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Brussels – How to Make Jokes About Terror

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016
Category: Blog, News

This week, on ‘United States of Europe’ – 

Terror attacks in Paris, then in Brussels… is Amsterdam next? On behalf of Amsterdam, I’ll point out Luxembourg is lovely this time of year!

Is it too soon to make jokes about terror attacks? Diplomacy dictates: When in Europe, do as the Europeans do. And in Brussels they started making jokes almost immediately. 

It wasn’t so much terror as it was defiance, summed up by a hashtag. Not ‘JeSuisCharlie, but #JeSuisSickofthisShit.

Or as the sign says at Zaventem Airport: ‘Stop killing people you fucking twats.’

It’s one thing to tweet that. But you’ve got to appreciate the old-school dedication. Someone must have thought: ‘Am I really painting the words You fucking twats? Yeah, I have enough paint.’

Of course it was awful. And of course we mourn the victims. And of course various EU countries attempted to light up their monuments in the colors of the Belgian flag.
…Unfortunately, one of the Belgian colors is black.
And so the Eiffel Tower showed up in what was really just red & yellow, leading many tourists to believe it was a celebration of European condiments.

Happy Ketchup & Mustard Day!Happy Kethcup & Mustard Day!
And of course online there was the usual round of grief-shaming.

FB Brussels Grief Shaming

“Sympathy for Brussels? Why not Ankara as well? Fuck you and your grief, you hypocrite!”

And there was the usual round of grief heightening until – again – we’re literally praying for ‘the world.’

FB Pray forWorld

OR – we could use humor, which is kind of the opposite of terror.
In fact, if Belgians are able to use humor at all, I think we can refer to the terror attacks as failed terror attacks. Or just ‘attacks.’

And of course there was the new round of people asking ‘Is this the new normal?’
PS – it has been, since the Anarchists in the 1800s, the IRA in the 1970s, the Basque Separatists…
List of non-state terror attacks since 1800

And the more often this happens the less we’re – whats the word – terrified.

YET according to the statistics, W Europe is safer now than in the 1970s.
W. Europe Safer than in 1970s

OR – according to this link
Never Mind the headlines. We’ve Never Lived in Safer Times
– or my meme: you are less likely to die a violent death than at any point in human history.

And I also made this meme misquoting Gandhi:

Making jokes about terror is not only appropriate; it’s necessary.