Friday, January 11, 2013

Cordon sanitaire

In Belgium the cordon sanitaire is a protective measure, much like in agriculture: drawing a sanitary circle when there is an infectious animal disease on a farm, so nobody can enter or exit a certain area around that farm in order to avoid the accidental spreading of the disease and causing a pandemic of  hoof and mouth disease. It is however a political phrase since the beginning of the extreme right, racist (in my opinion) Vlaams blok (Flemish Block), later renamed ‘Vlaams belang’ (Flemish Interest) a political agreement among all parties not to govern with them. Recently two things happened: Nationalist Flemish NVA, a right wing party, grew immensely and is part of the ruling class in several towns and villages. Sadly, this was kind of expected. The Vlaams belang people, looking after their personal interest decided in big numbers to switch to the Flemish nationalists. So in a small town ‘Denderleeuw’ there is now a coalition between the latter party and the Christian democrats. Not having a majority, they however needed the support of the Flemish interest people in the council, thus in fact, for the very first time breaking the ‘cordon sanitaire’. Yet in my opinion, with over 40 former Flemish Interest people on the NVA list the program has been radicalized and former Vlaams Blok members are now in a comfort zone, where the other parties execute their original program. I am a firm believer in freedom of expression as a democratic right and as a human right. Yet I also believe in being critical and lighting candles in the darkness coming down over Flanders and am glad that the President of Flemish Parliament Mr Peeters, shares my unease.

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