I spent this week lost in an influenza delirium. I didn’t check email. I didn’t read the news. I barely left bed.
Then I got up and turned on my laptop to learn the terrible news from Brussels: Another ISIS-directed terrorist attack on a soft European target.
There are tears streaming down my cheeks as I write this, collecting on my hands and keyboard as I feverishly try to make this post into something vaguely coherent. Dozens are dead in Brussels, after a bombing in Ankara two weeks ago left 37 dead and, of course, the November Paris attacks killed 130.
Think of not just the dead and wounded, but all the lives irrevocably changed because of this — the kids, siblings, parents, friends. An attack like this affects thousands — the official casualty count is but the tip of the iceberg. The pain, suffering and anxiety will be felt across Belgium, Turkey and France for decades.
How can anyone make sense of these tragedies? What is coherent about human beings blowing themselves up in order to kill and maim as many fellow human beings as possible?
I don’t know, but it leaves me feeling helpless, wondering, “What the hell can I do?” I’m not a soldier. I’m not an intelligence officer. I’m not Belgium. I’m not Muslim. I’m a father, husband, travel writer, American. What can I do?
My thoughts land on only one option: Go to Europe.
I’ll go to Europe to show I’m unafraid, that I won’t be cowed by a small number of perverted extremists. I’ll go to Europe to show my solidarity with our European brethren. I’ll go to Europe to visit my friends, sight-see, hike, ride trains. I’ll go to Europe just like I always do precisely because ISIS thinks they can scare people like me away.
I’ll go to Europe because that’s what I do, and no terrorists brainwashed by a twisted ideology masquerading as Islam will ever change that.
It’s all I can really do. I just wish it were enough.