“It was the time when Brussels used to sing.” Jacques Brel’s song came to my mind this morning as I heard the news about the Brussels killings. Dozens dead, countless injured, maimed for life. The rabid dogs have struck again.
Brussels is a lovely city. Small. Full of history, lovely food and charming people. In the 80’s I had many multinational clients in Brussels. ‘Used to take the early morning train at Gare du Nord in Paris, arrive at the Gare du Midi, hold my meetings. Grab a nice lunch with my Belgian friends, take the late train back to Paris. Many a peaceful trip to and from a lovely city.
I’ve since gone back, for pleasure, many a time. I recommend the Grand-Place, a jewel of medieval architecture. Have a Kriek on the Place de Brouckere. Kriek means cherry in flemish, it is a cherry flavoured beer. Cool and perfect for a lazy sunny afternoon in Brussels. Or have a waterzoi (literally, boiling water) a typical chicken or fish dish.
These last few days I’d been thinking of posting something about the killings and bombings in Grand-Bassam, a beach near Abidjan, Ivory coast, in Turkey, in Tunisia… About the arrest of the only surviving murderer of the November Paris killings. But the rabid dogs hit first. Gibb’s rule # 49: “There ain’t no such thing as a coincidence.” The fact that Mr. S.A. Esq. has just been arrested in Molenbeeck, a Brussels suburb, cannot be a coincidence. It is revenge. It reminded me of many a Paris bombing in the 80’s, perpetrated as blackmail to free such and such apprehended killer. There we are again. and it is worldwide. I have friends in Senegal who are likely bracing themselves for a possible attack.
Terrorism has hit again. “Can you make me some space?”
This cartoon is by Ali Dilem, an Algerian cartoonist. He publishes his cartoons in Algeria and in France. He has been subjected to legal harassment from the Algerian authorities on many occasions.
I‘ve written this before: we are at war. Who is “we”? The west? The north? Tunisia? Africa? San Bernardino? All those and many others, who believe in democracy, regardless of its flaws.
Having said that, what next? It has now been documented that a dozen delusional “radicals” can kill a hundred or more men, women or children. There are roughly 10,000 people in France documented with an “S” file. “S” meaning Security risk. Doesn’t mean they’re guilty, but they are documented as a “risk”. Many of the past assassins were labelled “S”. Went through the net. There aren’t enough police personnel to follow 10,000 risks. Now let’s do the math, if only 10% of those 10,000 blow themselves up in a crowd, and kill 100 each time, how many deaths? 100,000? Anywhere in France. Or in Belgium. Or anywhere.
And what do we do? Close to nothing. A handful of suspects held in custody. Soon to be released I imagine. The Paris killer’s lawyer is already challenging extradition form Belgium to France. All politicians will say: “let us not draw hasty conclusions”. Not all “immigrants” are like that.”Islam is a religion of peace”. I will probably lose a few friends as I say “I am tired of hearing that”. After the San Bernardino killings, the US Moslem reaction was: “we fear for our safety”. I don’t know that there have been any reprisals. Either in the US or in Europe.
On March 19th, our inept President, “Normal the first” chose to commemorate the end of the Algerian war of independence in 1962. That date marked the beginning of massacres of the Europeans in Algeria, and of the Harkis, the Algerian soldiers who fought alongside the French against the FLN. After a few months, close to a million “pieds-noirs”, some born and raised in Algeria for generations, took the last boat to France, so did the Harkis. About 90,000 Harkis found refuge in France. Between 30 and 150,000 were executed in Algeria. And the President chooses that date to “commemorate”? No-one “commemorates” the million people who fled the land of their birth to a French exile. Let us stop whipping ourselves.
What other measures have been taken? Oh. De-radicalisation workshops. A bit like AA meetings: “Hello, my name is … and I am a would-be Jihadist. I would like to go to Syria and fight for the Jihad.” Come on!
Parliament has been debating for months after the November Paris killings whether to pass a law on French Nationality destitution for terrorists. LOL. The media keep writing (for fear of racism accusations) about “So-and-so, a french or belgian 26 year-old national was arrested yesterday”. Please, strike that, they have forsaken their nationality rights. And they don’t give a crap. (Pardon my French).
According to a journalist, there are “715 zones of No-Law in France”. I don’t know if it’s a fact, I just know that there are many areas where the Police does not dare come in. I also heard (hearsay) that during the arrest of the Paris killer in Mollenbeek, in Brussels, there were hostile reactions from the residents.
Of course, many will claim: “Poor things, there is high unpemployment in those areas, it is not their fault. They feel excluded…” BS. Several ministers and ex-ministers in France, from the left or right come from immigrant families. And made it up to the top. Why? Maybe because their immigrés parents pushed and pushed them at school, and they aimed for a better life. And made it.
Let us call a cat, a cat. Europe is facing a major issue with immigrants. Not all of them, of course, but, as I mentioned, 10,000 “Security risks” in France is a major threat. And if I may say so, the Moslem public reaction so far has been lukewarm. “We fear for our safety.” I have yet to see European moslems march by the thousands in European streets to solemnly condemn the killings.
The only significant reaction I have seen so far, but then I don’t pretend to know everything at 10,000 miles distance, was this video by a Frenchman of Arabic descent, right after the November killings:
Basically this young man, Bassem Braiki, from Vénissieux, a suburb of Lyon, says: “It is up to us, Moslems of France, to clean up our house”. And he makes a very strong point.
I do not know what the solution is. Do-gooders in France are already protesting the “State of emergency” law enacted last year. “It is an attack against human rights”, they say. A proposal to install safety scanners in some schools in France has been turned down. A “violation of rights”… Personally, If I have to be undergo a search every time I take the metro and not be blown away, I’ll take the search.
Lest we slowly go from “State of emergency” to Martial law, here are two wishes. First of all, I urge European muslims to stand up, solemnly condemn acts of terror, and “clean up” their house. (I know, this statement will get me a lot of “friends”…) Second, the Law must be enforced everywhere on European territory. No neighbourhood can remain outside the Law. (That should also get me new “friends”).
As an aside, Maelbeck metro station, one of today’s killing sites is situated on Wetstraat/La rue de la Loi. The street of the Law.
Let no-one misguide you: this is not a war between Europeans and Arabs, neither between Europe and the Arab world (Tunisia, the origin of the Arab spring a few years ago is being hit hard by extremists), nor is it a war between Islam and Christianity. It is a war between Humanity and madness. It is time to take sides.
And to finish this post, allow me to dedicate the following song to the people and the city of Brussels: “It was the the time when Brussels used to sing”.
As usual my words and my words only. Comments and opinions welcome. My sorrow and pain go to the people of Belgium.
If anyone wonders: “Why the photos?”, I gave it great thought, between rage and sorrow, then decided to include them to show what a lovely, peaceful city Brussels was and will aways be. Vive la Belgique!