Language Dictatorship in Belgium

Brabant   Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:46 pm GMT

Belgium 'placed on democracy watch list'

Belgium has banned three elected mayors from office for speaking French.

By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 3:58PM GMT 03 Dec 2008

European human rights watchdogs are now watching Belgian democracy closely after the move by Flemish local authorities.

The Council of Europe has "opened a monitoring procedure on local democracy" fuelling a row between Dutch speaking and francophone Belgians that has threatened the existence of Belgium.

Flemish regional authorities have blocked three French-speaking mayors from taking up public office since they were elected in January 2007 in the Brussels suburbs of Linkebeek, Wezembeek-Oppem and Kraainem.
Marino Keulen, the Flemish Interior Minister responsible for the ban, remained defiant and announced he will stick by his decision to outlaw the elected mayors.

Mr Keulen insisted that the three mayors did not respect Flemish linguistic legislation that prohibits French election literature even though the suburbs they represent, while geographically in Dutch-speaking Flanders, are mainly inhabited by French speakers.

The COE has demanded that the mayors be immediately appointed and called for a review of Belgium's linguistic laws that have been used by Flemish nationalists to ban the use of the French language in municipalities around Brussels, home to the EU.

Damien Thiéry, the banned mayor elect for Linkebeek, told human rights watchdogs in Strasbourg that a legal appeal in Belgium could take five years.

"You are our last recourse. Without you the democracy will die out in our towns," he said.

The COE's intervention has stepped up the long-running row between Belgium's two main communities, the richer Dutch-speaking northern region of Flanders and the poorer francophone Wallonia region in the south.

Flanders, where 60 per cent of Belgium's 10.5 million people live, has sought more regional powers leading to a political impasse that means Belgium has been without government since inconclusive elections in June 2007.

De Standaard, a Dutch language newspaper, has concluded that "censure of Flemish politics in this matter does considerable damage to its image".
Viva Barroso, Viva Solana   Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:29 pm GMT
Don't worry, the European Union will get rid of these silly dissenters in the near future. The iron grip of Dear Leader Barroso will bring an end to this mindless childish bickering. There are more important things than regional linguistic divides, for example the European Idea, the European Culture and European Unity. I suppose these Flemish might start an armed insurgency, but Brussels is decisive and will crush them with tanks if necessary.
J.C.   Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:42 am GMT
I once read in a book (Languages of the World by Charles berlitz) that it is easier to get an answer using English than speaking French or Dutch in Belgium(Depending on the part of the country) but didn't think things were that extreme.


p.s I used to have a Belgian neighbour who hated Dutch because he was from the French part of the country and my Dutch teacher was from the Dutch speaking part of Belgium and didn't speak French. Is Belgium really a bilingual country?
Paul   Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:09 am GMT
Belgium has banned three elected mayors from office for speaking French. >>


i literally laughed out loud from reading just this one sentence.

HA! Take that francophones!

...and why are we required to write a french word in order to post? Thats balls.
eastlander   Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:57 am GMT
Most of flemish people speak French.Why most of francophones in Belgium don't speak Dutch?This is the problem.Why using of French language in Flanders by some of francophone media is treating like "patriotism" ,but defending of Dutch language rights in Belgium is treating like "nationalism"?
Madame Bovary   Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:36 pm GMT
Because French has charisma and Dutch doesn't. Dutch is vulgar and unsophisticated.
Phaeton   Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:29 pm GMT
We, francophones, will only get rid of the Flemish francophobes when Wallonia is reunited with the French Republic, the country where we would be living now if the great powers of the 19th century hadn't punished the French Empire by cutting out its Northern partand giving it to the Netherlands, a move aimed at weakening France. We Walloons will only be respected when we retrieve our French nationality again, it is the only way to stop the discrimination we're suffering from. Don't forget that Belgium has never been a nation, it therefore can't function properly. I totally understand the Flemish nationalists and I wholeheartedly support them, let the peoples decide their future.
A more original name   Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:40 pm GMT

Oh, @Phaeton ... France stop offering to annex you after you lost your coal mines. The last thing France needs are more unemployed people.
Chloé   Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:23 pm GMT
60% of the French population is ok to annex Wollonia...
agacanthian   Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:01 am GMT
<<...and why are we required to write a french word in order to post?>>

I wonder if folks in Flanders are allowed to type in "blanc" in order to post here?
Belgium   Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:24 am GMT
As a french I won't want us to annex Wallonia. n the case of the division of Belgium It will be better to give Wallonia the "nord-pas-de-Calais" regions in a new reconstructed french speaking Belgium.
eastlander   Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:12 am GMT
Theh area around Dunkerque (Duinkerke),where most people of flemish origin live, it will be better to give Flanders or new reconstructed Dutch speaking Netherlands (Holland+Flanders).
eastlander   Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:33 am GMT
I think,that posts about "vulgar","unsophisticated" languages are outrageous.
filósofo parecido a Freud   Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:53 am GMT
Could an Anglo become the leader of Quebec?
Napoleon   Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:33 am GMT
France will annex Quebec and Wallonia.