5 A.M.. T. wakes up. Some noise at the door, like a dog scratching. It is cold this December 5, and since the heating system in the appartment is out of order, she sleeps on the living room couch with her daughter, 12 years old, and her Algerian friend A., whom she met a few months ago. One keeps warm as one can…
Still sleepy she stumbles to the door, when the door bursts in : about 10 armed men force their way in the appartment shouting, she’s blinded by the torches at the end of the guns, deafened by the intruders screaming at her “lie down !”, “shut up !”, “You alone ? We’re not here for you, shut up, shut your fucking mouth !”. Men dart at her friend, crush him to the floor and kick him steady. He screams his name in vain, barely able to breathe. The little one is terrified, men shouting at her as well, urging her to stop screaming, while pointing their guns and torches at the 12-year old.
A. is taken to the Brussels police offices. He’s told he’s been arrested in relation with the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks and his phone number. He doesn’t understand. His number is checked, his FB page too, he’s shown pictures of people he cannot recognize. Collaborating, he still cannot reckon what he’s doing here. They must be mistaken.
For 45 minutes the police wrecked the appartment from top to bottom, empty all drawers on the floor, break T.’s objects and souvenirs from her father, to which she was very attached. They find nothing, take nothing, but leave a terrible mess behind them, including a borken down door and a mother and daugther in a state of shock. Before leaving, they have T. sign some paperwork, without reading it, too anxious to see this nightmare end. Left without a copy, she still ignores what she put her signature on and agreed to.
After half a day in Brussels, the police tell A. he’s free to go, they have nothing against him. A figure of speech. He’s been living undocumented in Belgium for several years. He’s gonna end up in the Vottem closed center in Liège. Without his phone, his money or his shoes, kept by the police. A. still can’t get why, after 6 years in Belgium, he’s being locked up. He didn’t do anything wrong, committed no crime, he’s just been living as he could here. He is an Algerian and can’t be deported. He just wants to be with his girlfriend again, and help her with her daughter. He’s scared.
As for T., she still can’t understand why her home was savaged, her boyfriend beaten up and arrested, her daughter traumatized, instead of just being summoned with her boyfriend by the police, or him being arrested in the street, as they passed by the police many times and he was not hiding but was living just like anybody else. T. tried to lodge a complaint against the police, at the local station, but was told it was not possible. A warrant had been issued, and everything done by the book. She was assured the police insurance policy would take care of the damaged door, since A. is innocent. SO, what would she complain about ?