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Thread: Preparing for Flemish Independence

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    Preparing for Flemish Independence

    Why do the Flemish want to become independent?

    Belgium is an artificial state that forces three different nations to live together: the Flemish (i.e. the Southern Dutchmen), the Walloons (a French-speaking people that has never really belonged to France) and some Germans (whose land was annexed by Belgium after the First World War). Unlike in Switzerland, these nations didn't choose to live together, they were forced to. As a result, they lack a national feeling. Belgium's founding fathers designed their construction to be France's satellite state, and they explicitly stated: "La Belgique sera latine ou elle ne sera pas" ("Belgium will be Latin or it will not be"). Although the majority of Belgians speaks Dutch (or Dutch dialects, a.k.a. "Flemish"), the only official language was French. This was part of an imperialist francophone strategy designed to wipe out Flemish culture and replace it with a "Belgian" one. Evidently the Flemish resisted to these attempts, and many generations spent their lives trying to improve the situation of the Flemish, who were regarded by the Belgian state as some kind of inferior lifeform (the Francophones arrogantly assumed, and some of them still do, they were members of Europe's highest civilisation). The Flemish have always had to fight and pay high prices to get their rights recognised by a state that despises them.




    Today Belgium is no longer a unitary but a semi-federal state. Dutch has been recognised as an official language and the country is divided in 3 Communities (Flemish, French and German-speaking) and 3 Regions (Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia). The Regions have some powers, others still belong to the "federal state" (Belgium as a whole), which often leads to absurd situations. Both Communities and Regions have their own Parliaments and Governments (only Flanders decided to merge them). Since there is no hierarchy between the different Parliaments and Governments, issues that have to be decided on by both the Federal Government and one or more Regional Governments often result in a deadlock if the Governments don't share the same point of view or, even worse, if they have to defend opposite interests. In Belgium the major fault line is the language barrier. Flanders and Wallonia (or francophone Belgium as a whole) disagree on most issues and have to come up with unsatisfactory compromises no one is really happy with. If they can't get their disputes resolved, the issue is usually blocked until Flanders gives in to the francophone blackmailing. The francophones never give in because they have a very egoistic policy of getting what they want, even if they have to paralyse the country for it and waste other people's time and money.

    Belgium's critics have described the country as a "contra-federation" (because the Communities work against each other in stead of working together), or as "Absurdistan" (in this country everything seems to be possible, especially if it is something absurd, like in Franz Kafka's books). The critics are right. Belgium has become an extremely inefficient labyrinth, in which the only productive part is Flanders. It is Flanders that generates all of the wealth and accounts for 80% of the export. This is because the Flemish are by nature an industrious, freedom-loving nation, in opposition to the inproductive, socialist-minded Walloons. All of this inefficiency could be resolved in an easy way - by splitting Belgium in half. If only it were as easy as it sounds...

    What is keeping Flanders from becoming an independent country?


    Flanders is being robbed by Belgium. Being the most succesfull part of Belgium, it has to give in a considerable amount of its wealth to the Walloons, whose industry has collapsed because it was outdated and the Walloons did nothing about it. Each year € 11 billion is transferred from Flanders to francophone Belgium. That's a huge pile of money. Yet the Flemish politicians don't succeed in getting their demands realised, because everytime Flanders asks something from Belgium, the francophone politicians unanimously say "no". It doesn't work the other way around, however. That's because the Flemish are no bullies and they are not united enough. They simply lack the courage to say no to francophone demands. It's really ironic that in a country where one part represents 60 percent of the population and keeps the other part alive at the cost of its own economy, that one part still has nothing to say.

    A majority of Flemings is not really aware of the need for their country to become independent. Those people are either not interested in politics or history, or they have been misinformed. Of course the Belgian state does everything within its power to falsify the schools' historybooks. Thanks to this deliberate negationism most kids don't have a clue about the many disciminations their ancestors have gone through, and they don't know that their country is being dominated by strangers. Fortunately the Flemish public opinion is slowly changing in favor of the secessionist movement. Back in the Sixties one was considered a revolutionary if he carefully mentioned federalism; nowadays speaking about Flemish independence has become very normal. Even most Flemish political parties (except for the socialists and the "greens") have embraced the idea of confederalism (semi-independence). Flanders' biggest party, Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), openly promotes secession. The problem is that this party is being boycotted by all other parties, and the other politicians don't have what it takes to proclaim the independence of Flanders. They are afraid of it, and most of them have been corrupted by the Belgian system.

    Flanders will be an independent state, it's only a matter of time. There is no stopping the Belgian desintegration. If the Belgian establishment plays its cards right, it will probably be able to slow down the process, but Flemish independence is inevitable. When it will happen, nobody knows, but the Belgian state can be reasonably expected not to survive another decade. Of course some people are afraid of this, and it's perfectly normal to be afraid of change, but it will be a change for the better.
    Lessons from history.

    What is Flemish nationalism?

    The truth about Belgium.

    Source
    “As brothers and sisters we knew instinctively that if we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” - Douglas Coupland

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    Re: Preparing for Flemish independence

    What is keeping Flanders from becoming an independent country?
    In 1837, there was an international conference held at the end of which a treaty was signed that "Guaranteed Belgian independence for ever". This treaty was never renounced. It was the formal reason for England to declare war on Germany in 1914.

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    Re: Preparing for Flemish independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Spjabork View Post
    In 1837, there was an international conference held at the end of which a treaty was signed that "Guaranteed Belgian independence for ever". This treaty was never renounced. It was the formal reason for England to declare war on Germany in 1914.
    Yes, it explains partly why Belgium never ceased to exist through pressure from without. Moreover, the original Belgian revolutionairies (1830) wanted to become sons and daughters of the French nation.

    Concerning "Preparing for Flemish independence" you can clearly see how things are on the move, and the shifting of the sociopolitical spectrum towards independence can't be ignored.

    What might lead to optimism, 'cause it could go very rapidly for us: there's even a chance, though it's a small one, for the Flemish people to gain independence this year. That's the main reason why I posted this article.
    “As brothers and sisters we knew instinctively that if we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” - Douglas Coupland

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    Re: Preparing for Flemish independence

    wow interesting article, in history books belgium was always portrayed as a unified country so much so that at first i thought flanders and walloonia were geographical terms alone , and it was downplayed the difference in culture language ethnicity etc.

    btw whose eyes are those big blue eyes? me gusta

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    Re: Preparing for Flemish independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinus View Post
    wow interesting article, in history books belgium was always portrayed as a unified country so much so that at first i thought flanders and walloonia were geographical terms alone , and it was downplayed the difference in culture language ethnicity etc.
    Belgium is a historical buffer zone: without the French wish for it, Belgium wouldn't have lasted very long.

    But we're still Nederlanders from the south.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marinus View Post
    btw whose eyes are those big blue eyes? me gusta
    The one million dollar question. I could tell you... but then I have to kill you.
    Last edited by Parsifal; Thursday, March 15th, 2007 at 05:45 PM. Reason: Spelling!
    “As brothers and sisters we knew instinctively that if we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” - Douglas Coupland

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    Re: Preparing for Flemish independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Parsifal View Post
    Belgium is a historical buffer zone: without the French wish for it, Belgium wouldn't have lasted very long.
    The French actually would have liked to dovour "Belgium" as an "ancient" province of "Gallia". But the British thwarted that. The "Belgian Revolution" was in 1830, simultaniously with that in France. For seven years, Belgium was not internationally regognised, and the northern border was a demarkation line.

    But in 1837, the personal union between the Kingdoms of Great Britain and of Hannover was disconnected by the fact, that Queen Victoria, as woman, was not allowed to ascend to the throne of Hannover.

    So, the British were wanting a new bridgehead in continental Europe, were they could bring their commercial goods ashore under all circumstances. So they guaranteed the existance of the Belgian state, much like the USA now guarantee the existance of the state if Israel.

    I think this reason now is obsolete.

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    Re: Preparing for Flemish independence

    Quote Originally Posted by Spjabork View Post
    The French actually would have liked to dovour "Belgium" as an "ancient" province of "Gallia". But the British thwarted that. The "Belgian Revolution" was in 1830, simultaniously with that in France. For seven years, Belgium was not internationally regognised, and the northern border was a demarkation line.
    There's no doubt about French involvement in the uprising of 1830 - and their various ideas about what to do with the southern Netherlands - perhaps dividing it between themselves, the Prussians and British empire. Alexandre Gendebien would've liked to make Flanders and Wallonia "France", but Talleyrand was more prudent.

    "Talleyrand" had many plans - one argued for the dividence of the Benelux between the French and the Dutch, following the Belgian revolution - 'cause French annexation would've sparked tensions between the European superpowers - and that's not what the France state had in mind at that time.

    France soon made peace with the state of events, 'cause in the end they still achieved a diplomatic victory. There were ten days of war between the Belgian state and the Dutch in 1831, unfortunately the French moved troops into Belgium, leading to a cease fire. If the Prussians would've enjoyed Russian cover, they could've helped Willem I out. Willem and his army were forced to leave.

    The bonus of having a Belgian state at its northern borders was a clear gain - for the French - at the closure of the 19th century/beginning of the 20the century - when it felt very threatened by German power. They played their extra card very badly in 1940.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spjabork
    So, the British were wanting a new bridgehead in continental Europe, were they could bring their commercial goods ashore under all circumstances.
    Yeah, Hong Kong in "free state" Antwerp.
    “As brothers and sisters we knew instinctively that if we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” - Douglas Coupland

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinus View Post
    wow interesting article, in history books belgium was always portrayed as a unified country so much so that at first i thought flanders and walloonia were geographical terms alone , and it was downplayed the difference in culture language ethnicity etc.

    btw whose eyes are those big blue eyes? me gusta
    I must concur with my compatriot...firstly, yes, wow very interesting article (sadly I know next to nothing about Belgium...well nothing substantial at any rate), and secondly, yes, Belgium is most often portrayed, here in Canada at least, as very much a unified country somewhat akin to Switzerland in that regard I would even hazard to say. In reading this article and recently some wikipedia entries, Belgium reminds me of my own country's existing cultural-political tensions to some degree where, despite our having an actual division along true geo-political lines (i.e. provinces: Québec and the ephemeral 'rest of Canada' ), the real divisions are more so based upon culture, language and ethnicity, the French versus the English. I would even go so far as to say that the Flemish Movement can easily be equated with the Québec Separatist Movement here in Canada to a large degree.

    Interestingly enough, I can also appreciate the existence of a sister image of Brussels to my native Ottawa. More and more, Ottawa, which is becoming better known as the 'Ottawa-Gatineau area' (much to the ire of many Canadians I also believe) exists as a federally-created entity. Although this is more so in practice than in law--we are not a true separate district as say Washington DC would be--our federal government does do its darndest to make it appear as one. And in as much as 'Ottawa-Gatineau' operates as one entity, we harbour a slightly different breed of Canadian here in our nation's capital. In the nation's capital, you get equal doses of English and French when dealing with the federal government, differing doses of English and French on the provincial level (Ontario is NOT a bilingual province but does respect French language rights, whereas Québec is neither a bilingual province but does NOT respect English language rights), as well as on the municipal side (Ottawa, Ontario IS officially bilingual for administrative purposes only yet Gatineau Québec is not at all). In all a bit of a mess for some, mostly the poor politicians who come to live here and have to figure it all out. Quite comical really.

    Well without rambling on and on, I shall end it here by saying that the politics of your country Chlodovech are very fascinating and I do hope we get to chat about that too sometime!

    Cheers Chlodovech!

    Frith...Aemma
    Last edited by Aemma; Thursday, December 11th, 2008 at 05:59 PM. Reason: rephrasing

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    In Canadian terms you could compare us, the Flemish, to the French-speaking people of Quebec that also have to fight for their language, territory and freedom. With that difference of course that in Belgium it are the French speaking Walloons who are being imperialistic about our territory and language.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rozenstorm View Post
    In Canadian terms you could compare us, the Flemish, to the French-speaking people of Quebec that also have to fight for their language, territory and freedom. With that difference of course that in Belgium it are the French speaking Walloons who are being imperialistic about our territory and language.

    Yes exactly Rozenstorm! I note that Chlodovech's post is dated March 2007. Has there been any movement on the issue of Flemish Independence since this post? [I would hope so. ]

    Cheers Rozenstorm!

    Frith...Aemma

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