About 50 persons gathered on Wednesday in Brussels to pay tribute to victims of terrorism worldwide and express solidarity with their families.
The ceremony, held from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon at the monument to terror victims in the Rue de la Loi, marked the second consecutive commemoration in the Belgian capital of the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, decreed by the United Nations in 2018.
Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Belgium’s caretaker government, presided over the ceremony in Brussels.
“Terrorism attacks everything that unites us, the freedom, tolerance and solidarity that are at the core of our societies and the international community,” he noted. “Acts of terrorism are attacks against our shared humanity. This is why we have gathered on this international day of commemoration in honour of the victims of terrorism, to pay homage to them whatever the place or time the attack was staged.”
Federal Attorney-General Frédéric Van Leeuw quoted the phrase inscribed on the walls of the Maelbeek subway station in memory of the attack perpetrated there on 22 March 2016: “Love for all, including those who know not what they do.”
“This jihad of love is a wonderful response,” he said. “It echoes so many reactions that have touched us, such as that of the father of Lauriane, expressed with infinite courage: “In future – and I quote – if we want a different world, respect and tolerance are needed.”
Georges Dallemagne, the vice-chairman of the parliamentary commission on terrorist attacks and a member of the follow-up commission on terrorist attacks, attended the commemoration, as did Aleksandra Ivankovic, representative of the Victim Support Europe association, and Philippe Vansteenkiste, president of the V-Europe association.
“This solidarity between victims is very important and, in some ways, it is the proof that we continue to work to safeguard our democracy and our values, but also to build this humanity that we all need,” Vansteenkiste stressed.
Two floral wreaths were laid at the foot of the monument, relatives of victims of the Brussels attacks placed white roses on the monument in memory of their lost ones, and a minute of silence was observed.