The Cost Of Terror In Brussels

Brussels 5Brussels, the heart of Belgium’s capital in the night

Article originally published in Global Risks Insight: Know Your World

Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union, is experiencing some immediate economic effects resulting from recent terror threats in 2015. This city’s experience may prove to be a blueprint for other cities in 2016.

Following the deadly terrorist attacks that shocked France and the world on November 13th 2015, the global attention turned to Brussels as the majority of the Islamist militants that took part in the French massacre had links to the European capital. In addition, in late November Belgian authorities temporarily raised the terrorist threat level to its highest tier given the presence of a reportedly imminent terrorist threat.

This led to substantial disruptions in the capital in what came to be defined as “Brussels Lockdown”. The terrorist threat again came as an obstacle to the normal life of Brussels’ residents when authorities banned all public New Year’s Eve festivities on December 31st because of a reported plan to carry out an attack in the capital.

This prolonged state of insecurity has had a negative impact on the economic and social life of the capital. Since November 2015, Brussels, along with other European capitals, has been experiencing first-hand the cost of terror. The most overt statistics pertaining to touristic activities, social outings, and public gatherings show a general change in the perception of the city and an overall evolution in the local mood.

Throughout the duration of the “Brussels Lockdown”, thousands of travellers planning to reach the capital cancelled their flights. At the highest point of this trend, more than 2,000 flight cancellations were recorded on November 25th. While this push to avoid Brussels slowly stopped after the terrorist threat level was lowered, there were in average 6,000 flights per day to Brussels in early December 2015, approximately 1,500 less than in the same period of 2014.

A similar trend has been verified for the overall occupation rate of hotels in the capital. In early December, approximately 55% of Brussels’ hotel rooms were occupied against more than 73% during the same period of 2014.

Ubiquitous precautions

This situation had a direct impact on the economic and social life of the European capital throughout the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. The annual Christmas market organised and held in the historical centre of Brussels has experienced a drop in attendance of more than 30%. In addition, New Year’s Eve saw a major drop in demand for restaurant bookings and, as such, at least one out of every two restaurants in the capital closed their doors on the last night of 2015.

The aforementioned statistics are only an initial effect of the impact that the emergence of a new terror threat is having on western European economies. The Belgian example is noteworthy as local security and intelligence agencies have so far been successful in countering the threat posed by Islamist militants, and no major mass-casualty attack has occurred in the country.

However, the enhanced presence of military personnel in the streets of Brussels as well as the ongoing discourse over the current will of terrorist organisations to target the capital led to a mood change among the local population. The fear of potential attacks is playing as a long-term obstacle to private expenditures, tourism and the participation in major public social events.

As such, beyond the immediate security concerns raised by the risk of terrorist attacks, public officials face the need to adapt the ongoing counter-terrorist strategy in order not to hinder the socio-economic life of western European countries.

http://globalriskinsights.com/2016/01/the-cost-of-terror-in-brussels/

Africans In China: A Sociocultural Study And Its Implications On Africa-China Relations

While there is much discussion on Africa-China relations, the focus tends to lean more on the Chinese presence in Africa than on the African presence in China. There are numerous studies on the former but, with the exception of a few articles on the presence of African traders and students in China, little is known of the latter, even though an increasing number of Africans are visiting and settling in China and forming migrant communities there.

Honk 2

This is a phenomenon that has never happened before the turn of the century and has thus led to what is often termed Africa’s newest Diaspora. This book focuses on analyzing this new Diaspora, addressing the crucial question: What is it like to be an African in China? Africans in China is the first book-length study of the process of Africans travelling to China and forming communities there.

Based on innovative intermingling of qualitative and quantitative research methods involving prolonged interaction with approximately 800 Africans across six main Chinese cities–Guangzhou, Yiwu, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Macau–sociolinguistic and sociocultural profiles are constructed to depict the everyday life of Africans in China.

The study provides insights into understanding issues such as why Africans go to China, what they do there, how they communicate with their Chinese hosts, what opportunities and problems they encounter in their China sojourn, and how they are received by the Chinese state. Beyond these methodological and empirical contributions, the book also makes a theoretical contribution by proposing a cross-cultural bridge theory of migrant-indigene relations, arguing that Africans in China act as sociopolitical, socioeconomic, and sociocultural bridges linking Africa to China.

This approach to the analysis of Diaspora communities has consequences for crosscultural and crosslinguistic studies in an era of globalization. Africans in China is an important book for African Studies, Asian Studies, Africa-China relations studies, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, international studies, and migration and Diaspora studies in an era of globalization.

The Author

Adam 5
Adams Bodomo is Professor of African Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. He founded and directed the African Studies Programme at the University of Hong Kong where he has taught for more than 15 years in various programmes such as Linguistics, Cognitive Science, and African Studies.
           His first book, The Structure of Dagaare (CSLI Press, Stanford University, 1997), is a pioneering work on the grammatical system of the Dagaare language, spoken in the Upper West region of Ghana where he was born. His other major works include Computer-mediated Communication for Linguistics and Literacy, one of the first books on the emergent field of computer-mediated communication, and Africans in China, a pioneering sociocultural study of the African presence in comtemporary China.
            In addition to books he has published in leading journals of Linguistics, African, Asian and Global Studies such as Linguistic Inquiry, Lingua, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, African Studies, African Diaspora, China Quarterly, and China Review. He is on the editorial boards of several journals including Studies in African Linguistics, Internaional Journal of Web-based Learning and Teaching, and the Journal of African – American Studies.
             He has received several prestigious fellowships,such as the Stanford Humanities International Scholar Award and visiting professorships such as a professorship at the prestigious Bayreuth Graduate School of African Studies in Germany. Professor Bodomo loves distance running, hiking, or just relaxing at home or in a pub over an exciting game of soccer.