Wednesday, March 23, 2016


I'm talking to an older man today, working through some of his grief issues, and he looks up and says, "And this thing in Belgium doesn't help."
Solidarity with Brussels

What thing in Belgium?

It was one of those mornings-- on the phone when I would normally hear the news driving to work. Missed it.

The grief patient tells me about the terrorist attack, that it hit the airport, the train. Public trans, soft targets.

I don't tell him that I have been in Brussels Airport, that I've slept there, prayed there. A long stop-over, going home from someplace else. It is an odd feeling, knowing that this is a hotbed of anti-Jewish feeling, and that Belgium opened its doors wide to its enemies, welcomed them.

They have cots at the airport, and quiet places to think.

Memories of a different chapel for each faith, too, along with your typical book and magazine vendors. We buy small toys, candy. There's a crowd at the terminal, attendants in red, things are clean.

At the time we worried about Ebola. Many Africans travel to Texas via Chicago via Belgium. There had been a case. The man sitting next to FD doesn't look well, covers his face the entire flight.
Brussels Airport synagogue, mosque, and graphic novels

We didn't worry about ISIS in 2014.

I didn't have to share about this, the Brussels airport. Why write about an airport? A perfectly good post awaits publication for this week, one about humor, racism, high functioning autism, and the Jewish holiday, Purim. The desire to share, however, is associated, maybe, with our need to connect emotionally, in this case to show solidarity with people who have been attacked, bullied in a very big way. There aren't that many ways to show outrage, short of filtering our Facebook profile ppic with the Belgian flag. We saw this after Paris, French flags.

And there's something else. People want to connect with people who have a connection, even a weak connection, to big events. When Paris reeled from terrorism, one of my French patients told me that people she hadn't talked to for years, people she didn't especially want to talk to, called to show solidarity, to wish her and her family well.

We just want to huddle together when we feel powerless, be in one space, share our concern. And the overwhelming feeling, at this point in time, is powerlessness, and the Internet that shared place. Can we stop the meshuganah kups (sounds like meh-shuhg-in-uh cups, means not quite right in the head), a Yiddish expression my father would have used to describe ISIS warriors?

Of course, but how soon?

I asked FD a question. How does a late night TV host go on tonight, someone like Stephen Colbert, paid to be funny, how does he do it?  I can't even watch to find out. FD agrees, you don't watch, don't care to find out. He is solemn.

Tomorrow is a fast day for Jews. It precedes the holiday of Purim, a very festive, happy holiday, and hopefully I will post about it, and how it ties into humor, racism, and high functioning autism. But it might not be very funny, is the truth.


1 comment:

Kaasmuis said...

As a Belgian follower this post warms my heart...

Better Things-- Seeing Ghosts