Monday, October 09, 2006


A quiet and prudent applause for the mayor of Antwerp, Patrick Janssens, who, finally, has succeeded in stabilizing the fascist rise to power in my hometown Antwerp, thereby almost doubling the score of his Socialist Party, that after too many years is now again the biggest party of the political spectrum. Of course, as is fitting for fascists, they were reluctant, even spiteful, to admit their defeat. But at least, for the first time in years, you could see that they realised their times of uninterrupted success are over. Now maybe we can, after much too long a time, start doing something constructive and show the world that Antwerp and Flanders in general is not all about hate, racism, intolerance and general malaise.

It is, of course, not all laughs, because the Vlaams Belang party has had a landslide victory in most small communities, even in those where there is not a coloured face in sight. Which proves that the rise of fascist parties in general (because Flanders is, discouragingly enough, not the only place in the world where people reflect their unease with postmodernity and globalised capitalism through voting for parties that propagate hate and intolerance) is not exclusively about racism. It is also a sign that people are less and less tolerant regarding most other issues too, and ultimately, when it comes to dealing with each other.

When we were, yesterday, watching Bliss, the movie I discussed in my previous post, I commented to my mother that people who complain about the situation here in the Western part of Europe, should be sent to China, Africa, Eastern Europe or any other region in the world where everyday people struggle just to keep their heads above the water.

The ultimate problem is that people in Europe (and also in the US, that other very rich part of the world) do not realise how lucky they really are, and simply, out of sheer boredom rather than out of an immediate need, start inventing discontent where there are no really problems, in the process denying all other groups, races and have-nots their place and piece of the pie.

A lot of work needs to be done still and maybe things will get even worse, but after a long period of complete political despair a ray of hope has finally succeeded in piercing the clouds in the place where I live. I drink to that, as long as it lasts.

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