Category Archives: Belgium

Illegal Immigrants Strike In EU

Nearly 240 illegal immigrants went on a hunger strike as the European Union’s 27 member states were putting the final touches on a new document which allows governments to detain illegal immigrants for up to 18 months and then prevent them from re-entering the EU for up to five years. The illegals are bunkered down in a church in Brussells while not far away EU officials are prepared to tell them they are not welcome and must leave. A man named Mohad from Algeria said he has been on the hunger strike snce May 8 and already had spent nearly two years in a migrant detention camp located in the Netherlands. “The European Community is not human,” was his plaintive comment.

Most of the migrants complained about being treated like criminals even though their only desire is for work and to be a productive human. At present, the cap in nations like Spain is 40 days and in Belgium it is eight months so the proposed legislation would allow immigrants to be detained much longer than most existing laws by member nations.

An EU spokesperson put it honestly about the attitude toward illegal immigrants: “If they arrive here, it’s not going to be paradise.” It is doubtful if any illegal immigrant seeks paradise, but how about an opportunity to work hard?

Turkey Upset At Belgium Failure To Convict Terrorists

The Turkish government responded with anger at failure of Belgian courts to convict seven terrorists who belonged to the Revolutiionairy People’s Liberation Party. The group is on the European Union terror list and Turkey wanted them to receive extended sentences, but the court merely convicted them of lesser charges related to possession of firearms and having false documents. Belgium’s Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht pointed out, “Statements saying that Belgian justice authorities helped terrorism are totally unacceptable.”

The entire issue of how do nations deal with terror “suspects” should begin by focusing on the word “suspect.” Part of the problem in handling terror “suspects” is the abuse of the Bush administration which imprisons people, refuses to place them on trial and insists the fact they were arrested is in itself proof of their guilt. This blog does not know if the Belgian court acted correctly, but supports the importance of courts dealing with facts rather than fears. We must move away from the American policy that individuals can be arrested and imprisoned for long periods of time without any recourse to justice. If someone is a terrorist, then place them on trial and get them convicted on the basis of evidence. That is the best strategy of dealing with terrorism.

Turmoil Continues In Pakistan As Taliban Storms Fort

The confusing twisting tale of Pakistan continues as the Taliban stormed a fort on the frontier and allegedly killed 15 Frontier Corps(FC) soldiers and captured about 24. A source told the Lahore Daily Times that seven of the captives has their throats slit by Taliban victors. The Pakistan army claims it killed forty militants and that 15 men escaped from Sararougha Fort with several others still missing. On the political scene the situation is also confusing. Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif Ali Zardari insisted there would be no power sharing with President Musharraf and his party intended to gain victory in the upcoming election despite difficulties placed in their path by a corrupt government. He refused to take the “crumbs of power from a dictator’s table. We will take our rightful share of power uner the constitution after a free and fair election.” When asked if he would cooperate with the Musharraf government after the election, Zardari responded it was a hypothetical question that could not be answered at the present time. Nazwaz Sharif, head of the PML-Q who agreed to work with the PPP urged creation of a national unity government with Musharraf.

At this point, no one knows what will happen in Pakistan other than the apparent certainty fighting will increase against the growing power of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The political situation will most probably end in some sort of compromise government which entails working with President Musharraf. The more important factor is increased attacks upon government positions in northwest regions by Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. Pakistan created these forces to fight India and to take over Afghanistan and now must live with its own legacy of violence which has turned upon its own creators.

Bel-Gium Is Dividing As A Nation

Belgium’s chances of surviving as a unified nation took a serious blow when Yves Leterme the Flemish Christian Democrat leader, abandoned his efforts to create a government and told King Albert the situation was hopeless. Belgium has been without an effective government since June. He admitted being unable to bridge differences between the Dutch-spoeaking Flemish and the francophone Walloon communities. The more prosperous northern region of Flanders is pushing for autonomy– or even becoming a new nation– while the less successful southern area of Wallonia wants to continue the nation of Belgium. Leterme demanded power to reform the federal structure and give more power to Flanders in order to appease Flemish separatism, an action that angered his Christian Democrat counterparts in Wallonia who want a strong central government. A vote in Parliament which stripped French speaking voters living in three historically Flemish communities on the edge of Brussels from voting for French-speaking parties.

Dutch and French speakers do not communicate with one another. They watch different TV stations, read different newspapers, and sent heir children to different schools and universities. There are not even national political parties since there are things like a Flemish Christian Democrat Party and a Walloon Christian Democrat Party. During early stages of the industrial revolution when coal and iron were important, the Walloons were the wealthier people, but since technology has become dominant, wealth has flowed toward the Flemish area of the nation. Leterme has been trying to get a constitutional convention which would undoubtedly result in splitting a nation that was created by European powers in 1830.

Belgium Disintegrating Over Language And Culture

The country of Belgium has been without benefit of an effective government since parliamentary elections in June gave the Flemish speaking parties a majority. Belgium is essentially two separate areas – a Flemish speaking north and a French speaking south. Historically, the French speaking Walloon area was the economic dynamo of the nation due to its coal mines and factories. But, since Belgium became more of a high tech society, the more technology driven Flanders area has grown in wealth to the extent it pays a higher proportion of taxes and subsidizes Walloonia. A fight broke out when the Flemish tried carving out a Flemish speaking parliament district in Brussells where people of both backgrounds live. Neither side wants to budge and inch so the government is paralyzed.

Belgium is an excellent example of what happens when a society containing diverse people fails to develop multicultural education programs. People are so caught up in being Flemish or a person from Walloon that neither side is able to allow a Belgian identify to supersede regional feelings. America is a country that has been able to overcome these sectional divisions once the Civil War ended any hope the South might remain a separate nation.