Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The ugly face of flemish nationalism

I am compelled to write about politics today. In Belgium there where communal elections and in Flanders' biggest city Antwerp he, whose name I don't want to give more google hits, won. The arrogant, aggressive, power hungry bully declared "The city is ours"... Ours? A non-inclusive city, with strict separations between who is part of 'us' and who is not? No way. The city's slogan used to be "The city belongs to everybody", an inclusive idea which worked. Commentators say it is good that 'he' won since the extreme right lost half their votes. A good thing it is not: The extreme right was a clear enemy, surrounded by a 'sanitarian cordon' meaning that no other party would govern a town with them. According to their own figures his party, the N-VA, has 21 % people who came from the 'Vlaams Belang' (former Flemish Bloc) embedded in its list. According to vlaams belang even 40%. So the extreme right becomes salonfähig and thus invisible in its workings. The leader who won was biting in his speeches, merciless in his moment of victory. He and his supporters marched loudly as a mob to the town hall, almost storming it, claiming it theirs. The man lost half his weight in a short time with a crash diet. He not only cuts a sharp image now a days but he is even sharper and ruder than before. He declared the local elections to be a preview for the next elections in 2014, when he hopes Belgium will be turned into a loose confederation. Flemish Chocolate? Walloon steel? To me that would be an aberration since I perceive there is something like 'Belgitude': Magritte, Ensor, Absurdity, 13 dog breeds, a joie de vivre. The storming of the town hall, the physical demonstration of their power is over the edge of democratic behavior. Oh how sad it is to be an aging hippie, living in an non-inclusive society where rudeness and aggression is rewarded. Ugliness rules. All the efforts to keep Antwerp a lively town with not to many cars and car free walking streets will also be undone with parkings in front of the Rubens' house and the Town square, two places where now one can walk around, go for a drink and relax, talk with friends.
With N-VA as the leading party there can be no relaxation. We all need to be vigilant and live our values, whatever may come, lest we end up in the capital of Dystopia.

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