Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Belgians Waffle

As their Dutch neighbors wake up to the bloody reality of Islamic terror on the streets of Amsterdam, Belgium tries desperately to stick its head ever deeper in the sands. The Belgian supreme court has ruled Vlaams Blok, one of the country's most popular parties "racist."
The ruling means the Blok will lose access to state funding and access to television which will, in effect, shut down the party.
And what was the Blok's great crime? The party advocated an anti-immigration platform as well as political independence for Dutch-speaking Flanders, a wealthy section of Belgium. According to AFP, the party's rise in popularity has mirrored a rise in ethnic violence in Antwerp, Flanders' wealthy port city:
The city has large North African and Orthodox Jewish minorities. It has seen a spate of anti-Semitic attacks recently, while a radical Arab group has been staging vigilante patrols of North African neighbourhoods.
Two opinion polls last month placed the Vlaams Blok as the most popular party in the region, ahead of the Christian Democrats, after it came second in June regional elections.
In national elections in May last year, the Vlaams Blok posted the best performance in its 26-year history by gaining three more seats in Belgium's 150-seat parliament to take its tally to 18.
But despite its poll success, the Blok has been kept out of power by a political "cordon sanitaire" of isolation by mainstream parties.
AFP reports that the Blok's leadership remains underterred and will relaunch the party under the new name "Vlaams Blok+" or "Vlaams Belang" (The Flemish Interest).
"What happened in Brussels today is unique in the Western world: never has a so-called democratic regime outlawed the country's largest political party," Vlaams Blok leader Frank Vanhecke said in a statement.
"Today, our party has been killed, not by the electorate but by the judges.
The BBC quoted Mr. Vanhecke comparing his party's censure to that of formerly communist eastern Europe where the state ideology permitted no other ideas.
"Exactly 15 years after the Berlin Wall came down and the people of East Germany and eastern Europe regained their freedom, it was confirmed today that in the Belgian state, democracy and freedom of speech are under threat," he said.
Mr. Vanhecke's sentiments can hardly be faulted. While one might argue with some merit that Europeans, after two devastating world wars, have an interest in mitigating nationalist impulses, declaring any anti-immigration stance to be racist on its face defies logic. Worse, it destroys any reasonable balance that arguments over immigration can attain through debate and argument. Cannot the average Belgian survey the facts as he sees them and come to the conclusion that his country is not improved by admitting ever larger numbers of foreigners whose countries without being immediately branded a "racist." What about non-white Belgians who might agree with such conclusions? Are they "racists" as well? Whatever happened to freedom of conscience, not to mention speech, in Belgium?

The answer, of course, is that the same leftist-elite mindset that pervades much of the politics of immigration in the U.S. has also manifested itself in Europe, where it has found even more fertile soil in which to propagate. This line of thought begins with the premise that Europeans are racist and concludes that any effort to advance the interest of Europeans must logically be racist as well. Since racism is the worst crime imaginable, European leftists have bent over backwards to demonstrate their non-racism by opening their countries borders' to enormous waves of immigrants from countries with cultural beliefs and practices diametrically oppose to those cultivated by Europeans at a great cost over the past millenium. The result: Theo Von Gogh's murder (see below).

The Vlaams Blok will retool its message slightly for the relaunch, AFP notes:
Instead of pushing for the forcible expulsion of non-European immigrants, in future it will demand the departure of minorities "who reject, deny or fight against culture and European values like the separation of church and state, freedom of expression and equality between men and women", it said.
Once upon a time, that wouldn't have been considered unreasonable, or xenophobic. It would have been considered common sense.


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