Double standards or niggers and Jews not allowed
Entry 1680 posted in: 1. General Mish Mash
The last couple of weeks I tried to explain to foreign friends, who had read in Le Monde or la Libé that Flemish politicians openly forbid French speaking people to buy houses in Flanders, that these restrictions were only valid for so-called social housing projects and not for the free market.
But last week Belgian television found out that several Flemish town administrations recommend building project agencies to only sell their houses to Dutch speaking people and to, on a voluntarily basis, hand over a list of interested would-be buyers to the city council before making the deal. This has apparently been going on for ages.
Asking such a thing is of course illegal and the housing agency doesn't need to be cooperative but then the subtle hint is given that the necessary licenses to build the houses will be delayed or - if possible - refused. This is not that far from South-African apartheid sunbathing rules (see image above) or German national-socialists asking for lists of Jewish entrepreneurs in the thirties.
An example of how illegal this is: Belgian anti-racism laws will not allow anyone to refuse to rent a house to a colored person out of racial prejudices and rightly so, but Flemish government now uses crypto-fascist methods to stop the unstoppable French immigration into Flemish territory.
Unlike London, Paris or Berlin it is not considered hip to live in the Belgian capital. During the day Brussels is filled with people who flee the capital en masse as soon as the church bells sound 5 PM, after that, many fear, the minarets take over…
Basically only the immigrants (legal or not), the poor and young live in Brussels. For reasons that would take to long to explain they mostly choose French as their official language. Luckily quite a few of them succeed in ameliorating their (financial) position but as soon as they have reached a certain status these families want to leave the capital faster than Speedy Gonzales and settle in one of the neighboring villages.
It is here that the linguistic clash occurs. Geographically speaking Brussels is a francophone enclave surrounded by Flemish territory. Every year (originally small and rural) Flemish villages are confronted with about a thousand French speaking 'migrants'. Over the past decades this resulted in the demographic fact that several villages have now a French speaking majority although politically and geographically speaking they are a still part of Flanders.
Although Flemish politicians refuse to acknowledge this, a recent study (2009) at Brussels university has pointed out that it is simply impossible to stop Brussels migration towards Flanders. Brussels is an octopus whose arms are grabbing more and more territory whether Flanders likes it or not.
That same study agrees that there is a problem, but also concludes that shortsighted (read: repressive) measures are ineffective. The only way to stop unilingual French infiltration into Flanders is to build a strong Flemish socio-cultural presence in Brussels and even more of importance: build more Flemish schools in Brussels so that future migrants will at least have learned the language of the region they will migrate into.
Although the house-selling rules are obviously in a legal gray zone and openly racist the Flemish vice-minister president Geert Bourgeois sees no problem and even finds these measures positive.
A political editor of the progressive newspaper De Morgen compared these methods to racketeering and was wondering how far Flemish local politicians will dare to go: will they refuse to send out the fire brigade if a French speaking person's house is on fire?
Geert Bourgeois is a member of the federalist N-VA party, but his roots are the (now disbanded) Volksunie party that has always struggled with its image, due to some hardboiled members who refused to hide their sympathy for nazism and apartheid. At least we now know what Bourgeois stands for.
It is not a coincidence that the racketeering measure has leaked out this week. But contrary to what logic should dictate it has not been made public by francophone language activists but by their Flemish counterparts.
Since a couple of months ultra-secret negotiations are going on between Flemish, Walloon and Brussels political hotshots, lead by ex-prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, in order to find a solution for the federal (and constitutional) impasse Belgium is in right now. These negotiations are now in its final stage and separatists parties are desperately trying to sabotage these.
It is no secret either that the N-VA (whose ultimate goal it is to split Belgium) is using emergency plans and is, behind the screens, giving instructions to Flemish extremist language groupuscules to heat things up. I'm pretty sure more linguistic fires will be started the next couple of weeks.
But like in any good espionage and counterespionage story these quarrels could have the opposite effect and only strengthen the negotiations to get Belgium out of its troubles, once and for all.
Other Flemish Belgian stories on this blog:
Just like Belgium