ⒸLe Soir      

Yes, they did it! Belgium won its world record... Longest time ever without a government.

February 17th - 8:44 - Belgium officially wins the world record for ‘lack of government’ - 249 days.

Since we are living in a crazy country, as soon as the record was established, other voices were heard.

The world record has probably been established already ever since the 8th of February if you start counting from the day PM-to-be Leterme resigned from his post, opening the way to the worst European political crisis in a long time.

On the other hand if you start counting the days of mayhem on an Iraki basis, meaning the day Irak got a true government and not the day political parties came to an agreement to govern the country, then we’ll have to wait until March 29th and hit the perfect score: 289 days.

Obviously, Belgium has already chosen her record - 249 days. And believe me, Belgians are extremely proud of it! They have started to boast about it in the newspapers, on the radio, on tv, everywhere.

On January 23rd, they chose to demonstrate their ‘anger’ (too strong a word for Belgians) and they called it "shame", very peaceful and mostly French-speaking in Brussels. (30.000 people)

On Thursday, there was something called ‘Pas en notre nom/Niet in onze naam’, organized by some 5.000 students, mainly Flemish. Of course, being in Belgium, it became known as the ‘Revolution of the (French/Freedom) Fries’ since everybody knows that Belgium has invented fried potatoes. (Which is true by the way.)

Ever since I have been living in Belgium, I have always been torn apart whenever something serious happens there.

I usually start feeling appalled at the Belgians’ lack of reactions whatsoever. And then, I give a shrug. And I end up joking about whatever happened.

Well, not really after all.

I always feel ill at ease, angry and close to crying most of the time because I do not understand the passiveness and the lack of involvement of Belgians. It looks like as if they just don’t care about anything. They are acting like sheep so easy to drive to the slaughterhouse.

It is hard to believe it but for those of you who understand and read French, go to Le Soir. It is read by most French-speaking Belgians.

I’ve been reading it almost every day now! Plus all the news I get on the Web... because you see, I’m worried, not only for being an expat there but mainly because I feel so strongly European.

By the way, I am not trying to be negative about Le Soir. It’s just that it is very boring unless you love reading about accidents and «news in brief». Now you find a special page dedicated to the political crisis...

If you don’t read French fluently, I will tell you what’s in Le Soir ever since they won the world record.

A list of world records won by Belgians. Yes, this is true. Those 249 days without a government (and maybe one whole year, who knows) represent a record that will be written down in the Guiness Book of Records.

And this is great! A wonderful achievement probably since Belgium has not been achieving much lately...

Hip hip hurrah!

Last record set - 249 days without a government (and a country about to  
be split in two, three, four parts... and more... who wants a piece of Belgium?)

In 2010, Chris Verschueren fried 1.500 kilos of potatoes during 83 hours. He rested 5 mns every hour. World record.

Hip hip hurrah!

One world record of hula hoop - 2.875 people in Ostende during 2 minutes.

Hip hip hurrah!

Stefaan Engels run 20 Ironman triathlons in one year (between december 2007 and november 2008). World record.

Hip hip hurrah!

World record again - Last year, Kim Clijsters defeated Serena Williams in front of 35.681 spectators at King Baudouin stadium. The greatest number of spectators ever... for a tennis game.

Hip hip hurrah!

Last but not least and I’m getting tired and a little bit nauseated since all those records and many more are quoted in Le Soir, boasting about Belgium gift for world records... unless this is true Belgian humour.

In 2009, 539 persons won the world record for running backwards in Kapellen.

Hip hip hurrah!

It is so hilarious, isn’t it?

Come on, Belgium, wake up. All over the world, people are fighting for freedom and righteous governments.

Wake up! Your world record is pitiful.

Have you forgotten the horrors Irak had been through before they finally formed a government? How dare you compare yourselves to the Iraki people who had been through dictatorship and one very unjust war plus a stint of unnamed civil/religious war...

How dare you speak of a world record?

Do something instead of making light of a very disgraceful situation. Do something. Get back together or split or... but do something.

Aren’t you lucky (lucky is not the right word but I’m in Belgium after all), aren’t you lucky that the world is so worried about the turmoils in the Middle East that you are not too much of a laughing stock after all.

Wake up, Belgians!

Aren’t you getting fed up with your men growing beards, with your women being on a sex strike and your students and their fried potatoes?

Maybe you should write every day to your politicians... One post card would do the trick! You should urge them to read Plato's Republic. Then maybe after a while, they would get the message and start a government, fair and democratic.

Hip hip hurrah for Plato, Socrates and the Republic!

*Good Luck, and Good Night*

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