DON’T start dying until they shoot you. Of all the interviews hitting the news-stands in light of this week’s Belgian atrocities, it is that line that stood out to me.

Tuesday saw reporters everywhere despatched to the heart of communities to garner reactions to another terrorist incident rendered yet more horrifying by its familiarity.

Time and time again they found, amid the shock, that stubborn refusal to give up that seems to me to be one of the most enduring traits of humanity at war.

A young man told one news outlet that he would not die until he was shot, that he had no intention of giving up until they came for him, guns blazing.

He had no desire to give up his way of life in the face of extremism, brutal and frightening as it inevitably is.

It’s an admirable form of stubbornness that might seem alien to so many who are, understandably, frightened by recent world events.

Yet it’s one that runs through wartime narratives again and again, the stoic population who just keep going in the face of whatever comes their way.

My mam’s a brave woman and, when I’ve had my own troubles, she’s been the one to tell me how to get up and get on.

She’s scared, these days – once a keen traveller, she now says she probably won’t visit anywhere new ever again.

Her worry is borne of the knowledge that war and terror feel almost tangible, closer to the UK now than in generations.

We live in a state of perpetual uncertainty, driven by a constant media cycle that allows no respite from horror.

You never know what’ll happen, she says.

And you don’t – this unpredictability of never knowing is genuinely terrifying, but I fear that letting that worry control us would only lead to a path yet more frightening.

I heard my grandparents talk about Blitz spirit, listened to unimaginable stories about growing up in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Just last year, I listened to mothers from Srebrenica talk about living after losing every member of their family.

It was during that recent visit to Bosnia that I saw the scars of genocide and the legacy of war first-hand. It was in Bosnia that I heard these tales, time and time again, of people in besieged Sarajevo getting up and getting on, amid the purposeful destruction of all they knew. For those trapped in the city, life had to continue and its people worked tirelessly to establish a sense of normality, schooling their kids in the basements of high rises and creating tunnels from sheets to fool snipers and protect their teachers.

A million little rebellions are born from the desire to survive, the desire to protect the life you’ve built for yourself, the community you hold dear.

There are people right now – whether in Turkey, Belgium, Syria, in camps or at borders – waking up each day to heartbreak, grief and war.

There’s probably no real alternative – you keep going, or you don’t.

But there are ways of keeping going, this quiet kind of bravery I can’t help but hope I’ll feel, if the time ever comes when I need it.

It’s an admirable, measured and dedicated stubbornness that ultimately could be the only real weapon against the rising tide of extremism.