President Obama's Response To The Brussels Attacks At A Baseball Game In Cuba Shows Strength And Defiance

"That is the kind of resilience and kind of strength that we have to continually show."

The deadly Brussels terror attack on Tuesday came as a horrific shock to Belgians and Europeans in general. Killing more than 30 and injuring more than 100, the explosions took place in Brussels' busy airport and a metro station. In Cuba, President Obama briefly addressed the Brussels attacks in a press conference about the historic change in Cuban-American relations, and then attended a baseball game as scheduled. 

 Joe Raedle / Getty Images
 Joe Raedle / Getty Images

During a mid-game interview, Obama again addressed the bombings in an interview with ESPN, saying that it was "another example of why the entire world has to unite against these terrorists." 

But why did he decide to go to the baseball game anyway? 

"It's always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack anywhere in the world," Obama told Karl Ravech of ESPN's Baseball Tonight"But the whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people's ordinary lives." 

He added that one of his most powerful memories was in 2013 when Red Sox's David Ortiz declared that the city of Boston was not going to intimidated by the marathon bombings. Obama continued: 

That is the kind of resilience and kind of strength that we have to continually show in the face of these terrorists. They cannot defeat America. They don't produce anything. They don't have a message that appeals to the vast majority of Muslims or the vast majority of people around the world. What they can do is scare and make people afraid. And disrupt our daily lives and divide us. And as long as we don't allow that to happen, we're going to be OK.

Anti-refugee rhetoric — often rooted in Islamophobia — helps reaffirm claims from groups like ISIS that the West is hostile towards Muslims, which is why statements like presidential candidate Ted Cruz's in response to the Brussels attacks are divisive and damaging. 

The fact President Obama refused to let the attackers disrupt his day is not only a strategic move, but it also shows how we come together to overcome the fear that terrorists try — and fail — to strike in our hearts.

Cover image: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images