Tag: Brussels

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…)

Not everyone hates refugees. The prejudice – amongst those who subscribe to it – has been cultivated. Not just by populist political parties and ‘fake news’ disseminated by shadowy forces on Facebook, but mainstream news media, and how it has framed successive waves of mass immigration to Europe since the 1990s. (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…)

Last week, Moroccan asylum seeker Abderrahman Mechkah appeared in court on video from his hospital bed, where he was recovering after being shot in the leg by Finnish police. Mechkah pled guilty to stabbing two women to death in the coastal city of Turku, but argued that his rampage was not terrorism.  (More…)

France is lost. Or so it would appear if you read the country’s newspapers regularly. Marine Le Pen will be the next president. The Socialists can only give in to the banks. Racism is the new norm. Emergency powers have become permanent. The only alternative is fascism. (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…)

Despite years of criticism, the European Commission is backing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s nascent dictatorship, in order to deal with its self-designated “refugee crisis.” The emerging agreement is that, according to the Turkish proposal, “for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states.” (More…)

It ought to be a positive. To have their situation constantly referred to as “the worst crisis since World War II,” today’s refugees ideally ought to be shown the courtesy accorded to persons engulfed in a similar disaster. Why not invoke that era? Aside from the scale of the crisis, it should be an immediate guarantee of empathy, because Europeans all know what the last global conflict was like. (More…)

The refugees are right. Europe is a place to escape to. Never mind the populists and the neo-Nazis. They’re nothing compared to getting shelled every day by artillery, or losing your home to Russian missiles. No matter how hard the journey is, nothing could be worse than remaining in Syria, and Iraq. The Middle East is death. (More…)