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Escape from Kuregem

Entry 1628 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash

A walk through Kuregem A slight miracle happened last week in Belgium.

Two important Flemish progressive parties, social democrats and ecologists, suddenly asked for a zero tolerance treatment in the hot quarters of Brussels.

When a few weeks before Christmas some (anonymous) policemen had complained in the press that they didn't dare to patrol anymore in certain Brussels streets this had been vehemently contradicted by the chief of police as utter humbug. Two incidents triggered this sudden change of opinion. A school in the Kuregem (Anderlecht) quarter closed and moved its classes to a safer part of town because its pupils were incessantly violently attacked and robbed by young thugs and the same weekend a police officer received three bullets in the leg from a Kalashnikov.

Until now these kind of occurrences had never been taken serious, last year had different incidents where police patrols had been ambushed by youngsters mostly because the law had tried to arrest a faithful fellow of the band. In one, rather ridiculous and shameful situation on the 7th of September 2009, the police could only get away by returning the Kalashnikov they had just seized from the gang. Later that day the Brussels police found a Kalashnikov, a riot-gun, a revolver and eight Molotov cocktails left after a shooting.

Only a few years ago the progressive parties called a sociologist racist because she had published a study comparing Brussels crime statistics with the nationality and religious backgrounds of these youngsters. Of course only a minority of Muslim immigrants are criminals but Brussels criminals are, almost without exception, part of the so-called lost maghreb generation. Instead of thinking of a solution for the problem the Belgian government tried to cover up the statistics by automatically giving all immigrant offspring the Belgian nationality. The result is that the immigrant criminality statistics lowered spectacularly but of course, not crime by itself.

The politically correct establishment tried to explain this as an anti-racist measure but a decade later theoretical crime researchers and sociologists complain that they have no longer the information they need to trigger the right stratum of the population.

To aggravate the matter the Brussels police is openly racist as was testified again this week by a Moroccan man who was arrested by mistake in the aftermath of the current events (the police simply entered the wrong house, doesn't police school teach anymore how to read housenumbers?). The cops kicked in doors although they simply could have opened them, smashed in windows just for the fun of it, emptied cupboards on the floor out of sheer sadism and sneered that it would be simpler to fire bullets through the heads of all Moroccans. The police officer (as a matter of fact the coordinator of the raid and thus the main responsible for the action) who uttered these threats was apparently unaware of the fact that the arrested man spoke fluently Dutch. Extreme right parties should finally understand that not only immigrants need to be instructed how to deal with other cultures.

But it also needs to be said that over 30 years of street work, educational projects and anti-discriminatory measures didn’t have the desired effect on the lost generation (the Kuregem quarter alone has got 4 neighbourhood committees where autochthons and immigrants can sort things out on a friendly basis). The editor in chief of the official Flemish television, not an illiterate racist redneck if you ask me, once told how the Brussels police was instructed not to verbalize cars if the owner was called Mohamed but only if it they found out the owner had a distinct French or Flemish surname. Those measures didn’t help, on the contrary, as these well-meant positive discriminatory measures only gave a minority the feeling that they could get away with anything. What started as a bunch of youngsters stealing handbags from old ladies has now evolved into gangs who empty their Kalashnikovs when they see a blue uniform.

But finally change is gonna come or so we thought. This is Belgium where a politician can't have a pee in his garden without creating a communotary crisis between Flemings and Walloons. Francophone politicians openly wondered what the fuzz this was all about and claim now that Flemings are planning a coup against Brussels (geographically speaking Brussels is a Francophone enclave encircled by Flemish territory). The mayor of Brussels centre called the shooting incident a fait divers and his 18 other colleagues more or less shared the same opinion. Brussels must be the only capital in the world that has nineteen (19!) different city managers, 19 city councils and 9 independent police zones.

But as is often the case also the Flemish politicians spoke without thinking first. Police and judges aren't opposed to the zero tolerance treatment but have already warned that this is not possible, at least not in the immediate future.

Whenever the police catch a Brussels thief he is inevitably set free a couple of hours later as the courts have an eight months delay to catch up. Youth delinquent centres are overbooked, so are the prisons and convicted suspects with sentences less than three years are free to go for lack of space in prisons.

The politicians shouting for an immediate solution have not realised that putting speed trials into place will ask for at least 10 new judges. Apart from creating an extra budget for this the legal procedure to appoint a Belgian judge usually takes over nine months. So new judges simply can’t be appointed before the end of this year. Such is the law and the politicians shouting now for immediate action have voted it that way.

Then there is the shortage of blueshirts in Brussels. To create an efficient police force in Brussels 750 extra forces are needed, but nobody is eager to take the job. No wonder if even the mayor, who is also head of police, calls being shot at by a Kalashnikov a fait divers. And weeding the extremist and racist roots within the police will be a hell of a job as well and is as important as getting the young thugs of the street.

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