Even I could have predicted that the Belgian Police were going to bring the Water-cannons out in Brussels on Sunday. Before you accuse me of knowing about the trouble in advance I can in all honesty say "I was not there and I had nothing to do with it".
However, I was absolutely stunned when nobody at the BBC (or any other Media Outlet in the known universe didn't seem to realise that they were playing into the hands of the "self-described Belgian Fascists" (BBC's words - not mine) by reporting on the Memorial event. The Media should have stayed away as the Belgian Police had requested that the March/rally not go ahead due to safety concerns. However, with the 24 hour news channels we have now - it would seem that there is no limit to the capacity for the Media not only to report the news but also (on occassion) go out of their way to create news reports in order to fill airspace.
I noticed that the UK Media almost singularly failed to report on a story which might have had some relevence to both Paris and Brissels later that evening.
I got home and switched my mobile out of "Do Not Disturb" mode (I had been at an Easter Sunday evening service) and nearly had a heart attack when I read the NOS website - as well as some tweets from Dutch Police.
The Rotterdam Police had had a request from the French Police to arrest a suspect - whilst they were doing that they found three other people who had been wanted by the Dutch Police themselves.
I am not going to name the streets where the arrests took place (that is not really relevant to this blog post). What I will say is that I was not a million miles away from one of the streets last year (in fact, I was walking along it at one point).
Luckily there were no explosives (or anything else terrorism-related) found.
However - it could all have turned out so differently. Whilst the Media were sowing the seeds for a major disturbance in Brussels - nobody was watching anywhere else.
I have blogged before about the fact that the Media play into the Terrorists hands - both by the 24 hour coverage of every single terrorist outrage (as well as splashing the gruesome pictures of the immediate aftermath every single second - or so it seems) and reporting events in a way which seems designed to highlight the divisions in society.
As a result of the media coverage of the Brussels atrocities I changed my plans this afternoon - and I am angry with myself for doing so.
I had decided to get a Skylink bus from Leicester to Derby and a train back to Leicester. That was until a man boarded the bus somewhere near East Midlands Airport. The man started off appearing to be reasonably "normal" (to the point where I thought he was just having a phone conversation on his mobile - if rather loudly). I began to recognise the language he was speaking as some form of French - and he didn't sound like he was in the world's best mood either.
When he had not stopped talking/shouting between East Midlands Airport and Derby Railway Station I became a little concerned. When he got off the bus at Derby Railway Station I decided to change my plan and get off at the bus station instead (and get the Skylink back to Leicester).
Had I not been conditioned to treat everybody who behaves even a little bit "out of the ordinary" with extreme suspicion - especially around transport hubs - I might have followed him off the bus with no problems.
I understand the need to be extremely vigilant. However, I wonder what is happening to the idea of "innocent until proven guilty"??? After all, the man's only "crime" was to be speaking a form of French in a rather strange manner. He could have been havng a heated argument with the person on the other end of the line for all I know.
Obviously we have no idea what the next terrorist is going to look like - or where they will be - but allowing ourselves to be conditioned into treating everybody else with extreme suspicion is only going to play into the terrorist's hands.
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