The grotesque State of Belgium
Guest post by Drieu Godefridi (*)
Brussels suicide bombers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui
It is now clear that the government of Belgium is in a state of complete failure.
Let us review the facts regarding the terror attacks in Paris (3/11) and Brussels (22/3):
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- For months, members of the Belgian local police force were aware of the exact location where the terrorist and co-author of the attacks in Paris Salah Abdeslam would finally be captured; it kept such private.
- Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the suicide bombers of the 22/3 attack, had been imprisoned for crimes of a serious nature; he was released after having served only half his sentence.
- The same Ibrahim El Bakraoui was then able to leave for Syria, in violation of his probation, without any hindrance.
- Ibrahim El Bakraoui was then identified as a terrorist by the Turkish authorities who informed the Belgian embassy in Ankara; the embassy did not pass on the information.
- Ibrahim El Bakraoui was expelled by Turkey to the Netherlands, where he re-entered Europe quietly without being arrested (he should have been arrested immediately, if only for the violation of his probation).
- Even though the Belgian Penal Code strictly stipulates that those “returnees” from Syria must be jailed, a necessity that the Belgian government reiterated immediately after the Paris attacks of 3/11, only a few weeks later the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs declared “it is inconceivable to put all those people in jail”; the official stance then changed once again.
- It took weeksfor the Belgian tribunal to revoke Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s probation.
- Ibrahim’s brother, Khalid El Bakraoui, one of the other suicide bombers of the 22/3, had been also freed on probation for criminal offences; though he too violated his probation, the tribunal had decided notto revoke his probation.
- The woman who sheltered Salah Abdeslam in Molenbeek, who is thus accomplice sensu stricto, was freed immediately after being arrested.
- Between his arrest on the 18/3 and the attacks on the 22/3, Salah Abdeslam was only briefly interrogated for about an hour, during which he spouted a tissue of lies before being sent back to his cell. The perpetrators of the attacks of the 22/3 were part of his network.
It is thus obvious that the Belgian government is in a shambolic state at every level, from the local to the federal, and from the executive branch to the judiciary.
Of course none of this would have been possible without the policy, in place now for 30 years, to open Belgian citizenship — and the borders — to hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. This open invitation has been extended mainly to Muslim countries, instigating the creation, ex nihilo, of huge Muslim communities in the cities of Brussels, Antwerp and every other Belgian city. Radicalized or not, fundamentalist of not, peaceful or not, these communities tend, in Belgium as anywhere else, to impose their political-religious credo.
A study by the WZB Social Science Center (Berlin), published last year in the “Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies”, indicates that half the Muslims in Belgium, France and Austria are fundamentalists, i.e. they think that Muslims should return to the roots of their faith; that there is only one interpretation of the Koran; and that Muslim law should supercede civil (or common) law, (“Religious Fundamentalism and Hostility against Out-groups. A Comparison of Muslims and Christians in Western Europe”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 41, N°1, 33-57). This Weltanschauung (or concept of the world) is irreconciliable with the rudiments of our Western civilization, or for that matter any society which is not strictly Islamic. To assert that Islam—which is much more than simply a religion—has nothing to do with the current spate of terrorist attacks in Europe is a psychotic denial of reality.
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To excuse the failings of the Belgian State, the common discourse cites a “lack of means”: not incompetence, nor irresponsibility, only a lack of means. However, of all those in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Belgian people are the most highly taxed. The state levies income tax at a staggering rate of 57% (Taxing Wages, 2015, OECD) not to mention value-added tax (VAT) and so on. The state also has at is disposal 800,000 public servants, in a population of 11 million, a huge amount which is comparable only with countries such as France. Despite this profusion of human and financial means, the Belgian State in all its components seems incapable of furnishing the basic services expected of a government: the protection of the people and application of the penal law. The Belgians, that most productive and entrepreneurial people, have the right to, and should, ask themselves if the famous “social compact” has not become leonine.
This level of incompetence and irresponsibility in Belgium would be almost comical, if there was no blood on the wall. Belgium needs radical reforms.
(*) Drieu Godefridi is a PhD Sorbonne (philosophy), lawyer, based in Brussels, Belgium and Oxford, UK.