I live in London and I’m going on a city break to Brussels this month.
I got thinking about this after two police officers outside Buckingham Palace in London were injured by a man with a large knife on the same night (August 25) that soldiers on patrol in Brussels were attacked, also by a knifeman.
Both incidents are being treated as suspected acts of terrorism.
These events follow horrific incidents in recent months and years throughout Europe, in places that feel very close to home. London, Brussels, Manchester, Barcelona, Paris, Nice, Stockholm and Berlin have all been targeted.
But we can’t let the terrorists change our way of lives; that’s what they want. We must keep doing what we want to do in our home cities and go on holidays, supporting our fellow Europeans and their cultures and economies.
We didn’t stop going to concerts after the Bataclan or Manchester Arena attacks, although a lot of us certainly felt more afraid by the concept. It’s hard not to, when 90 people can be killed by gunmen at one concert venue, like in the Bataclan horror, or when other terrorists will deliberately target a concert largely attended by young girls, like the Ariana Grande gig. But we can’t give up on live music or the way it makes us feel united, as that’s exactly what we need right now.
When I first heard about a new terrorism incident in Brussels, I was worried and scared. There have been other attacks there too, most notably at the airport and Maelbeek metro station in March 2016, killing 32 people. It hits home when you know you’ll soon be deliberately travelling to that very area.
London is scary too but we have to be brave and continue to put ourselves out there. If I couldn’t go to the O2 Arena or a West End show or walk over one of our beautiful bridges, what’s the point in living all squashed up in this amazing (but expensive and dirty) city?
And, not to put a downer on your day, but we’re all still more likely to die in a car crash anyway – your chances are 1 in 200 in the UK (source) compared to a 1 in 964,531 chance of dying in a UK terror attack (source).
So I’ll go on holiday to Brussels in a few weeks with loads of excitement, alongside a reasonable amount of caution, in my heart.
And I’ll remember the spirit of this fantastic piece by Manchester Evening News editor Rob Irvine after the awful terror attack. “We can show the terrorists who want to destroy our way of life that they can never win.”