Ah, Beautiful Brussels, Belgium

Brussels 128Belgium has always been one of my favorite European countries, and Brussels … architecture, history, chocolate, beer, warm and friendly people … who couldn’t fall in love with Brussels?

And now this.

What appears to be an organized band of terrorists bent on destruction and destroying whatever they can, all in a distorted version of one of the world’s oldest religions.  What kind of religion seeks destruction and bloodbaths?  May the true followers of Muhammad, blessed be his name, rise up in the name of Allah, and decry and isolate those who would destroy everyone and everything, including Muslims, in their terrorist bloodbaths.

Brussels 098The very nature of this enemy means that this will be a long, protracted, and ongoing war waged by people who want to destroy everything that the rest of the world holds dear.  It will not be easy.  Leadership in this struggle should not be given to hotheads or demigods.

What has happened and is happening in Brussels, and in the rest of Europe, does not bode well for the European cruise season.  The next few days are going to be challenging for cruise lines as they try to revise itineraries to go only to perceived “safe” areas of the world, as if there are any.

What has been interesting to me over the past several months is to watch the increase in visitors to this blog from European nations, already struggling with the Euro, and the meaning of and future of the European Union, who are now wrestling with home-grown terrorists.  I think Panama is, and will increasingly be perceived as a safe haven not only for money (since we use the US dollar, generally perceived to be one of the world’s safest and most stable currencies), but also for personal safety.  Yes, we’ve seen an uptick in gang-related crime and violence which will be an issue for all of Latin America until the US abandons it’s long-failed “War on Drugs,” decriminalizes and regulates now illegal drugs, and removes the financial incentive.  But, thankfully, Panama is a safe democracy (granted, challenged a bit by the greed of a former president), where all religions live and worship peacefully.

Brussels 110The people of Brussels have gotten through invasions, occupations and wars, and have survived, and they will get through this.   But our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Belgium.

Terrorists can strike anywhere and anytime.  It is the new and very uncomfortable reality of our world.  But if we just stay home and limit our communications with others to texting and the Internet we are just giving up and letting the terrorists win.

[Pictures we taken while on a ship tour of Brussels May 2015]

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