I am flabbergasted. Speechless which is quite hard for me. I was speechless but there are things to be said.
While people all over the world fight for freedom and new governments (and it’s probably only a beginning), Belgium is sliding into a bottomless pit... silently, oh so silently.
Johan Vande Lanotte who has spent more than 100 days trying to get Flemish and Walloon politicians to reach a peaceful agreement resigned yesterday afternoon. No agreement, no conciliator. No conciliator, no agreement.
What will happen now?
Will 100.000 Belgians, Flemish and French-speaking citizens alike, take to the street? 500.000 of them? Come on, people. There were 300.000 Belgians through the streets of Brussels for the 'White March'. Remember?
Can’t you fight, Flemish and Walloons and people living in Brussels? Why don’t you find enough strength and will to tell your leaders: ‘Enough is enough’?
Because you still have a ‘shadow’ government except that it will get tougher and tougher for your country, financially and economically speaking?
Because you feel safer than most peoples in the world since you are used to live in a federal system which kind of conceals the aching political void?
I have heard people say: ‘But they have a King, don’t they?’ In Belgium, the King reigns over Belgium but he does not govern the country.
So what can possibly happen?
Probably early legislative elections.
And then what? A toughening of the Flemish far right? The partition of Belgium with the problem of the French-speaking minority in Flanders, close to Brussels? ‘New Flanders’, should I say. Let’s not forget that this partition is included in the political program of the Flemish far right.
The problem of this French-speaking minority was probably one of the reasons why the French-speaking political parties were refusing to negociate.
What will happen to Brussels then? Let’s not forget that only 10% of its population has Flemish roots. Nobody knows what will happen to Brussels. It most certainly will loose its status of regional entity. What about its status as the capital of Europe?
Everybody knows that I’m not terribly in love with Belgium. So I’ll be very blunt.
Belgians right now are reaping what they have sown. They have been so dreadfully indifferent to what’s going on in their own country. They tend to be so happy-go-lucky. As I said before, one flag hanging from the balcony was a big step for them.
Voting is mandatory in Belgium? When you vote, you should realize that you are voting for your future and the future of your children and grand-children. You are taking your future in your own hands. You have the right to express yourself.
Allow me a digression there. French people don’t vote much but they take to the street very easily as soon they feel threatened... by the government most of them didn’t elect since they did not use their citizen rights and freedom to vote. End of digression... totally improper I know. But I'm really mad tonight.
The Belgian system is a proportional representation. This does not make things easy. But it doesn’t mean that you have to keep silent when the politicians who have been lawfully elected keep bickering instead of working for the good of the nation.
Actually, people started getting nervous after 225 days without a true government when they learnt that they would soon run into deep financial problems because of their huge national debt... personally, I mean! The interest rates will become quite high.
I guess this is the reason why Belgians suddenly woke up to reality. The problems between Flanders and Wallonia including Brussels no longer were totally created by language barriers. They no longer were completely institutional either.
They started implying that there would be a price to pay. A heavy one for every Belgian.
Who would like to pay more taxes and/or loose one’s job because of too much weakness and apathy?
Hence the ‘Shame’ demonstration.
I have to admit that I feel very ashamed of the lack of coverage and help from the other European countries, especially France.
I hope that diplomacy is really busy right now but it doesn’t seem very helpful either.
Many European countries stand to loose a lot though if Belgium splits. What will we tell our ‘minorities’ who have been asking for partition for quite a long time now. I’m thinking about Corsica in France and the Basque Country in France and Spain?
I have a pretty good idea though, at least as far France is concerned. We’ll take to the streets at once. We’ve done it so many times. There I go again... I was 20 in 1968!
Vote is not mandatory in France but we do react like crazy.
Wake up, Belgium. I hope that on Sunday, there will hundreds of thousands of Belgians in the streets of Brussels, all united. Flemish and Walloons together for a better future.
Wake up, Belgium. And look around. People are fighting everywhere for a better life. Don’t you want to join them?
Don’t you dare forget that you stand as a symbol. You belong to a very small circle: the founding nations of Europe.
Europe was a very beautiful idea, wasn’t it?
*Good Luck, and Good Night*