Is Our Era of Peace About To End?

Places with Islamic terror attacks since 2011

At around 2 PM last Monday, I got a worried text from my sister which read “Blasts in Brussels!”. I was driving at that time — on my way to pick up our (me and my wife’s) passports with Schengen Visa issued through the Belgian embassy. Our upcoming vacation plan started and ended in Brussels.

I was assaulted by a mixture of emotions. After the initial shock came waves of intense anger. In that one moment I was blind to rationality, logic or calmness — it’s the sort of rage that comes out of fear, frustration and bewilderment.

I sent a quick note to the Airbnb host we were staying with in Brussels checking if he was alright. Then, intermittently through the day, I continued following the news to see what was happening. I was hoping that there wasn’t more to come.

Then came a disconnected moment of shame when I realized that the blast had such a big impact on me only because of my impending vacation.

An attack like this would have captured my attention, shocked me and saddened me momentarily. But, in a distant way — somewhere in the world there was an attack. It would have been a brutal reminder of the danger we all live under. But then I’d move on with life, the incident shelved under yet another global terrorist strike.

When I heard about the attack, my first thought was — how bad is it? Second thought — Will we be able to make the trip? And the third thought — Will we be racially profiled because we are brown?

And in the third question lies a portending of the next decade for the world which is going to become a dangerous place.