Brussels attack victim: “The people who were injured got life”

Walter Benjamin is one of the victims of the Brussels attacks.  On 22 March he was queuing at Brussels Airport for a flight to Tel Aviv.  At 7:58 a terrorist standing at the check in blew himself up.  Walter lost his right leg.  Six years on, after years of physical therapy, it’s above all the psychological impact that is weighing on him.

“Physically, I can get about.  I can walk.  I exercise a lot in order to stay fit.  Psychologically I will never be OK.  There are dark days, days on which I feel bad.  I’m not somebody with sadness on my sleeve, but when I am alone, I can burst out in tears.  I hyperventilate or anxiety suddenly takes over.  It happens in the airplane, on the beach.  I’ve had panic attacks in the street, in the car.  Today I know how to deal with them”.

“My sleep is disturbed.  I no longer take sleeping pills.  That’s addictive. I only take high doses of melatonin”.

“I still often travel to Tel Aviv.  Sometimes I have to check in at counter 3 or 4.  That’s always difficult”.

“I don’t think about the trial.  For me this is a big show, a circus.  It won’t yield anything for the perpetrators, the general public, the victims.  The guys that exploded their bomb are dead.  Salah Abdeslam will never leave prison.  What good will the trial do?  I know lots of victims have high expectations, especially psychologically, but I don’t have high expectations”.

“Will I give evidence?  I don’t know what I can add or what I would be doing there.  The perpetrators are standing trial not the brain behind the attack.  Abdeslam won’t say anything new. What difference will it make?  We won’t get the answer we need”.

“What sentences will they get?  Abdeslam and Abrini already got life in connection with the Paris attacks.  The others will hardly be punished: three, five, eight years… The people who were injured got life.  The people who were killed will remain dead.  Their families got life”.

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