Belgian politics, a tragic joke.

I am sad. I am angry. What to say? The problem is not that I have nothing to write, the problem is I find it hard to organize my thoughts right now, while all kinds of emotions roll trough me. Mostly sadness and anger.

I was shocked when the Paris attacks took place, I am baffled every time a terrorist bomb goes off somewhere in the world. Let’s not be hypocrite, Arab countries are bombed on a daily basis by so-called ‘believers’, and thus are muslims the biggest victims of those who believe of themselves they represent Allah’s will.

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Brussels after the 22nd March 2016 bombings

But now these bombings came dangerously close. Close to my family, close to my friends, close to the people I love. In that way maybe I am a hypocrite too, for my sadness and anger never were as big as now after the Brussels bombings. It truly shattered my dream of a loving and peaceful society, my belief in an utopia where everybody would living along and help each other. Where the strong would help the weak, the rich would help the poor. Not that I am against a certain measure of inequality, the chance to become prosperous is an incentive for people to work harder and become successful, but there are limits. My libertarian conviction says everybody should be free, but one’s freedom ends when it might infringe the basic rights of another being.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, politicians are falling over each other, a true stampede got started to race from one homage to the victims to the next one. It is so important for them to show they care. But what they effectively did in the past decades belies their true motivation. Where were they when it became clear there would be problems in the future for our community?

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The control of the failing media

The media also have a big responsibility in this. Just like society in general, everything needed to become ‘ready for consumption’. Research journalism is on the brink of death. Better to bring shocking stories without much investigative effort, and bombard the public with little facts. The more shocking the better. But spending money to really investigate and find out crooked facts is too much asked for our media.

Under pressure of the public more and more facts come to the surface. It seems the bombings might have been stopped in time. Mistake upon mistake has been amassed. Missed opportunities to arrest the terrorists, miscommunication, bad management, incompetence, laziness, protection of own interests, etcetera.. By the people that swore they would protect us if we gave them our vote.

It would be too easy to blame the security forces. The are vastly understaffed, and enormously underfunded. Responsible jobs were given to candidates with the most political support, to the ones that would comply without much fuss with funding cuts, to the ones that would execute the will of their political masters without a second thought. Not to the ones with the most competences and best suited for the job.

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Philippe Moureaux, former mayor of Molenbeek

Philippe Moureaux, former mayor of Molenbeek during 20 years (he has been seating in the city council for 40 years) made a string of declarations in the past days and weeks. He declared that the ‘incarceration in prison of Salah Abdeslam (the terrorist from Paris that got caught but who grew up in Molenbeek) was the reason of his radicalization’. He declared  Salah Abdeslam was a harmless ‘amateur’. After the Paris bombings the minister for Security and Internal Affairs Jan Jambon declared he would ‘clean Molenbeek of all extremist elements’. Mr. Moureaux accused Mr. Jambon of being a ‘nazi’. Today Mr. Moureaux gave a press conference where he admitted ‘he might have been too cautious regarding the social mix’ in his former city. It seems to me it is the exact opposite. But these are a politicians’ words, often meaning the exact opposite of what is said.

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Bart Somers, mayor of Mechelen

A school principal was recently suspended because he failed to notify the authorities soon enough about the radicalization of one of his students, notably Bilal Hadfi who blew up himself later on in Paris. The police of the city of Mechelen, a stone’s throw away from Brussels, received information that could have led the security forces to the hiding place of Salah Abdeslam in december 2015. Police officers declared the chief of police withheld that information and did not inform the national authorities. Today on a press conference the chief of police of Mechelen declared that mistakes have been made, but that it was a lower echelon that made the mistake and not him. Whenever in the past there was a city to blame, the mayor of Mechelen, Bart Somers, did not refrain to point out his management of his city should be an example for all Belgian cities. Right now Mr. Somers stays mute, and his political appointee in function as chief of police tries to assure us he has no responsibility for this fuck-up. In contrast nobody in this case will be suspended, the Brussels school principal didn’t do his job, but our politicians did.

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“Belgian infrastructure: Tunnels – Nuclear Plants – Back Doors (loopholes)”

Belgium has become the laughingstock of the world, it is clear from the outside the political system is rotten and corrupt. Politicians have failed to tackle the problems that not only soothsayers could discern in the future, they have made cuts after cuts in our judicial and security force while raising the taxes and their own salaries. Politicians were more busy with appointing their family, relatives and their political supporters, with taxing people, going for the fast and quick gains by imposing tax after tax on the population, and with assuring their financial future by concocting secret tax rulings – against the laws of equal rights – to exempt multinationals and the wealthy from taxes, so they could look forward to a nice job in the board of directors of some big company. Luc Coene, the former director of the Belgian National Bank, recently literally stated that “the average Belgian was not hurt yet by the tax level in Belgium, so there was no taboo on imposing more taxes”. Nice statement in a country that groans under the highest tax level in the whole world. I suppose he sees his own upper class of the wealthy as being ‘average’, and of course there will never be any pain for them at whatever level the lower people are taxed.

If you, politicians, want to make a real homage to the victims of the bombings, step down, disband the parliament, form a temporary government of competent technocrats to bridge the transition, and let the people – assisted by unbiassed intellectuals – write a new constitution and legislation for our country. With no place for corruption, where politicians would be held accountable for their promises and decisions, and where love, peace, freedom and equality would be the basis for the new legislation. And where the new legislation would not merely be the protection of past rights and the legalization of the feudal system for the 1 percent. Meanwhile you will be persecuted for the many decades of your lies, your mistakes, your incompetence, your nepotism, your money-making schemes, in short: because of your failing to protect and serve the people as you pledged to do.

We need a revolution. Bloodless, peaceful, but a complete change.

lemmy terroristsAnd for you terrorist believers in that god you call Allah but where other believers in Him strongly disagree, I have bad news: you lose. And there are no virgins left in heaven, only a hell to burn in eternity.

Love ❤️, yann.

We take away your freedom just to protect it

ANY critical observer agrees that in the past years, especially since 9/11 2001, our individual freedom has greatly disappeared. Under the motto of “we do it to protect your freedom”, more and more laws have been enacted that conflict with the spirit of democracy, or are even undemocratic.

Mark Twain fool peopleThis has always been a wet dream of all secret and security agencies: to be able to follow each individual wherever he goes, and to know at every moment what that individual does, thinks and plans. Not much unlike the 1948 novel by George Orwell, ‘1984′. Secret agencies are known not to strictly follow the laws, sometimes secretly sanctioned by politicians for ‘the good of the country’. It is striking that secret laws are enacted and secret justice courts are instated without the knowledge of the general public nor its representatives, in the name of that same public with the so-called purpose of protecting the freedom of that same public.

Again, this is not a black-and-white story, I will not fall in line with Mr. Bush’s rethoric of “you are either with us or against us”, but the protection of our freedom against the threat of terrorism is a paradox. Politicians are the first to rant about our the freedom of our democracies that will prevail over all, but at the same time they are eager to dismantle that freedom.

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Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Are we just fed an illusion of freedom? Are we willing to give away more freedom under the pretext it needs to be taken away just to protect us? Is this not the greatest victory of terrorism over our democracies? Keep in mind that our children, the generation born some 10 to 15 years ago, is the first ever generation that will never have known in real life what ‘privacy’ means. There is no more privacy. Everything you mail, everything you text via your cell phone, whomever you call via your phone, wherever you go, all this is known by the authorities.

Besides that major private companies now know more about you than your partner. Everything you do on internet, everything you buy in shops, everywhere you go thanks to the GPS in your smartphone. Certain shops even know which aisles you stroll in their shop, what products took more of your attention, because they can exactly monitor you by your unique smartphone signal. That way they can send you personalized spam and prompt you to buy these things. Never wondered why, after you visited some website of a window-selling company, you almost immediately get ads for windows in Facebook, on some other sites, in your mail?

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, second from right, is escorted to a waiting security vehicle outside of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., Monday, July 15, 2013, after appearing for a hearing at his court martial. Lawyers for Manning, who leaked thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks, urged a judge Monday to dismiss a charge he aided the enemy, saying prosecutors failed to prove Manning intended for the information to fall into enemy hands. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Whistleblower Chelsea/Bradley Manning (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

So the end questions are: how much are you willing to part with freedom? Or do you want to give it completely up to get a feeling of security? Because all experts agree, no measures can ever safeguard us 100% against terrorist attacks. It happened before, and these attacks will happen again. And in the mean time the governments – and multinationals – know everything about you.

I would rather have them install a camera in my bathroom (my body is not much different than the other 3,5 billion men on earth), than to be able to follow my thoughts and passions. But that is just me.

“THE FURTHER A SOCIETY DRIFTS FROM TRUTH THE MORE IT WILL HATE THOSE WHO SPEAK IT” George Orwell (?) (1903-1950)

(Whistleblower = A person who tells the public what the government doesn’t want them to know)

 

Love ❤️, yann.

anonymous government has failed you

Terror…

These days are no very joyful days. The things that are happening in the world, coming out of Syria and Iraq, are worrying me and, I must admit, keeping me out of my sleep. Because the problem is complex.

5646ddfcc36188e1198b4602Saying IS/ISIL/Daesh does not worry me would be a profound lie. They keep me preoccupied. Where is our world going to? But at the same time, the reactions of our ‘leaders’ also worry me. The emphasis is solely on ‘war’. War generates hate. I do not believe in an all-encompassing solution just by waging war. Nor do I believe that war is avoidable. It is just that fighting and killing in itself will not resolve the problems.

What also worries me is the position of peaceful and righteous Muslims throughout the world. The terrorist acts by IS/ISIL/Daesh are a curse for them, as the latter pretend to do this in the name of Allah. That way, they effectively stir up anti-Islam feelings in the West and create a divide, where only more extremism can grow.

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Bataclan (Paris) – Eagles of Death Metal

Where I live I am surrounded by Muslims. I do feel very safe, thank you. They are generous, peaceful, helpful, compassionate people. They are very poor but even then I regularly get presents from them. Vegetables, prepared food, gifts.. With no other reason than me living and being here even though they know I am an atheist.

But still I am a bit angry at Muslims. They have been quiet for too long. They have allowed that the voice of the extremists, who make up just a tiny figure of their numbers (or – I dare say – are not even real Muslims), is reverberating throughout the world while they kept silent. Or fairly silent. Rarely they sent out a united and strong message to the world that they dissociated themselves from extremist views, that those terrorists are no real believers in Allah. That would lessen the fear for Islam in the West. That would counter the cries of the ever stronger right extremists. That would send a signal to the own Muslim youth that terrorism is not tolerated in Islam.

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An Egyptian feminist artist defecating and menstruating on an IS/ISIL/Daesh flag

Some people argue that Muslims should not defend their religion and explicitly have to differentiate them in the public’s eye from jihadi’s, just like Christians do not have to defend their religion and differentiate themselves from the KKK and so-called Christian extremists. That would be true in an ideal world, but ours isn’t. They have the perception against them, there is a fear of Islam embedded in the West since the cruel crusades ordered by despotic Popes, and now there is the ever growing right extremist lobby just wanting to spread violence and hate like we knew in the forties.

I had many heated discussions with Muslim friends in the past years about their passivity. Sure, they should not be the ones to apologize for the actions of lunatics and misguided extremists who abuse the name of Allah for their own crooked goals. But they should have made clear to the world, already many years ago, including to their own offspring, that their religion has nothing to do with hate and bloodshed. So Muslims of the world: unite!

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Australians Ashley Dyball (left) and Reece Harding (KIA) fighting with YPG

In the past years I have read many stories of Western people, even untrained, joining the ranks of the Kurds and other anti-IS militia to fight the extremists. I have to concede that I always had an admiration for them. Last week I saw a documentary about the parents of Ashley Dyball, an Australian youngster of 23, trying to bring back home their son who went to Syria to join YPG (Kurdish freedom fighters) in their fight against IS/ISIL/Daesh. He blankly refused, as he felt his purpose in life was helping the Kurds. And I have to admit that in the past months, the thought of joining YPG – whatever the consequences as to danger, life or death, and possible judicial persecution when back in the EU – has come up more than once in my thoughts.

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Picasso (1951)

The US know their recent history where they have been defeated both in Afghanistan and Iraq, opposed to what they like to tell to the world. Ex president Mr. Bush jr. is the one that waged a war based on phony and concocted ‘intelligence reports’ of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq just to bolster his ego and show his dad he was not the looser his dad took him for. The result was a power-vacuum created in that region by the valliant Mr. Bush jr. where IS/ISIS/Daesh had no trouble in establishing its base.

European leaders are running around like beheaded chicken, they know something has to be done but without guidance from their American ‘friends’ they are divided and running off in different directions. And the only message they manage to get out to their citizens is one of war, hate and retaliation, without trying to remedy the causes at the same time and thus allowing this situation to eternalize.

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Cartoon after Charlie Hebdo shooting (Januari 2015)

Meanwhile, I am safe here. I do worry about my family and friends in Belgium and all over the world. Considering Belgians have to pay more than half their salaries in income taxes to the State, plus all other taxes this amounts to 2/3rds of their salaries going to their politicians, I guess they get the politicians they wanted and fully deserve them. And again, all this makes me happy to be out here nice and quietly.

Take care!

Love ❤️, Yann.