Tag Archives: Flanders

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.