Former spokesman of Brussels Airport reacts sharply to the attacks


On Facebook, Jan Van der Cruysse (55) for the first time Friday responded to the attacks of last Tuesday. Van der Cruysse was from 1994 to 2014 spokesman of Brussels Airport and is therefore greatly affected after the terrible terrorist acts. Belgian newspaper De Morgen decided – with permission – to post his integral and unchanged response.

Unfathomable emptiness, raw pain. That’s what everyone who works or worked at the airport feels. I was there intensely involved for 25 years and must today fight tears as soon as I about a word to say. So unreal. I am at present physically affected. Jetlag, laryngitis, splitting headache, emotion.

But I see a spark of hope in anyone who has been working since the first second to alleviate the misery. Rescue workers, soldiers, airport colleagues, passengers who chose to help others instead searching security for themselves. Passengers who lost a leg, declaring on TV that they are especially happy to have survived. Superhuman.

I also see how the airport staff doing everything so that passengers today, tonight and tomorrow can get en route to their destination. Maybe it’s good to feel that you can contribute something and it helps to process the bitter grief, but the effort can not be underestimated.

Press Ethics

I see that they do everything to avoid even more gruesome images of the attack and the current state of the airport be published in the media. I am a warm advocate of absolute press freedom and transparency, as well as of press ethics. “We feel that we that our readers / viewers are owed” is a perverse excuse.

I was journalist during five years and I know with what mission they are sent out by the editor. To me there is no need for more movies on Facebook. This should be a place where we find support from each other, thus now not here. And humour then? I see this always fit, but even for that I’m not ready today. Certainly not for the kind of caricature published in Charlie Hebdo.

But what we see in the media since the day before yesterday is so much more horrible. Political name calling and recuperation. The victims are not even identified (which says something about the cruelty of the attack) and I already heard on the radio a trade unionist who tries getting advantage from this situation. I’m sick of it. I want to see structural solutions. No hassling with our privacy. But enforcement of penalties against (and only against) suspected terrorists with derogations under strict conditions.

Waffle Politics

Our country is only as large as a handkerchief and totally disorganised in a feudal way. Communities, regions, provinces, language barriers, equal representation of whatever, high-level positions, politically motivated civil society organisations who take every opportunity to throw sand in the wheels of innovation to get various positions, appointments and acquired rights. A waffle policy that leads to a capital with more police districts than seasons in the year.

With the outrageous price tag: it CAN NOT work efficiently. Politicians show more attention to Halle-Vilvoorde than to integration and security. We already know the consequences: we throw some more bombs on Iraq and Syria. What we need to do is stop supplying weapons in that region. Curing our oil addiction and put on hold any economic relationship with countries that support radical groups.

“We have everything. We got the best training, the best medical care, at this time still also a pension and the best prospects. We don’t lack anything. If we are unable to untangle the knot, nobody will be in our place do it. Then tomorrow or in three months it happens again. Almost impossible to avoid if we do not roll up our sleeves. Dare to question everything. There will be no better opportunity to clean up the mess.

Translation: André Orban


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