Today I bow my head in shame. Shame shock and awe. Somehow unable to process the events that took place in our little country. Ashamed to be Belgian, Shocked at what happened. Speechless to mouth any words that could sooth the suffering of all those involved. The dawn of Januari the 24st awakens us in a different world. A world that has perhaps lost a part of its "safe surroundings". A world that seems to have lost part of its sanity. While some parents might be awakened by the screams of their hungry youngster.. There are others that may awaken to the terrible sound of silence. That will find pacifiers on the counter, but no use for them any more. Each of the thousands of memories of their child, cutting up their soul like glass.
Somewhere in a police station awakens a young man. His face still painted white, his eyes rimmed with dark makeup. On his lower arm he spots a dried bloodstain, overlooked when he washed his hands after his actions. The blood is that of a 2 year old baby he stabbed last morning. His throat hurts from the hours of interrogation he went through yesterday, after the police plucked him from his bicycle. When asked for his name he has given them three allready. When questioned he mocked the men in blue by giving them false answers. He feels light somehow. The weight of the bullet proof vest he wore has been lifted as they took it away from him. Together with a backpack full of knives. This is the 20 year old man that shocked the reality of a nation. On Januari 24th 2009 at ten AM he entered a daycare facility in Dendermonde. Out of nowhere he pulled a knife and started stabbing . One 50 year old caretaker tried to stop him. She fell at his blade. 2 more babies suffered the same faith. Their lives whisked away by his cold steel. Their innocence hushed out like a candle in a storm. As pandemonium ensued he managed to stab 10 more babies before fleeing the crime scene on his bicycle. Exactly one year ago Heith Ledger committed suicide.
We watch this young man in his cell. His giggles , jibberish talk and his makeup .. make him look like "the joker".
This is not fiction, this is not a short story, this is cold and hard reality. A reality that has forever changed this nation and our beliefs in safety and security. This drama unfolded in my own little country yesterday. One cannot begin to comprehend the how and the why. One can only shudder with fear and loathing at what has transpired. As the media circus unfolded and parents rushed back to the daycare centre to pick up their child… Some found it unharmed, Others found their child stabbed and wounded. 4 parents found that they had lost their child.