Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Three news-items in the Antwerper newspaper (Gazet van Antwerpen) caught my eye today as indicating that a city which had been glibly dismissed by mediaeval writers as suitably the abode of the evil one now embraces a much broader category of inhabitant.

1: Four Frenchmen arrested for vandalism

Four young Frenchmen were arrested for overturning terrace-chairs of a cafe and an eatery, breaking the glass of a bus stop, smashing the glass in a terrace wind-break, destroying fences, vandalizing traffic signs, throwing parked bicycles into the roadway, and overturning garbage receptacles.

[See, it's because of French behaviour in the past that Flemings do not like Frenchmen. Wasn't that message perfectly clear already? ]

2: Allochthonous youths attack pregnant girl

A sixteen year pregnant old girl was assaulted by a group of allochthonous (non-native, in this case meaning Moroccan) youth, who cursed her, threw cans at her, kicked and hit her in her stomach. This happened in a schoolyard during recess. The school administration promptly sent her to the hospital, and had the police remove the miscreants from their classes.

[What makes this really interesting is that the pregnant girl's family is active in a watchdog group that organizes against, and tracks the ultra-right, particularly Vlaams Belang (the latest incarnation of the ethno-nationalist Flemish Block) - which, of course, agitates against the very same ethnic group that attacked his daughter.]

3: Two Yeshiva bocherim assaulted by anti-Semites

Two British Yeshiva bocherim, waiting for the bus at ten-thirty in the evening, were beaten up by four men, who after finishing their task gave a brisk Hitler salute before fleeing into the night. It is believed that the perpetrators were skinheads or neo-Nazis.

[The article mentions that they fled ahead of the arrival of the police. Not to cast aspersions at the Antwerper cops (though that is exactly what I am doing ), but I'm very suspicious when cops do not arrive till after such incidents are over. ]

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Some rather rotten Flemings

Over the last few decades Antwerpen has become a hotbed of resurgent Nazism, with several incidents that are brutal proof of hardened attitudes.
The racist who shot and killed an African nanny a few months ago was but a recent and minor example - Antwerpen is one of the cities where in the eighties and nineties rightwing students made a sport out of drinking themselves into a violent rage, then going out to beat leftwing students to a pulp.

Names particularly associated with Flemish rightwingers and racists: Siegfried Verbeke, Dieter van Parijs, Pieter van Damme, Geert Neyrinck. These gentlemen have a history, shall we say.

What must be particularly mentioned about such people is that they often masquerade under legitimate colours in political parties and local government while maintaining strong ties to such shadowy organizations as Bloed Bodem Eer Trouw (the Flemish branch of Blood and Honor).

According to some pollsters, over twenty-five percent of the Flemish support the Vlaams Belang (formerly known as Vlaams Block - Flemish Block - hence the name Blokwatch for the organization that keeps an eye on neo-Nazi activities). The Vlaams Belang is to the Flemish racists, skinheads, and neo-Nazis what Sinn Fein is to the Ira. Vlaams Belang Chairman Flip De Winter has more name recognition than most other Belgian politicians.

Flemish neo-Nazis want North Africans and Muslims expelled, demand official recognition and pensions for the soldiers who served with the SS on the Eastern Front , and want non-native cultural elements suppressed. Xenophobia and anti-Moroccan sentiment have fuelled the growth of both the front organizations and the underground activist network.

At present they do not often overtly manifest their anti-Semitism, except for supporting revisionists and holocaust deniers. They are primarily focused on the Muslims, secondarily on Southern and Eastern Europeans. Like all good Flemings they have always despised and hated the French, and want the French language banned in Flemish provinces. Communists, socialists, and liberals are considered traitors and hence fair game for gangs of neo-Nazi thugs.

Jews, however, are strictly a backburner issue - for the time being.

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