Paris Attacks and Brussels in Lockdown: An Immediate and Convenient Consequence?

The hideous and deplorable attacks in Paris on November 13th have unleashed a wave of fear throughout Europe triggering the lockdown of the Belgian capital Brussels. The clocks were pointing at 1am on Friday 20th, when the Belgian government decided to raise the terror alert to its maximum, 4 out of 4, due to a “serious and imminent” threat similar to the tragic events in Paris claimed by the Islamic State, “with multiples attacks in different places,” said the Belgian prime minister Charles Michel. As a result, schools and subways were closed, the military with its armored vehicles were deployed in the main metro stations in Gare Central and Schuman, and police was reinforced all over the city center, patrolling a once quiet and peaceful city.

Counter Terrorism Operation in Brussels

The weekend was long and Brussels soon became a ghost city with the major touristic sites nearly empty including terraces and traditional centers of commerce across the town.  By Sunday night, something surreal for the Bruxelloises happened: a manhunt had begun following a counter-terrorism operation in the capital.  The security forces have concentrated the operation in Molenbeek, where they conducted a door-to-door inspection searching for Salah Abdeslam, the fugitive from the Paris attacks. Other raids took place in Anderlecht, Schaerbeek, Jette, Woluwe-St-Lambert and Charleroi, where a total of 16 suspects were arrested (even though most of them were released the following day). No guns or explosives were found. However, Abdeslam is said to have crossed the country headed towards Germany; the alert was supposed to remain at its highest level and Brussels was supposed to continue living in lockdown at least until Monday, November 30th. But on Thursday the 26th, the Belgian government decided to drop the threat level to 3.

Being myself a resident from Schaerbeek, I experienced a somewhat sinister soirée last Sunday, with security forces patrolling the street and the building where I live, followed by warnings not to go near any windows or even post pictures on social media divulging the location and activities of the security forces. As this was not natural, the feeling of unease and restlessness was palpable. On Monday, the metro and schools were closed with most people working from home. In fact, the mass media were painting a worse picture than it actually was, thus increasing the sense of fear amongst the populace. Progressively, public transportation is getting back to normal. However, Wednesday the 25th, the Belgian government announced that the counter terrorism actions that occurred last Sunday had “most likely” prevented a terror attack in Brussels. But what do we really know?

What’s the impact on Society?

Suddenly, out of the blue, Brussels residents are divided between fear—naturally imposed by the unsubtle security reinforcement—and apprehension— concerning the scant information provided by the government and the police. It is, however, understandable that confidential information must be kept safe in order to avoid ending up in the wrong hands. Thus, George Orwell’s prescient masterpiece 1984 has inevitably been on my mind quite a lot recently, as well as so many other wary minds. Orwell’s introduction of doublethink was ingenious and in its philosophical tone does put in perspective the days we are currently living in Europe. For Orwell, this mystifying concept meant no more than holding two contradictory ideas regarding the same subject and yet accepting both of them.

What is happening in Europe? What is really happening in Europe?

Beyond question, the carnage in Paris was horrific and I mourn for all the families grieving their loved ones. More than 130 human beings were killed in cold blood in a rather suspicious operation that has, now, conveniently restricted our civil liberties. All of a sudden, armed military and increased police have been deployed on the streets, France has closed its borders making the Schengen Area feebler than ever and the Commission has already announced the likely control over air passengers’ personal data flying within Europe. What is going to follow?

With the mysterious and indestructible Syrian passport found at the crime scene, it was to be expected (not accepted) that the international community would turn against the Syrian people. The US is in uproar and in constant discord, with the majority of the Republicans against the entry of Syrian refugees in the country. Canada announced the rejection of single Syrian males, Sweden will deport around 22,000 migrants and Denmark revealed its intention to reject all refugees. Recently, French prime minister Manuel Valls declared, “Europe can’t accept more refugees”. In fact, President Hollande made himself clear regarding France’s position after declaring the repulsive attacks in Paris “an act of war”. The French have now found a legitimate argument to intensify its airstrikes in Syria not without trying to persuade other countries to follow them, such as the UK. As for the tenacious Germany, it’s been keeping its harsh and obstinate stance claiming that refugees must be accepted, as European values must prevail.

In the midst of this political turbulence, some questions are popping up in people’s minds. Why would France’s government gag alternative media exposing weird coincidences connected to the Paris attacks, the very same media denouncing what the mainstream media doesn’t, such as claims that the French government had access to intelligence which illustrated that the attacks were going to happen? How can we accept that, finally, increasingly evidence about Turkey’s involvement with the Islamic State has been exposed and, still, the EU continues to close its eyes and cooperate financially with a country whose leader does not hide his fascist and corrupt tendencies?

Marta Pacheco

Marta Pacheco studied Political Science and Media & Journalism at the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP). An independent researcher based in Brussels, she has been active in reporting EU and international affairs as a journalist contributor for media outlets in Brussels. Former Blue Book trainee in the European Commission and with a keen interest on politics and global affairs, Marta has been developing her skills and knowledge in the healthcare field, energy & environment and in the financial crisis.

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

Legal note

1.    Terms and Conditions

2.    Privacy Policy

3.    Cookies Policy


1.    Terms and Conditions

Contact data for the web owner

This website has been created by KATOIKOS to promote their products and services.

– Name: Katoikos, S.L

– Co. tax Code:  B87123162

– Address:  Calle Campomanes 10, 28013  Madrid (SPAIN)

Registration details: Registered in the Commercial Register of Madrid.

Intellectual and Industrial Property

The various elements of this page, and website as a whole, are protected by Spanish legislation on intellectual and industrial property. The trademarks, trade names or logos appearing on this website are the property of the company, or, where appropriate, of third parties, and are protected by Trademarks Law, and of which KATOIKOS holds the legitimate license.

The information provided may not be used for commercial or public purposes, or modified. If the user downloads materials for personal and non-commercial use, warnings shall be kept about copyright and trademarks. To download and use the company logo that appears on the website, prior authorization is required.

Any unauthorised use of the images may violate copyright laws, trademark laws, the laws of privacy and publicity, and communications regulations and statutes.

Liability for Damage

KATOIKOS assumes no liability for damages you may suffer when browsing the web or in the use of computer applications that are part of it. Neither are warranties given as to the correction of malfunctions or updating of content.

Content you share with us

We may include features on this website that allow you to share your content with us and other users of the site. Please note that by sharing content it may become publicly accessible. You grant to Katoikos a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license, without compensation to you:

 (a) to use, reproduce, distribute, adapt (including without limitation edit, modify, translate, and reformat), derive, transmit, display and perform, publicly or otherwise, such content, in any media now known or hereafter developed, for Kaotikos’ business purposes, and

 (b) to sublicense the foregoing rights, through multiple tiers, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. The foregoing licenses shall survive any termination of your use of the site, as further described below.

For all of the content you share through the site, you represent and warrant that you have all rights necessary for you to grant these licenses, and that such content, and your provision or creation thereof through the site, complies with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations and does not infringe or otherwise violate the copyright, trademark, trade secret, privacy or other intellectual property or other rights of any third party, and is furthermore free from viruses and other malware.

Rules of Conduct

When using this website and/or sharing content with us, you are prohibited from posting or transmitting :

1. any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, racist, obscene, scandalous, deceptive, false, fraudulent, inflammatory or profane material or any material that could constitute or encourage conduct that would be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any law.
2. Any virus, worm, Trojan horse, Easter egg, time bomb, spyware or other computer code, file, or program that is harmful or invasive or may or is intended to damage or hijack the operation of, or to monitor the use of, any hardware, software or equipment;
3. Any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, “junk mail,” “spam,” “chain letter,” “pyramid scheme” or investment opportunity, or any other form of solicitation; and
4. Any material non-public information about a person or a company without the proper authorization to do so.

In addition, you will not:

1. Use this website for any fraudulent or unlawful purpose;
2. Interfere with or disrupt the operation of the website or the servers or networks used to make the website available; or violate any requirements, procedures, policies or regulations of such networks;
3. Access or use this website through any technology or means other than those expressly designated by us.
4. Restrict or inhibit any other person from using this website (including by hacking or defacing any portion of the website);
5. Except as expressly permitted by applicable law, modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble any portion of this website.
6. Remove any copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notice from this website.
7. Frame or mirror any part of the webiste without our express prior written consent;
8. Create a database by systematically downloading and storing all or any content;
9. Use any robot, spider, site search/retrieval application or other manual or automatic device to retrieve, index, “scrape,” “data mine” or in any way reproduce or circumvent the navigational structure or presentation of this website, without our express prior written consent.


Kaotikos  reserves the right to remove any messages or statements or cancel any links.

This site may include hyperlinks to other web sites that are not owned or controlled by Katoikos. Katoikos has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, privacy policies, security or practices of any third party websites.

Content may be hosted on YouTube or other social media. Those operate their own set of terms and conditions and privacy policy which are separate to the ones presented on this website. Katoikos no control over and assumes no responsibility for, the content, privacy policies, security or practices on YouTube or other social media.

 The right to terminate your access

Katoikos reserves the right to terminate your access to this website at any time if you do not comply with these Terms and Conditions or you infringe Kaotikos’ rights in the content provided on this website.

Governing Law

These Terms and Conditions are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Spain, without regard to its choice of law provisions.  You agree to the exclusive jurisdiction by the courts of Spain.

Changes to the Terms

Katoikos reserves the right to make changes to the Terms and Conditions from time to time. You acknowledge and agree that your continued access to or use of this website will constitute your acceptance of such changes.

2.    Privacy Policy

Kaotikos takes the protection of your personal data very seriously and collects, processes and uses your data only in accordance with the standards of the legal data protection regulations.

Data is collected, processed and used with technologyes of the provider web trends for marketing and optimisation purposes and also for sending news and information you may be interested in by any electronic services, such as email or SMS.

Our website user’s database is registered at the Spanish Agency of Data Protection. You have the rights of access, rectification, deletion and opposition, regulated in articles 14 to 16 of the LOPD.

For this, please write to:

KATOIKOS (Data Protection) Calle Campomanes 10, 28013, Madrid (SPAIN)

Or send an email to Your ID will be requested for these issues.

3.    Cookies Policy

This site, like many others, uses small files called cookies to help us customise your experience. Find out more about cookies and how you can control them.

This page contains information on what ‘cookies’ are, the cookies used by the Kaotikos’ website and how to switch cookies off in your browser.

If it does not provide the information you were looking for, or you have any further questions about the use of cookies on the Katoikos’s website, please email

What are ‘cookies’?

‘Cookies’ are small text files that are stored by the browser (for example, Internet Explorer or Safari) on your computer or mobile phone. They allow websites to store things like user preferences. You can think of cookies as providing a ‘memory’ for the website, so that it can recognise you when you come back and respond appropriately.

How does the Katoikos’s website use cookies?

A visit to a page on the Kaotikos’s website may generate the following type of cookies: Anonymous analytics cookies.

This website uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc., a Delaware company whose main office is at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View (California), CA 94043, USA (“Google”).

Google Analytics uses “cookies”, which are text files placed on your computer, to help the website analyze how users use the site. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information on our behalf in order to track your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.

Anonymous analytics cookies

Cookier Name Origin Aim End
__utma Google Analysis 2 years since set –up or update
__utmb Google Analysis 30 minutes since set –up or update
__utmc Google Analysis When browser sesión ends
_utmt Google Analysis 10 minutes since set –up or update
__utmz Google Analysis 6 months since set –up or update

How do I turn cookies off?

It is usually possible to stop your browser accepting cookies, or to stop it accepting cookies from a particular website. All modern browsers allow you to change your cookie settings. You can usually find these settings in the ‘options’ or ‘preferences’ menu of your browser. To understand these settings, the following links may be helpful, or you can use the ‘Help’ option in your browser for more details.

Cookie settings in Internet Explorer
Cookie settings in Firefox
Cookie settings in Chrome
Cookie settings in Safari web and iOS.


© 2019 Katoikos, all rights are reserved. Developed by eMutation | New Media

Become a
Being up to date with Europe only takes a few seconds.
Your information will never shared with a third party.
Get our periodical newsletter sent to your inbox!
I have read and agreed the Privacy Policy (required)
Become a
Being up to date with Europe only takes a few seconds.
Get our periodical newsletter sent to your inbox!
Your information will never shared with a third party.
I have read and agreed the Privacy Policy (required)