Tag: Belgium

My father called it “Mini-Paris.” “We lived in Brussels in the 1950s when it was still a wreck from the war,” he told me. “The only people who spoke French were the cops. Everyone in the neighbourhood was a refugee from Italy. Except us, of course.” (More…)

On the night of 7 November, the wild cry arose that the war was over! We were used to all manner of reports, though none quite as stunning as this, and in a few minutes excitement was at its height. An optimistic MP was heard shouting, “It’s over, so help me, God!” and a little later the same spirit was evidenced by the doughboys along the roads, who were joyfully proclaiming the end by shooting up flares and yelling, “Fini la guerre.” (More…)

Being a Palestinian from Gaza means you are deprived of some of the most basic rights of being human—like the comfort of family. Due to the 11-year Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza, I haven’t been able to return home for six and a half years. (More…)

Oren was frustrated. “You always end up living with jihadists,” he said. “Wherever you move in Europe, it’s always the same.” While I wouldn’t have chosen the J-word, he wasn’t entirely wrong. I’d made a habit of living in Muslim-heavy neighbourhoods in Milan and Berlin. (More…)

In the end Belgium’s government survived. A three-week-long crisis provoked by accusations that the secretary of state for migration and asylum, Theo Francken, had deported migrants to face a dangerous situation in Sudan ended with little more than a reprimand. (More…)

After that tragic day, Brussels came more and more under the tyranny of the “iron fist” by which the Kaiser once boasted he would win the world-power unattained by other and far more capable enemies of peace. German soldiers swarmed through the streets, always hurrying to fulfil urgent business of their impatient leaders, who, on their way to overwhelm France, panted to thrust the sword of ruin deeper into hapless Belgium. (More…)

The struggle of Democracy and Reason against Autocracy and Brute Force, on land and in the air, upon the sea and under the sea, is reaching its climax. With each succeeding month the ignoble foe has smirched himself with new atrocities which yet in the end bring their own terrible retribution. (More…)

On September 11th, the War on Terror will turn 15. Some would argue that it is in fact much older. Without a doubt, it has now outlasted WWII by a decade. Given how much that conflict transformed Europe, God forbid what this war has done to it. (More…)

The city is full of police. Armed police, bearing pistols, and a bewildering diversity of foreign machine guns. God forbid they get into a firefight and find they can’t exchange exchange ammunition with each other. Isn’t Belgium home to FN Herstal, one of the world’s biggest gun manufacturers? (More…)

Varoufakis took it in his stride. Attacked by Stephen Sackur for being unable to reconcile his radicalism with reality, Greece’s maverick ex-finance minister grinned, and moved on. This was HARDtalk. Whether Sackur meant it or not, the BBC interview program was living up to its name. And so was its guest, Europe’s best-known leftist of the moment. (More…)

Yesterday, my city was hit. My city of “zinnekes”, those people from everywhere on earth who, like me, become “Brusseleirs” in the remarkable cosmopolitan cauldron that makes Brussels the (small) New York of Europe. (More…)

Despite the Islamic rhetoric fused with their actions, the mujahideen in Brussels, like those in Paris before them, are less a threat to Europe than a product of it. As details are released about the attackers, it will be crucial to remember that in nearly every case, their sense of societal exclusion, and willingness to organise violently to assert themselves, is distinctly European.  (More…)