A violent slap generated by the hatred the Daesh feeds for societies founded on rights and freedom. Multiple attacks have caused dozens of victims and injured many people in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and headquarters of the EU institutions. A symbolic city that became a target after having been a safe haven for generations of terrorists of jihadist inspiration of years. Here, in the Molenbeek district, lived the two assailants who had killed commander Massoud in Afghanistan two days before the attacking the US on September 11, 2001. Here, the widow of one of them continued to weave a recruiting network first for Al Qaeda, then for the Caliphate.
A blow to security. Belgium proved to be unwarlike against terrorism. It is a matter of fact. Salah Abdeslam, the mastermind behind the Paris Attacks of November 13, has been living undisturbed till now, protected by a network which allowed him to plan the attacks that yesterday covered the city with blood and spread fear in Belgium and in the whole Europe. Belgian secret service has been unable to track him down, to find out his moves, basically they have disregarded the unambiguous signals and the reports of the Italian and French intelligence. An awkward antiterrorism service that had first allowed the sought-after terrorist, then, after his arrest, has not closed in on his accomplices. Thus, the latter have been able to realize their deadly plan. Multiple attacks that have become the Daesh’s trademark, in which the use of kamikazes is fundamental. A technique that allows to control its men and reinforce leadership inside the group, besides having a devastating military effect. It is difficult to prevent suicide bombers. It is not easy to single them out and it entails high risks.
A lesson for Europe that, from Brussels, penalizes countries that do not respect economic rules, but does not do the same for the security and protection of the citizens. Sanctions to defend finance, but no measures for the States that raise walls and offend the principles of solidarity and freedom, values EU claims to herald. Europe dithers in its fight against terrorism: a lot of information is not shared and sometimes it is even disregarded all together. International politics is not effective against the centers of terror and those of the Caliphate. In this scenario of widespread fear and fragility, Italy plays an important role because thanks to a tragic history it can count on high-level counterterrorism specialists with first-order intelligence services. Our country has learned a lot over the past few years of Palestinian attacks and the array of domestic terrorism. After the Fiumicino airport attack of December 1988, the security measures were reorganized and structured on levels of attention and Israel’s security services, five years after the attack that caused some victims among the citizens of the Jewish state, promoted the Roman airport.
Today no one can feel safe because the new threats arrive from terrorists whose goal is to spread fear and death, even if it is their own. The ultimate goal is not conquering territory, but rather the destruction of the way of life that promotes freedom and shared rights. It is not a religious issue as some people try to argue: we are facing a nihilistic ideology that exploits faith to give value to its barbaric actions condemned by the same creed. Security forces are able to contain and minimize this threat with prevention and control measures on the territory, factors that were missing in Belgium, and all of us can see the consequences.
A warning for all the xenophobes who promote walls, who do not see that the terrorists were born and grew up in our cities. A lesson for the oracles who exploit bloodsheds to sow hatred. Our safety springs from a society based on sharing, not from an individualistic and selfish one that complains and points its fingers at the other, the different, while contributing at the same time with its indifference to the development of countries where terror is nourished and cultivated. In a globalized world we cannot ignore what is happening across the border and overseas. Everything is connected, everything becomes propaganda against or in favor.
We want safety, but we are not willing to give up on anything. Against Isis terrorists we do not have to sacrifice our habits, but it does not mean we cannot sacrifice bits of freedom and privacy. A little more controls, a little more attention, and less shallowness helps that shared security that is at the basis of proximity policing to ensure a more effective prevention.
The Daesh does not strike symbolic goals anymore, but people. It wants to unravel our way of life built on rights, freedom, and excess, but which guarantees the same opportunities to everyone, regardless of their religion, race, or wealth. At least, that is the goal of the Human Rights Charter, on which our nations are based.