(Thank you to the originator of this image on Facebook: no copyright infringement intended).
A very different topic for my blog today. It is difficult to know where to begin.
Belgium has been my home for many years. It's a place I chose to settle in, and start a family. My family is a mixed nationality family; I am British, my wife is French and my daughter was born in Belgium. In all the years I've lived here one of the biggest attractions has always been that there was such diversity here. Many of our friends are from multinational families, races, and religions. Belgium despite it's linguistic divisions, for me has always been a country on inclusion.
Yesterday's attacks in Brussels leave me with a huge sense of sadness. Brussels Airport is somewhere I am very familiar with. In fact I was there just 36 hours before the attack. I walked past the departure hall. I walked past those check in rows, I walked past the Starbucks. I was greeted at the "Kiss and Drive" by my wife and daughter. We were everyday people, going about our everyday business, just like those people killed and injured yesterday in the attacks.
Just like Paris in November, Brussels and Belgium will go through much soul searching in the coming days and months. I come from a country and a generation that had to endure the threat of domestic terrorism. Belgium is having to learn very fast. But believe me when I tell you, don't underestimate Belgium or the Belgiums. They won't stop living. They won't give in to fear. This is the country that loves it's beer, french fries, and chocolate. It is a country where strangers will share a joke whilst queuing at the checkout. It is a country where "Carnival" is a national holiday. It is a country where the people have no heirs or graces...and its a country where fundamentally the people look out for one another and are good neighbours. My passport may same I'm British, but my heart is with my extended Belgium family.
You are in my thoughts and and I am deeply saddened.