Local News

UNC professor angry over Brussels terrorist attacks

Posted March 23, 2016

— As Flora Cassen tries to get over the shock of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in her native Brussels, she can't shake the anger and frustration that Belgian authorities couldn't prevent it.

"The police forces there seem to be always a step behind," said Cassen, who moved to the U.S. 16 years ago to pursue a doctoral degree and is now a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "It seems like they’ve been saying for months, 'We’re expecting this, we’re expecting this,' and yet they couldn’t prevent it."

Cassen ticked off a list of terrorist activities in and around Belgium: an attack at a Jewish museum in Brussels in May 2014, the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris in January 2015, a failed attack on a train from Brussels to Paris last August and the bombings and shootings in Paris in November.

"Now we’re hearing they knew of all the people, and there’s only one airport in the country – it’s a small country – so why couldn’t they? It’s such an obvious target," she said. "It appears to be all the same people that they’re all connected doing those things. They’re doing it again and again and again, and it doesn’t seem to be an end to it. So, that’s scary."

Cassen said she had to force herself to stop watching news about the Brussels attacks, even though she is desperate for any information she can get.

"It's kind of a feeling of unreal – how can this be happening? – and shock," she said. "Everything was chaotic, and not being able to help that is hard."

She said she's grateful for the emotional support pouring in to Belgium from around the globe.


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  • Forest Hazel Mar 24, 2016
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    It is kind of interested that, at least according to the story, her anger is directed toward the Belgian government, and not toward the savages who carried out the attacks.

  • James Henderson Mar 24, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Well, yes you are wrong- wrong for bringing pointless speculation about petty partisan politics into this horrible tragedy. BTW if you can't spell 'border,' maybe you shouldn't be criticizing others.

  • Steve Eubanks Mar 24, 2016
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    Who isn't angry about the terrorist attack? Isn't this a "New City New Firetrucks are Red!" story?

  • Sue Lander Mar 24, 2016
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    I think she is just upset about her home country.

  • Sick Ofhollywood Mar 23, 2016
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    Bet she's a liberal. Open boarders, then... why did you not protect me. Always blaming. (just guessing - given UNC - but could be wrong).