Terror in the hearts of their enemies was why there were so many routs during the Muslim conquests."

Ibn Khaldun

 

Brussels, the capital of the European Union advertises itself as the heart of Europe. That city is dirty, neglected and its street corners are guarded by soldiers and policemen armed to their teeth. When we arrived rather exhausted in June 2017 in our hotel, the bar was closed and we could not call a taxi. In the heart of Europe it was Ramadan and the Muslim 70 per cent of the taxi drivers were still out of service in the evening and already out of service in the morning.

Depending as it was on Muslims, the heart of Europe was a disheartening site in 2017. The shadow of terror threat was omnipresent. Fear and military presence that have been unknown in our happier half of Europe for decades have become part of everyday life there.

Europe as we knew it when we used to stroll through its cities as tourists with our meagre currency allowances does not exist anymore. The „advanced West” we desperately used to long for has been given its eight count. And they know that. They even know more than that. They start beginning to learn the lesson that no terror act can save us from the next one. That is they have to realise that they cannot feel safe any longer. They also know or at least they feel that they have reached a crossroads. The period between World War II and the financial crunch of 2008 is irrevocably over. A new century, a new epoch, and a new era are underway. New directions would be needed; new ideas, a new vision. But there are no new thoughts, no new projects, nor is there any sense of purpose around. There is resignation coupled with increasingly unmistakable hopelessness instead.

The leading positions in Western Europe are filled with people who are unable to part with the illusion of still living in the late 20th century when they could lead careless, affluent and confident lives. They delude themselves believing to be able to smoothly transfer all that into the new 21st century. But as Karl Lagerfeld told us, yesterday’s successes are not creditworthy; nobody cares for yesterday’s collections. What is true in the fashion industry is also true in politics. All is moving on the Western front, I wrote four years ago. Now would say: all is different on the Western front.