Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

16 November 2015

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Yesterday I watched the Dutch 10pm news for a change (video). It featured two guests: Belgian / Flemish investigative journalist Rudi Vranckx and Mark Singleton, director of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT). They both confirmed some of my more private opinions.

Some years ago, we needed to relocate from my rental house near Mechelen, and my ex gf liked moving to Brussels as she’s French. Actually, Brussels makes me really uncomfortable and not only because of the French language. The Brussels area is quite expensive due to the presence of several international organisations (eg, EU, NATO). However, I did notice that the rents in an area called Molenbeek were rather low. I did some research first as low rents usually imply low demand – for whatever reason. It appeared that Molenbeek’s reputation was bad, very bad. And for 30 years.

Mark Singleton confirmed one of the opinions of my ex French gf: the French Republic is notorious for its repression on its citizens. No one would voluntarily enter a French police station and ask for help. It’s like asking for trouble. The French police even has a reputation for brutality. In general, French citizens “hate” the police and its similar institutions. It’s probably only in Paris where fake incidents are reported to the police in order to bait, ambush, and kill French police officers.

The French repression makes Belgium a safe haven. Furthermore, Belgium is notorious for its ample sale of firearms. Moreover, this tiny country has 6 governments which puts a severe cap on any effort for effectiveness and efficiency. Lastly, the language barrier (ie, Dutch vs French) further complicates cooperation between people and institutions. Belgium is almost ideal – for bad guys.

The national motto of France is “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”, or liberty, equalityfraternity (Wiki). The many immigrants in France – and especially in Paris – will not recognise any of these concepts. In fact, it’s the exact opposite for them: repression, inequality and hostility. Finding a job outside Paris is really difficult. Finding a job in Paris is hard. Finding a job in Paris without a French last name, is more than difficult – almost impossible.

Even “refugees are steering clear of France in favour of Germany, Sweden and Britain because they see the country as unwelcoming and economically depressed, migrant experts and aid groups said on Monday. Red tape, unemployment rates of more than 10 per cent and a ban on working for up to nine months while asylum requests are processed are among the factors leading the vast majority of refugees to avoid France”. (the Telegraph, 21 September 2015).

Other reasons migrants stay away include squalid housing for all but a lucky few and difficulties with the language. France has only 30,000 beds available for over 60,000 asylum-seekers, meaning many are forced to live with friends or family, or on the street. As a result, of the four million Syrians who have fled their country since war erupted in 2011, only 7,000 have received asylum in France. (link)

This morning, the French PM has warned for new terrorist attacks in the forthcoming days and weeks. He expects that probably more attacks are currently being prepared, not only in France but also in the rest of Europe (FT). He has suggested that the state of emergency giving sweeping new investigative powers to police forces could be extended beyond 12 days — a move that would require approval by parliament (FT). Clearly, France sees its future in more repression.

The above is relevant in understanding why events took place in Paris on Friday 13 November 2015.

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