The cultural enrichment of Belgium has reached such a critical stage that a former devout multiculturalist — from the Green Party, no less — is calling for the enforcement of traditional Belgian cultural values. A nice sentiment, and welcome, but it would have been even more welcome fifteen or twenty years ago, when the worst possible outcomes were still avoidable.
Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a couple of articles on the topic. First, this overview from the Vlaams Belang website:
The confession of guilt by a multiculturalist
For many years in this country — and elsewhere in Europe — an immigration policy has been pursued about which hardly any criticism was possible, at least if one did not want to end up to being smeared as a racist. Over and over again we were told that integration was a matter of time, and with the years — and of course with even more understanding on the part of the natives — all would turn out just fine. A statement that, to say the least, does not withstand a reality check.
Even someone like Luckas Vander Taelen has arrived at this insight now, the same Vander Taelen who is a prominent Flemish MP for the Green Party [“Green!”]. Writing in the newspaper De Standaard, in a pointed opinion piece entitled “The ghettos of Brussels”, about the misbehavior of young “New Belgians” who (threaten to) make certain neighborhoods — “they have really become ghettos” (i.e. no-go zones) — totally unlivable and prove the total failure of the supposedly smooth process of integration.
“Twenty years ago I was convinced that the young New Belgians would be quickly assimilated. But now there is a generation in Brussels that has grown up like rebels without a cause, who always feels wronged. Never being responsible for anything, it is always the fault of someone else: the government, those racist Belgians,” says Vander Taelen. Further on, he even comes to the conclusion that many “New Belgians” (do not want to) have any connection whatsoever with this country, because “almost all the young immigrants have the Belgian nationality, still they lack any identification with this country. On the contrary: ‘Belge’ is a smear word…”
We hardly could have said this better ourselves. The analysis of Vander Taelen makes is quite something. It is only to be regretted that it has come a little late.
The sobered-up “multiculturalist” not only sums up the state of affairs, but has at last actually come to the conclusion that tolerance does not mean that we should ignore their own social values: “Maybe we should ask ourselves how it is that we have accepted that principles like artistic freedom and equal rights for men and women do not apply to everyone in this country. Why do we not dare to stand up for what is in fact essential: respect for the laws and values of the country we live?” Good question, indeed…
According to Vander Taelen it about time now that we abandon the fear to call things as they are — yes you read that right — and get the debate going. A call that sounds somewhat strange coming from a corner that for years has done everything possible in order to stifle any debate. But perhaps Vander Taelen — despite his noticeable disenchantment — wanted to show that he did not lose his sense of humor.
Anyway, the statements of Vander Taelen may at least be taken as a confession. But to make a confession is one thing. Whether any practical consequences will be attached to it, remains the question.
The ghettos of Brussels
Should we be afraid to enforce our values?
Luckas Vander Taelen is tired of living next to a ghetto where young immigrants treat him as though he is trespassing on their private property. “Why do we not dare not stand up for what is really essential: respect for the laws and values of the country in which we live?”
I live near a neighborhood in Brussels-Vorst, from the Mérodestraat to the train station Brussels South, which even with your utmost multicultural bias can not be defined as anything but a ghetto.
My daughter has since long given up going into that district. She simply has been abused too often with many not very nice things shouted at her. I cycle every day through it and time and again experience a new adventure. Double parked cars in the way, drivers who block an intersection just to have a chat with each other, youngsters hanging around staring at you as if you have invaded their private property.
Above all, try not to respond when you have nearly been knocked off your bike again: the last time I did it, I was abused by a bystander of barely sixteen years old, who ended his abusive tirade with a message I will not translate here: “Nique ta mère.” [go f*** your mum —translator]. This was a little less serious than last time, when another young Maghreb driver was offended by my behavior: I had the courage to take my right of way. this violated his honor in such way that he apparently could only correct this by spitting straight into my face…
Therefore above all: keep your mouth shut. Because if you try to explain that 70 km/h is a little too fast in a 30 km/h zone, you are immediately subjected to a confrontation with the honor of a young New Belgian who cannot stand anyone prohibiting him anything and is willing to run you down over it.
Twenty years ago I was convinced that the young New Belgians would be quickly assimilated. But now there is a generation in Brussels that has grown up like rebels without a cause, who always feels wronged. Never being responsible for anything, it is always the fault of someone else: the government, those racist Belgians. And even within their own families, those young men from the Maghreb remain untouchable. When the police picked up a boy in Brussels-Molenbeek, the father immediately organized a demonstration because his son “would never even steal an apple.”
The efforts of the government in the troubled neighborhoods have ensured that the youngsters do not feel the need to leave it, a ULB [Université Libre de Bruxelles] study showed last year. This way you create the narrowness of a village in the big city.
One of my daughter’s Moroccan friends has a Belgian boyfriend. She never goes in the neighborhood with him, because she will immediately be shouted at. Because although almost all the young immigrants have the Belgian nationality, still they lack any identification with this country. On the contrary: ‘Belge’ is a smear word…
You hardly ever see young women in that district. And certainly not in the cafés: there are not even “tolerated” there. When a female employee of the municipality asked for a coffee once, it soon became clear that she should not expect to be served. When I cycle through the Brussels-Merode district, I know that a ways beyond the train station South, not a woman can be seen at a terrace of a café. And then I did not mention the double sexual morality of those young immigrant women, who are still expected to prove their virginity on the wedding night, even though everyone knows that the hospitals in Brussels where a simple operation restores their hymen…
A renowned French-Moroccan artist last week exhibited a remarkable artwork in Brussels: a series of prayer mats with shoes. The art gallery immediately received threatening phone calls, the window was spit on and damaged. The fuss came up because on one prayer mat stood a set of lady’s shoes. The artist in this way wanted to raise the issue of “the place of women in Islam”. But that is not possible anymore in Brussels: a few days later, the artwork was removed.
Maybe we should ask ourselves how it is that we have accepted that principles like artistic freedom and equal rights for men and women do not apply to everyone in this country. Why do we not dare to stand up for what is in fact essential: respect for the laws and values of the country we live?
The headscarf ban is not a solution. But perhaps we should think about an assertive way to make clear that we dare to defend what we consider important.
It has been to the credit of the left to ask that more attention be paid to discrimination and social disadvantage. The problem, unfortunately, lies deeper than that: we have always been afraid to push our values onto immigrants. These values are too dear to me for me to lose them.
— by Luckas Vander Taelen
Who? Flemish MP for “Green!“ [Left wing eco-fascists]
What? We must teach young foreigners to respect our values.
Why? Some Brussels neighborhoods evolve into ghettos with their own laws.