I live in Brussels. From my apartment I can see the Maalbeek metro stop which saw the horror of ISIS on Tuesday. By Martin Griffiths
Swift on the heels of the attacks in Brussels yesterday, comes the easy condemnation from various commentators that Belgium is not competent on this matter.
Leave off now.
I live in Brussels. From my apartment I can see the Maalbeek metro stop which saw the horror of ISIS on Tuesday. I listened to the sirens which sounded all day as the police flooded the streets. I walked past the injured as these same officials cared for them. But let me be clear: The Belgian police are not the problem. ISIS is.
I know very well how difficult it is to make sure that intelligence flows freely and effectively. I know first hand how difficult it is to make sure different organisations coordinate their efforts instead of competing for resources. After all, in my life I have worked both for my own Government and for the United Nations. I know official frailties.
But today is not the day to distract ourselves from the real problem. The problem is not the muddle of Belgian bureaucracy. It is the anger of our disempowered citizens - and the truly evil way in which ISIS exploits this opportunity.
Europe is at an all time low. We seem to be unable to deal with the refugee crisis. We seem to be unable to agree on the values which underpin our approach to this challenge. We fail to reconcile our polarised societies. And trust in Europe's capabilities to generate positive change is at an all time low.
We know that we have a potent enemy at our gates. It is an enemy which has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with distress and resentment. It is an enemy which preys upon our weaknesses and our differences. Make no mistake, ISIS loves to hear us say that Belgian officials are to be condemned for this week's outrages.
We need to accept that we are engaged in a fundamentally important effort to recover our values, to stick to them and to praise them. This does not include blaming ourselves. It does mean supporting our faltering efforts to do the right, to complement the police efforts and listen to those who understand that peace is as simple as it is complex.