to contribute to the miseries of modernity (thinking of some recent discussions about opera productions). The arts are there to reinforce our sense of humanity and culture, and to inspire our civilization to fight for it.

  • “Keep calm and carry on”, as the British government said in 1939, to prepare people for the war and the bombings.
    This is even more true today.
    Some years ago, here in Paris, Alain Minc, influential French businessman and political writer, said we were entering “the Israeli lifestyle”. (That was before the wall was built.)

      • There will be many millions of people in Europe and Scandinavia who will be shocked and who didn’t ask for the horde from an alien culture thrust upon them by serial compassionistas and the human rights bullies at the UN. I feel for these people.

        • Just scrolling up, there are comparisons being made to other atrocities in history going back to the fire of London and citing other relatively recent terrorist groups. OK, let us not forget other insane ideologies like Communism for which people were not only willing to sacrifice themselves for but massacre as many as they could, for which the sum total still can’t be estimated except. give a few million plus or minus.
          However, that is history, folks, this present danger is what we have to deal with NOW. It’s like let’s cry for the victims, vow never again, light candles, have a moment of silence and a few days of mourning, leaders making impassioned speeches, but it is only until the next time. 32,000 or so were terror victims by that group in 2014. 2015 was slightly less, but 2016 should not sit back and think it is going to stop. All one needs to do is view the recent continuing atrocities and derive an intelligent conclusion, like what group is responsible for them and to confront the reality of the pressing need to do something about it, NOW:

  • Interesting, neither did the BBC, CNN or any of the international news stations mentioned the attack in Istanbul a couple days before killed Israelis after stalking them. They said “foreigners died”. Attacks on airports and airplanes going back 40 years or so, were actually invented by a certain group. Knowing some history helps to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated incidents.
    Some people hate the Western way of life even when they benefit from it. They sure spoiled travelling for civilized folk, that’s for sure!

    • I would think the travel industry, over time, will be severely impacted in Europe and Scandinavia from now on. It will leave the folks free to celebrate cultural diversity on their own, which is fair.

  • Allow more refugees into your country and then turn a blind eye to what you have done, then what do you expect?

  • Absence of shock? This article was written early in the day, since then a shockwave of horror has engulfed the world.
    Even so much that one may wonder why in the West the reaction to recent attacks in Ankara and Istanbul was much less massive.

    To Oscar and the such, or at least all of you who are British or American. Not wanting to deny anything of the personal responsibility of the criminal perpetrators of today, the British and the Americans are the last to be able to criticise the Middle-East given the hands covered with shit they have had themselves in the misery. Starting with the imperialist divide and rule enterprises of the British from the end o the 19th century on via the misguided and misled invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • “Starting with the imperialist divide and rule enterprises of the British from the end of the 19th century on via the misguided and misled invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.”

      That might, or might not, explain what is happening in Europe now, although we don’t appear to have a problem with Indian Hindu or Chinese terrorism.

      Looking further afield, what is your lazy explanation for the thousands killed in S Thailand, for example?

  • What is unfair, is that this war started by the US is not coming back home, but back to Europe.
    To say it with the words of former US presidential adviser Zbigniev Brzezinski, the man who masterminded the creation and support of the international Jihadists, these are just “a few stirred up muslims” who in his words were a small price to pay for the US victory in the cold war.

    • 100% agreed. However, you will not find a single British or EU newspaper with the courage to say so at present. They are all far too busy sucking up to Ashton Carter, and reporting his words as though the sun shone out of his posterior.

      Brussels, of course, is not only the headquarters of the unwanted idiots of the European Union.

      What Europe’s mass media do not dare to mention, of course, is that it houses the Supreme Headquarters of another utterly useless and overpaid organisation – NATO. Supposedly an organisation looking after security.

      But where is the Norwegian Neonazi Nutter? The man who heads the organisation with entirely *failed* to prevent a few loonies with parcel-bombs from murdering innocent people?? Jens Stoltenberg is in… Latvia, where he is busy rehearsing WW3 with Russia – or “Operation Arctic Force”, as Norway’s No1 psychopath names it. How much has this ‘exercise’ cost the nations of Europe. Jens Loony Stoltenberg will not say. And has NATO made them any safer this week, while they pick up the bill to see this Nordic Nincompoop careen around the Baltic States on a bobsleigh??

      Here’s the biggest terrorist in Europe. An overpaid, violent, pig-ignorant psychopathic warmonger, who loves the sound of his own voice pumping out threats and demands. This is what needs to GO. And soon.

    • You can go and blame the US, still on the top of the list with the most victims on any one date, Sept. 11, 2001, but Europe and Britain are suffering from a malaise that has deeper roots, unmitigated guilt from centuries of colonialism. The current beneficiaries living in the mother countries know how to play upon that violin and sing that song of exploitation and grievance. As long as this sick dynamic is not recognized and acted upon, they will continue their atrocities and expect to be excused like errant kids or battering spouses.

  • If we keep looking for “root causes” of every atrocity and continue explaining away every murder as a “response” to someone else’s previous actions, we might never stop going back in history until we arrive at creation of this planet a few billion years ago. When innocent people are murdered, the only blame for it belongs to those who murdered them. If this principle is applied to unintended loss of civilian lives, then it should even more justifiably be applied to intentional mass murders of innocents.

  • Golda Meir once said “The worst thing is not that the arabs are killing our kids, the worst is they are forcing us to kill their kids”. There will be a backlash against the muslim scourge all through the Western world, and the greatest muslim crime historically (rather than “just” murdering a few thousand people here and there) will be the brutalization of the Western societies and a rollback of democracy as a result of the struggle for sheer survival. The West will eventually prevail, but at what cost?

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