Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Dull Winter in Brussels

Winter hasn't yet hit Brussels. At least, we have not seen snow, for now. Often a welcome distraction that pulls you and those around you out of the daily struggles for survival. Of course, many will label it an unwelcome mess. A boring nuisance. Especially in a city like Brussels where taking yourself from place to place by foot and by subway is the easiest.

But not for those who live on the streets of the capitals of Europe and depend on the Soup-counters or food distributors across the city. Beggars in the city, they are there. The homeless. Occasionally you see a report on tv about their plight and their stories. I remember a recent tv report from Liège where the city government had made a 'beggar zone' regulation. Staring in the ugly face of their daily struggle, their history.

And if the weather is boring, at least the terrorist threat has increased police and army presence across the city. Some say it would make more sense to deploy some soldiers to Central Africa. I don't know. I note. And sip my Marie Dufau wich, by the way, does NOT improve in the bottle. For a splitsecond I imagine myself a Bolchevik at the Winter Palace in 1917, "I know it is kinda cold outside".

Whether we are longing for a good storm to ride out, or just hunting for the right café or some cheap restaurant in Bruxelles I, regretting our bad choices or cursing our fate, there still are lessons to be learned, excentrics to be observed. Will we be able to discover Brussels?

We still have a race to run and a battle to win. Not a war against exotic ennemies far away. No heroic greek struggles against imagined beasts of mythical proportions. No high waves of wild seas that threaten to throw us on unknown shores. No! We are in a fierce battle to pierce the surface, to embrace opposition as true friendship. Will we engage, will we build our working concept. Will we feel the excitement? It is not a given. It is never a given. Will Providence guide us? Will we be able to acknowledge, when this dull winter is over, that this race is not to the swift? And that this battle is not to the strong?

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