Friday 12 May 2006

Are you Belgian-Suspect?

Not the kind of news to hear

Being a regular visitor to Antwerp, I was quite surprised that I missed a rather harrowing but evident piece of news about the murders of 2 people and one left seriously injured [1].

It transpired that the perpetrator had bunked off boarding school (privilege) being on the verge of being suspended for smoking and drinking the day before.

The young man had been planning to commit an act of terminal self-harm but felt he would even serve society better if just before he committed the ultimate, he randomly kills a few immigrants who he referred to in the most derogatory terms.

If I were to dabble into profiling, we are given the impression that a person who in Europe has the privilege of a boarding school education, has the best opportunities for education, can be assertive, self-assured, confident and probably get by on his own cognisance, something ordinary people would probably need a police check and references for.

Classed as Belgian-suspect

So, he bunks off school and walks into a shop and buys a gun, gets the ammunition and declares open season on fellow human-beings who have the unfortunate distinction of having an appearance that is Belgian-suspect.

Belgian-suspect? Indeed, but that is part of the wave of right-wing populism that I have tried to ignore not only in Belgium, but in France and recently in the UK when the British National Party took a few seats in the local government elections.

The whole principle and premise that a certain group of people indigenously belong somewhere and they are being deprived of their rights because immigrants, foreigners or citizens of foreign progeny are getting priority in jobs, welfare and other “so-called” benefits.

This tripe, as ideology gets fed to the populace and finds resonance; that the broad church of democracy can allow sinners against liberty and tolerance to worship at the altar of universal franchise.

Caught in the stomach

The young man in event got shot in the stomach by a police marksman but not before he had shot and grievously wounded a Turkish woman, then killed an au-pair black woman with her ward, a 2-year old Caucasian child.

In his words, she was in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

That is what bothers me, any up-bringing, education, experience or tutelage that allows for a situation where a 2-year old cannot walk safe in the streets is in need of obliteration at source.

Where be the faults?

His aunt is a Member of Parliament representative of the Flemish Interest Party which was birthed at the demise of the similarly extreme right Flemish Block that the parliament proscribed a few years ago.

His father was a founding a member of the Flemish Block, and though the party spokespeople deny the young man is a member of their party, there are enough role models to influence, if not indoctrinate the child in abhorrent ideology.

The young man intimated to friends that he would commit terminal self-harm and take 10 immigrants with him and privileged few did nothing with that information thinking it was an empty threat.

The head of the school came across a suicide note and did not cotton on the possible gravity of the situation; rather school discipline through a suspension would have made the problem go away. Whatever acts he then committed would have absolved the school from culpability.

I have my doubts about that being the best kind of school to send impressionable people, if students can be subject to opprobrium and authorities can be in such dereliction of duty and responsibility.

A matrix of skinhead amity

Then he walks into what might be a gun store and gets a high-calibre rifle, no questions asked, and then walks up a street in Antwerp seeking his quarry dressed like a character out of the Matrix.

Surreal as this may seem, there does not seem to be one intelligent initiative from all these people who could have affected and avoided the situation

+ Parents associated with fear-purveying anti-immigrant movements;

+ Schoolmates learning to be farm-hands in a boarding school but having no sense of the consequence that can be adduced from information they are privy to;

+ School authorities who think a suicide note is better dealt with by suspension or expulsion;

+ A gun shop owner in dalliance with the money, ignoring the common-sense need to ascertain, verify, enquire and consequently deny.

They know not the effects of their rhetoric

Auntie then speaks, he grew up in an atmosphere of anti-violence – I think NOT!

The rhetoric of the extreme-right is anything but the gospel of peace to all mankind; that atmosphere is enough to create the self-loathing to commit suicide and the warped sense of duty to society leading to killing innocent immigrants.

Where the party has rejected the young man, having been caught; there are others who in their clandestine ceremonies who would be offering the proverbial pat on the back for speaking up for the working man of Dutch-speaking Belgium.


[1] Woman, child murdered in 'racist' Antwerp shooting

[2] 'Teen killer' deliberately targeted random foreigners

[3] Racist shooting rampage shocks Antwerp

General information about the school, translated from Flemish.

The boarding school - Vrij Agro- en Biotechnisch Instituut – (Free Agricultural and Biotechnical Institute)

A school with a past and a future

The school was established in 1922, and has more than 7000 alumni. A modern infrastructure guarantees a safe future.

A school with a heart

The VABI offers a student-centred educational curriculum offering practical tuition beyond just knowledge transfer.

A school in a “green lung” (Green in the context of environment)

The VABI is situated in splendid green surroundings within the grounds of a small seminary.

The boarding school has a totally new kitchen and a restaurant that caters for healthy meals, with accommodation adapted for study and entertainment.

Most students graduate to further education in various related fields in university.

Our diploma offers great opportunities for employment and other career enhancing prospects.

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