Last week in her regular WPR column, World Citizen, Frida Ghitis presciently called attention to the threat that Pakistani-based terrorist networks pose to Europe. Today, police in Brussels arrested what is being reported as an al-Qaida linked terrorist cell after one of the fourteen people under surveillance, who had arrived last week from either Pakistan or Afghanistan, recorded a last testament video and bid farewell to his family. The arrests come on the eve of an EU heads of state summit, and although the police are unsure whether the summit was targeted, the risk it posed led them to accelerate the arrests.
I admit that back when I was living in a small village in the South of France where, depending on the time of year, there were more sheep than people, I used to read about this sort of development with a bit of detachment. Wrongly, because the village was well within the fallout range of any attack on the nuclear reactors three hours drive away. But suffice it to say, the place wouldn’t place high on a list of strategic targets.
Now I’m in Paris, taking the Metro every day, and just this evening found myself giving the twice-over to a guy who had obviously received some sort of military training that, judging from the way he was dressed, had not been state-sponsored. And that was before I saw this story tonight.
Then I realized that no terrorist would blow himself up during off-peak hours when the subway is empty, and stopped worrying. The thoughts that cross our minds during the evening commute, circa 2008.