Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Movement for Flemish Self-Determination

Part of the ongoing controversy about Vlaams Belang, the Flemish separatist party, centers on a series of videos featuring Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang. An hour-long exposé entitled “The Hidden Side of Vlaams Blok” is one of the primary pieces of evidence cited against Filip Dewinter. The video is in French with Dutch subtitles, and the Center for Vigilant Freedom has been looking to obtain a translation.

Gates of Vienna’s Bangkok correspondent, the Dutch expatriate H. Numan, agreed to take on the task. First he watched a shorter trailer for the full video, and had this to say about it:

I looked at the short video. If this is racially offensive, I’m very much afraid the whole of Europe, and the better part of the United States, should be prosecuted for racial offenses…

You see Filip talking with his daughter(s). The look at the map of Europe, and Filip points that several countries belong to (the continent of) Europe. Then he points at Turkey. He clearly says ‘this country does not belong to Europe’.

His daughter mentions she has a girlfriend at school who comes from Turkey. And that she (the girlfriend) lives in Europe. Filip says that this not means that all Turks should become Europeans (EU citizens). His daughter questions this, as the girlfriend already lives in Europe. Filip says ‘then they have to make a choice’ (this part is unclear, but is that I make of it).

What Filip said here is the majority opinion of all Europeans, continent-wide. Check the statistics from every EU nation you desire, and you find at least a 55% majority against a Turkish EU membership.

The longer video has presented problems. Some viewers, including H. Numan, have been unable to get the video to play beyond the first three minutes, for unknown technical reasons. Mr. Numan sent us this from the introduction:

The intro:

RTBF-journalist Jean-Claude Defossé bundelde de meest onthullende beelden uit de (voor)geschiedenis van het Vlaams Blok in deze spannende documentaire uit 2004. Tweemaal vertoond op de RTBF, nog nooit op het Vlaamse scherm. Naar verluidt omdat de Vlaamse kijker “dit toch allemaal al weet”.

* * *

RTBF journalist Jean-Claude Defosee combined the most revealing images of the (pre) history of Vlaams Blok in this exiting documentary, made in 2004. Twice shown on RTBF, never shown on Flemish TV. As told because the Flemish viewer “knows this all along”.

We are awaiting a full transcription, hoping that the technical problems can be resolved. Watch the CVF blog for more materials as they become available.

In the meantime, H. Numan sent along this summary of Flemish history as told from a Dutch point of view:

BelgiumRegarding the language problems:

Belgium is a country that unfortunately lies on the fault line between Latin and Germanic languages, something like the San Andreas Fault. This invisible boundary fluctuates: in medieval times French was spoken much further south. Part of Northern France, up to Calais, was also Dutch-speaking.
- - - - - - - - -
The French steadily enlarged their kingdom northwards. The Dutch-speaking French were taken over in the 17-18th century, and remained primarily Dutch-speaking until the 1900s. Surprisingly, there is currently a revival of Dutch in that area.

The French lent their support to the Wallonian nobles, and in Belgium they became the dominant factor in politics. This happened during the second half of the Dutch Republic. (Think: Louis XIV, the Sun King)

Before the Dutch republic was taken over by the French, Belgium was incorporated into France, lock, stock and barrel.

After the French left, Belgium was briefly incorporated in the new kingdom of The Netherlands (hence the plural), together with Luxembourg. The latter was united as a personal domain of the King of Orange. Luxembourg law only accepts male inheritance to the throne, so King William III was the last Grand Duke. He had a daughter (Wilhelmina) who could not succeed to the throne of Luxembourg. Which was a good thing, otherwise we’d been fighting in WW1.

The kingdom of The Netherlands was formed as a boundary state against France. Of course that wasn’t exactly what the French really wanted, so on first opportunity they supported the (French-speaking) Belgian revolutionaries. Three small states on your border is much more comfortable than one big one, especially if they don’t speak your language and culture.

The Flemish have always been second citizens in their own country. For a long time the Dutch language was forbidden. It took quite a lot of nerve, stamina and persistence of the Flemish to get Dutch accepted as (second) official language, and as educational language.

In WW1 most enlisted men were Flemish, serving under French speaking Wallonian officers. An additional reason why Flemish aren’t enticed by Wallonians is that those enlisted men didn’t understand a word of what their officers wanted, and consequently died even more uselessly than the other allies. (Iepers, Passendaele, etc.)

After WW2 the Flemish had enough. They demanded, and got more to say about governing the nation and Flanders in particular. This didn’t come for free, and certainly not because the Wallonians were giving in. Every concession came at great cost.

The economic center of gravity, however, changed from Wallonia to Flanders. Currently Flanders is the engine that runs the Belgian ship of state, with the Wallonians as cruise passengers doing not a lot.

Vlaams Belang doesn’t want to be united with The Netherlands. Perhaps in the (far away) future, but certainly not now. The Netherlands would like to see Flanders inside the kingdom once again. But I think that is highly unrealistic. The political differences are vast. The common language is the only tie we have.

Vlaams Belang would like to see a Republic of Flanders. All the other parties do not. As Vlaams Belang certainly has a lot of very good arguments to support their position, and the others do not, the best way to oppose them is tar them as black as coal. Which is exactly what this movie does.

21 comments:

Cincinnatus said...

As an aside (not trying to detract from this article), there is currently some debate about Pim Fortuyn's view of the Vlaams Blok. The following excerpt of his own words show that he did not liken Vlaams Blok to any fascist legacy:

www.pimfortuyn.com/asp/default.asp?var=0&id=1428&t=show&zoek1=vrij%20nederland

excerpt:
Q: Aren't you glad that Wallage (a politician) is addressing your theme?

A: Listen, it's much too late. For years he denounced Bolkestein (a Dutch party leader who first raised concerns about immigration in the 1990's), when Bolkenstein was trying to put these matters into discussion. And his method was quite vile. He'd go on and on about the Second World War. Also, Kok (a politician) does the same. Always telling us about yet another new monument, a stone monument, that he has opened. And on it is inscribed the counts of the murdered Jews and the murdered Gypsies. So, yet another monument. Holland has gone mad.

Q: Why do you say Holland has gone mad?

A: That everything has to be meticulously detailed out. Give us a break! Holland is full of monuments to the Second World War. And then Kok endlessly goes from today back to then, and the checkered past, and Nazism. I find it entirely invalid to liken these (i.e., the past and present). It just poisons the whole topic (of immigrant issues). I also think the way that Kok describes Haider's (Austrian politician) views is scandalous. Haider is not a Nazi. And if he is, then he's no different than many in the Social Democratic and Christian Democratic parties. Sure, (Haider's party) have a problem with their checkered past, but all the parties do. And who gave shelter to all the "war criminals" after the war? That was the Allied coalition, and not Haider. So what is Kok on about? Also, it's not valid to talk about the Vlaams Blok in that way, either. It is senseless to be endlessly milking this Hitler thing. Then and now, are two incomparable realities.
-- end of excerpt --

So we can see that Fortuyn disagrees entirely with the Nazi witch hunts currently taking place on some discredited blogs. Cc.

PRCalDude said...

Charles Johnson's and Allahpundit's retractions will not be forthcoming. Too much pride, too quick to open their mouths.

kepiblanc said...

Well, I just wasted an hour watching this film. It follows the usual pattern in a clever way. Mixing past and present (and yes, the past is ugly), underlaying movie sequences from today with old nazi music (the Horst Wessel song etc.), repeating embarrassing interviews many times and so on. And it seems the 'racism' of Vlaams Blok (the Vlaams Belang is hardly mentioned) mostly relates to the Flemings calling the Francophones 'rats'.
I've seen similar movies many times over here, mostly the BBC trying to miscredit America (nazis too, you know) and Danish TV trying to miscredit our own government (nazis too, you know). It gets kind of boring and I'm not overly impressed.

The funny thing is, no TV station ever talks about the real fascism and racism (EU+Islam) in a similar vein. Or maybe it's not that funny, after all...

AngleofRepose said...

Cincinnatus,

Do you still have an account with LGF? If so, you should post that translated interview there as well.

Cincinnatus said...

No, I left before the boot arrived. I suspect the truth is not of interest there. You know, LGF would implode if the origin of the name "Little Green Footballs" ever got out...

AngleofRepose said...

Understood.

The only thing I've heard was that it had something to do with Vietnam... dunno for sure.

Got banned myself. No biggie as I didn't much like the group-think going on anyways.

Simon de Montfort said...

I tried to Express Doubt about the current NaziWitch-hunting going on at LGF and stick up for poor besmirched Dynphna a few days ago and got pounced on. Johnson and some of his amen chorus are wierdly obsessed with the post that D made about the Epispo Church, saying that it was racist, etc

and it's only going to get worse.....

KGS said...

The Finnish experience with Sweden and Russia, accompanied with its alignment with Nazi Germany during WWII, offers a deeper insight into the whole issue of Flemish cooperation with Hitler's Germany.

The Finnish Jews were fighting in the Finnish army alongside (at times) with German soldiers against the Soviets. These Finnish Jewish soldiers ARE HEROES, and participated in the fighting with the whole edorsement of the Finnish Jewish community.

Does this fact of history somehow paint the Finnish Jewish community today as having a "checkered past" for colluding with the Nazis ?

I would like to see C.Johnson wrap his mind around that one.

Lex said...

Oh heavens, has this bastion of free speech deleted my comment from last night? My my, please either correct this or understand my confirmation of radicalization beyond repair in the "counter-jihadi" movement.

Baron Bodissey said...

Lex, don't be so quick to ascend to the heights of dudgeon. I never saw your comment and neither did Dymphna. All comments are sent to our email, and no comment by you arrived in our email.

All of these facts point to a Blogger malfunction of some kind. We deleted no comments by "Lex".

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

The events of 60 years ago only applies to those who participated, in my view.

Two examples from the US: Robert Byrd, who was former KKK member, and George Soros, who as a Jew worked with the Nazis and looked to travel to Moscow after WWII (until his father shipped him to London).

Nyog of the Bog said...

kafir_kelbeh, I very much concur.

There is a terrific need to establish the concept of presentism in to the conversation. And it ought not need be constantly re-iterated. (though it undoubtedly will.

Regarding Robert Byrd and the KKK for instance, one ought not confuse 1950s era, reactionary segregationist dixie-crats, (who fought against Hitler in WWII) with contemporary, post 60s neo-nazis of the David Duke Ilk much less confuse either with the White Caps of the 1870s occupied South, (among which the KKK was but one of many secret societies). While none need be apologized for, for purposes of argument, each phase (there is one I haven't named) is quite distinct and requiring of its own context.

Lex said...

Good, good, good. Blogger glitches are far better. I would repeat, but I think my colleague at pimfortuyn.com is correct. Our battle is done short of having the Pim MySpace pages removed.

crawdad said...

FWIW, I have just posted (without additional comment) the above PF interview excerpt on LGF (at HERE).

Wonder if I'll get banned as well...

Stogie said...

I translated that shorter version of the film at LGF (from the French subtitles)and I agree that the conversation itself was not remotely racist. It was merely saying that Turkish immigration into Europe must be restricted due to the sheer numbers of Turks who might come.

What was disturbing about the short film, however, was the deliberate focusing on the Odin's Cross, a white power symbol, sitting in a bookcase, at the end of the film. This focus was deliberate and obviously intended to convey a message.

Cincinnatus said...

Stogie: Yes, it's remarkable how CJ decries media bias on the one hand, and then happily uses it when it suits his hobbyhorse. A chameleon sort of lizard. A warning to us to do better than that.

Crawdad: They'll probably ignore it. Good try, though.

El Jefe Maximo said...

I hate to say anything at all good about the Prince de Benevente (who, if Napoléon I had had his thinking cap on, would have wound up shot for treason), but I think that Talleyrand's partition plan for Belgium in the 1830's might have been better for all concerned than the way the Kingdom of the Belgians has finally worked out.

crawdad said...

@Cincinnatus: "They'll probably ignore it"

Funnier than that: the only response I've gotten to the PF interview is "Well, we're not calling them NAZIs - we're calling them NEO-nazis and neo-fascists."

Yeah. Way to miss the point, Lizards!
FWIW, I used to have great respect for Chas and LGF, but this issue has really caused the "mask to slip" from them.
The strawman arguments, broad-brush attacks, guilt by association (heck, it has become guilt by free-association)...
The readership there has now come to resemble someting out of Tito's Jugoslavia, with the citizenry investigating each other's posting history and speculating on conspiracies involving sleeper accounts that were just laying in wait for such an event.
And I notice that he hasn't had an "open registration" period since all this began.
Friggin' sad...

Lex said...

Be glad that you're not getting a more serious response to using Fortuyn's words in this way. As it is, we're quite sick of his name being dragged through the mud further, but as this phenomenon seems to be endless, we just don't much care anymore about use or misuse.

Of course most "lizards" will miss the point. They're rather famous for it. Fortuyn also means little to them, little indeed. As a group, they aren't generally the types to be overly concerned with the rights and humanity of gay Catholics.

It is all just.....sad.

Passionate Conservative said...

Hell, I'm still trying to figure out why I got banned. I took issue with several of Chuck's groupies, once or twice with him on small issues, but it was his reaction to my suggestion that a Army sniper surely should take a trip to NYC when Ahmadinnerjacket was going to be in town. Something about me acting like Rayra.

The "lizards" over there now are anything but. They are working off of what we helped to build, and Chuck is their god.

Cincinnatus said...

passionate conservative: Actually, I'll have to agree with Chuck on that one. Among other errors, you give Ahmadinajad too much credit -- he's not worth a bullet. Then there is the matter of honorable conduct, etc. You are clearly a youngster without mature perspective. Relax, grow, and learn. Cc.