I am watching Aljazeera International and enjoying the sight of that hatemongering racist Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Blok finally being handcuffed and carried off by Belgian police. It is about time too. It has taken 20 years and an internationally reported demonstration for Belgium to finally realize that it doesn’t do the image of the country any good to show fascists being given a platform and a megaphone by the police, while antifascist protesters are brutalized and rounded up – because that is how I have always known it to be. Even their conviction of racism in court didn’t earn them an arrest or even the dissolution of the party – they just changed their name (I personally refuse to use the new name – they haven’t changed their program or their rhetoric, so the conviction stands and so should the name). But maybe it’s just because this happened in cosmopolitan Brussels and not, as usual, in backward provincial towns like Antwerp or Bruges?
What kind of a ridiculous concept is that anyway, ‘the islamization of Europe’? Those 4 or 5% of muslim immigrants in the population are going to change our continent or what? Get real. The truth is that vicious power hungry maniacs without any political program or vision like Dewinter and Le Pen would never manage to collect more than two votes if they didn’t have some hapless minority to blame for all the world’s problems – which are actually caused by those very hatemongering fear sowing terrorists themselves – whether they’re European-style racists, religious fundamentalists of any kind, neocons or zionists – you name it – they’re all in a league working together to terrorize and oppress the rest of us. It’s the old trick of blaming the victim: muslims in Belgium are actually actively discriminated against in every situation, from the labour market all the way to the nightlife – which is the main reason why they tend to retreat more and more into their own community. We’ve forced them to, by excluding them from virtually all mainstream social, cultural and political life.
It’s a disconcerting experience sitting here in Beirut and watching Aljazeera actually interviewing Bart Debie, who’s coming across as a right dickhead complaining that ‘my children are forced to eat halal food at school and my local swimming pool has a women-only hour every week’ – these being the only arguments he can come up with to substantiate his claim of ‘the islamization of Europe’. When asked whether there is a place for muslims in Europe and what price muslims have to pay to be accepted by Europeans, he went all sweet and pussy, saying ‘oh, of course’ and stammering, in his crap English, something unclear about public and private life and christmas trees and other things completely opposed to the agressive anti-muslim message his party is actually – and aggressively – pushing in Flanders. The only clear argument coming out of him was that muslims had to adapt to ‘the European way of life’. When another interviewee pointed out that there is actually no ‘European way of life’, that Finns and Greeks do not ewactly share much of a common lifestyle, and that Belgians and Polish hardly lead the same kind of lives either, he was completely lost for an answer, so he just switched to the usual extreme-right ramble about ‘mosques being built in Belgium’ and ‘I can’t even imagine what would happen if I tried to build a christian church in a muslim country’ – no, you can’t, you idiot, you can’t imagine that that there are christian churches all over Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Turkey and Iraq (at least before the US came and talibanized it). All you see is Saudi Arabia (where only 10% of the Arabs and 2.5% of the muslims actually live, and which is ridiculed and regarded as a backwater by most all other Arabs and muslims) and Afghanistan (where every generation alive has grown up in continuous civil and foreign wars and refugee camps where nobody gave a fuck about them and the only ‘education’ they could get was from Saudi islamists and international jihadists. These 2 exceptions you take and generalize into ‘the muslims’. And most of all, while your kind of racist reactionary is forever claiming ‘our’ civilisation and ‘our’ superiority by referring to ‘our’ respect for religious freedom, human rights and democracy, then turn around and demand the abolition of ‘our’ religious freedom, human rights and democracy – basically trying to turn ‘us’ into the picture you paint of ‘them’, in a completely contradictory circular argument. You, Dewinter, Debie & co, have about as much right to claim ‘religious freedom, human rights and democracy’ as your values as Pol Pot and the Ayatollah Khomeini put together – and at least they had the basic decency not to claim these values as theirs. You make me sick – if I didn’t know that there’s plenty of your ilk in Lebanon too, I’d actually be ashamed to be known as a Belgian here.