A Belgian Eye – Episode 111

Our resident Belgian Philippe Persoons takes a look at life through A Belgian Eye.

This weeks episode is all about the hat

Hello and welcome on a Belgian Eye

About the hat. Yes, I’m a Belgian and we Belgians we were all talking about the hat last week. Not that fashion is tending to change in this country or that we would start imitating classic British culture. No, but still, the hat was the big issue in the news last week.

We are quite lucky to have no British culture in this country because the man with the hat seen on video minutes before the bombings at Zaventem airport was something exceptional. In Belgium we do not wear hats, at least not too many of us wear hats which means that if you want pass anonymously through the streets, – in Belgium-, you would better wear no hat.

Short after the bomb blasts at Zaventem it was assumed that a mysterious “man with the hat”, walking together with the two other kamikazes, was part of the gang. A video was spread as police launched an appeal to witnesses: who saw the man with the hat. And so that hat became the hot topic in this country.

Was the terrorist with the hat mad as hatter? Well, at least he didn’t choose a bowler hat, a top hat, a Stetson or whatever, no it was just a fisherman hat. Not that we have much fisherman in Brussels International airport, but anyway. Such a fisherman hat has some resemblance to a bonnet or beanie and is in that way slightly more common than some other types of hats. Although, dear terrorist some advice if I may: stick to the beanie or a cap. It’s quite impossible to ask in Belgium whether or not someone saw a man with a beanie or a cap, half of Belgium, and perhaps half of the international community is wearing stuff like that. So bomb blasts are a stupid,- point final,- but don’t do this with an uncommon type of hat on the head.

All this meant that we all were quit occupied on the issue of “the man with the hat”. Was he or was he not??

Yes, he was … Mohamed Abrini, and Mohamed Abrini was arrested in Anderlecht last Friday, he admitted that he was the “man with the hat”. Abrini is one of the big names in Brussels terror. Before he was seen talking to Khalid El Bakraoui shortly before Bakraoui carried out the bomb attack in the subway station Maalbeek. Abrini also was a childhood friend of the Abdeslam brothers.

Small detail: last Friday another suspect was arrested in Laken. His name is Osama Krayem, who called himself Naim El Hamed on a fake passport. Too bad for Osama for I’ll eat my hat if his notoriety would ever fetch Abrini’s level.

And now, now that the man with the hat is found. What’s next?

We remain at level 3 security. No specific threat but we presume that there are still terrorists in the country.

Operations in Zaventem are starting up again with full security and a lot of traffic jams and other trouble that go with it.

The police continue their investigations and the culprits remain behind bars.

We Belgians we feel like it’s over, although we know it’s not.

Hold on to your hat for it can happen again, it will happen again. Terror can come from other Jihadists, or communists, or extreme right, or extreme poor, or extreme rich of other, you name it.

Will have to deal with this, it might be a little tricky from time to time, but don’t let it spoil your moral, your thoughts or your outlook on life

I’ll take my hat off if you can.

Have a nice day!