Notifications have steadily rumbled through my phone for the past hour.
They’re from friends, colleagues and connections in Brussels, checking in via Facebook to let us know they’re ok. Just like in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris last November, they’re marking themselves ‘safe’. It’s both reassuring and comforting, this newest normal.
At least 13 people were killed in a blast at Zaventem Airport in Brussels at about 8 am this morning, and several dozens injured both at its departure terminal and at a metro station near European Union offices where at least one other explosion was reported an hour later.
Local authorities have confirmed that the two airport explosions were carried out by a suicide bomber. Belgium has raised its terror alert to its highest level, essentially putting the capital on lockdown. Flights have been diverted and Eurostar trains to and from Brussels have been cancelled.
The attacks, apparently coordinated, came four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the primary fugitive involved in November’s attacks in Paris.
I’m not surprised that there was a response by ISIL in the wake of Abdeslam’s arrest — I’m sure local authorities expected something, too. The question now is whether it was an “in your face you can’t stop us” kind of response, or one of stubborn desperation.
The Guardian has live coverage here.
This is a close-up of Three Legged Buddha, a sculpture by Chinese sculptor Zhang Huan, which was on exhibit outside of the Monnaie Theatre in Brussels in September 2009. It’s a calming piece, captivating. A description via TeachArtWiki:
This large-scale sculpture is made of welded copper with a steel inner structure, and is partially made of Tibetan remnant sculpture. Zhang Huan often uses the body form in all aspects of his art. With no head or upper torso of its own, the three-legged monstrous torso stands high over the heads of viewers like a tripod, standing at 8.6 meters. The large feet and ankles are jeweled and each rests on an object. Two of the feet stand on columns that raise them up to the appropriate height. The the third foot is resting on top of Buddha’s head. This head faces inward, as if emerging from the ground but stopped by the Buddha’s third foot. We only see this face from just below the nose to to the top of the head. The copper creates a beehive effect on across the sculpture, giving it a geometrical feel despite the large curves the piece includes.
Zhang said his hope was that the piece would bring harmony to areas where it is exhibited.
And for the record: today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 809th straight, was taken in Brussels, Belgium, on 05 September 2009.
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