I try to use this space to share beauty and inspiration. To hold back the tide of ugly and evil. Today I'm taking a break from my usual programming to share a bit of frustration.
Living in Amsterdam is living in a central hub of Europe. Just two hours in a plane will get you most anywhere you'd like to reach in Europe. Three hours by train and you're in Paris. Two hours by train and you're in Brussels. I have a very visceral sense that someone is attacking my neighbors. It might as well be the house next to me.
Each time an attack like this happens, all of Europe is in an uproar. We are distraught. We are devastated. Politicians and world leaders condemn the acts. And then everyone goes back to their daily lives. Until the next attack. Almost forgetting all about it. After all, blood stains wash out eventually.
We forget that in some places terror attacks are a daily occurrence. We forget that they can happen in any place at any time.
Unless we finally stand up and do something about it.
I am sick and tired of turning on the news to tragedy.
Instead of using strong, stern language and rhetoric as a protection, why don't we do what needs to be done. We have the illusion of security rather than actual security. Like a child hiding under a blanket, and thinking they are safe. Meanwhile, there are simple, practical steps we can take to protect ourselves and our citizens.
I've traveled through airports where bags and passengers are screened before entering the building. I've seen racial profiling save lives. I've waited for hours at airport security and border crossings and watched certain people be rejected, not allowed in based on their passport, travel history, or attitude.
But the opposite is also true. In other places, I know a dozen different stories of friends and family accidentally bringing a forbidden item through security. It happens all the time. I've crossed borders that barely even glance at my passport. On one memorable trip, no one bothered to check if the name on my passport matched the one on my ticket.
Travel and free movement are not rights. They are privileges. Acting as if free movement is a human right endangers everyone.
I'm baffled by my peers who campaign for campaign for socialism, political correctness, and equality. I'm baffled by the laws of countries which make it a crime for me to defend myself using a tool like pepper spray.
As a woman, as a human being, I don't feel safe. Every time I leave my house I'm looking over my shoulder and scanning my surroundings. I avoid crowded areas and tourist attractions. Every time I hear sirens, I wonder if my city has finally been hit.
I'm tired of living this way. It is long past time that Europe and the world at large woke up and did something other than welcoming with open arms the people trying to kill us.