Brussels

Tourists and shoppers walk down a main street in Brussels last month.

Credit:

Jeb Sharp

We talk a lot in our newsroom about the differing amounts of coverage and attention various atrocities receive around the world and why that is and what we should be vigilant about in our coverage.

It’s a useful and important conversation.

And then, there’s just the way you feel when a bomb goes off in a place you know.

I’ve been to Brussels twice on reporting trips since the Paris attacks in November. Both times I’ve met wonderful, generous people from a wide variety of backgrounds, all tussling with the big questions of the day and learning to live in a place where it feels as if more than one war has come home to roost.

So when I saw the alert on my phone this morning as I stepped out of bed on my way to make coffee, I felt quite literally sick to my stomach.

It just hits you harder when you can visualize the place and its people. Brussels is a place I’ve been falling in love with — for all sorts of reasons: its old world charm, its cafe culture, its jumbled, complicated politics, its rich mix of inhabitants. The idea that mass murderers are lurking among them is devastating. As it was here in Boston in April 2013. As it was in Istanbul this past weekend.

Today I’m thinking of the victims and their families, and of all the Belgians and expats who have shared pieces of their Brussels with me over the past few months. They are all living with a sobering new normal. 

 

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