Belgium Learns The Hard Way After Terrorist Attacks

Died 1Adelma Tapia Ruiz, 37, died at Brussels airport while her husband and twin daughters played nearby.

“If a blind man says he going to throw a stone at you, don’t laugh at him. He has one under his foot.” That’s a Ghanaian proverb.

One of my priorities in Belgium sixteen years ago was to integrate properly, have a good communication skills, just  to be productive and efficient in the society. But I realized that the biggest problem in Belgium is ‘Underestimation of foreigners, especially Africans.”

Underestimation and discrimination go together. It is a universal problem but I believe its heavier in Belgium than any country in the world, even though I haven’t been to the four corners of the globe.

If Belgium had put away underestimation, the recent terrorist attacks at Brussels’ Zaventem Airport and the Metro stations could have been prevented. I guessed that attacks shocked the entire nation and questioned their security strength.

During the days of terrorist Osama Bin Laden, Belgium received a threat of invasion and destruction. Instead of taking this treat serious, in one of Belgium’s newspapers  was the response that: “Belgium is too small that Osama Bin Laden can’t find the country on the map.” Evidence of Belgium’s attitude of underestimation.

Before and after the Paris attacks, there were similar messages from various terrorist groups to infiltrate Belgium and cause destruction, yet the Belgian government ignored those warnings and waited till three bomb attacks  killing thirty-two and injuring many people in the three bomb attacks at Brussels’ airport and Maelbeek Metro station.

Underestimation can be part of the words in the dictionary, but it shouldn’t be practical or attitude, because, in Ghana, there is another proverb which says: “The river you don’t respect is exactly what will carry you away.”

 

Sierra Leone Embassy In Belgium Helps Nationals Caught Up In Brussels’ Airport Attack

S.E. Ibrahim Sorie, Chef de la mission de la Sierra Leone auprès de l'UE, à droite, et José Manuel Barroso

H.E. Ambassador, Ibrahim Sorie, Head of the Mission of Sierra Leone to the EU, on the right, and José Manuel Barroso

Information from Chernor Ojuku Sesay, Press attaché Sierra Leone Embassy Belgium.

The Diplomatic staff at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Brussels, led by  the head of the Chancery Mrs Florence Bangalie, embarked on a mission to locate the whereabouts of the evacuated Sierra Leoneans, following the bomb attacks at Brussels’ Airport.

The evacuated passengers, both outbound and inbound have been relocated to three different places in Antwerp, Vilvoorde and Leuven.

The Brussels Airline management provided buses for the stranded passengers to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and Paris airports, where arrangements were made to fly them to different destinations.

The passengers were without luggage. In the confusion which ensued following the unexpected bomb explosion, many lost personal items, including laptops, ipads etc.

The embassy painstakingly assisted some the stranded Sierra Leoneans by providing travelling documents that will enable them to proceed further to Freetown.

Those without Schengen visas were not allowed to move out of the camps. They were requested to stay calm as they await escorts  to either Germany, Holland  or France to join other flights.

There were rumours that Sierra Leoneans were among the dead and injured. This is too early to be confirmed by the embassy and the Belgian rescue team hasn’t provided any concrete information yet.

This detailed information might be released before the end of the week. The embassy will keep you posted on any further development.

Sierra Leoneans around the world, including the Belgium branch of the APC party, are deeply saddened by this tragedy and wish to send their sympathy and condolences to the injured and families of those that lost their loved ones.