As I mentioned in yesterday's 9/11 column (sharply titled by my excellent syndicate editor "A Day That Will Live in ... Islamic Accomodation"), the demonstration in downtown Brussels held by the Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang both to mark 9/11/08 and to protest the Islamization of Europe was broken up by Belgian police--and, according to one participant who emailed me yesterday, it was broken up before the group could finish laying flowers at the base of the World Trade Center there.
How's that for efficient police work?
The mayor of Brussels, Freddy Thielemans, had denied Vlaams Belang a permit for the demonstration for several reasons as reported in the Belgian press: the event would be too "sensitive"; the event would be taking place too close to "sensitive" neighborhoods; and it would be taking place during the presumably sensitive span of Ramadan.
"Sensitive"? Let's snip away the euphemistic grape leaf. The mayor was referring to a potential Muslim reaction in Brussels, which, I take it, he was expecting to be anything but "sensitive," and rather potentially violent. Hence the official ban on the 9/11-Islamization protest. And hence the response by Filip Dewinter--one of the leaders of Vlaams Belang--who said Mayor Thielsman's reaction proved that the Islamization of Brussels, and the Islamization of European cities generally, is in full swing.
How do you say, "You can say that again" in Flemish?
But back to the crack work of that Brussels police force. Make no mistake about it: No one is going to get away with laying a wreath to murdered Americans in that town. And you can bet your bottom Euro on that.
But I wonder how the Brussels police go about their business in those, er, "sensitive" neighborhoods. According to what I learned while visiting Belgium this past summer, they don't go about much. Maybe the government thinking is they won't ever have to, not so long as it does things like quash flowers for 9/11, along with the political efforts of Vlaams Belang, Belgium's popular secessionist and anti-Islamization party.
During my stay I spent time interviewing, among others, members of Vlaams Belang (VB). I also took a drive one beautiful summer morning with Erland Pison, a VB member of the Brussels Parliament, through some portion of what qualifies as the mayor's nearby "sensitive" neighborhoods--not what the average tourist sees every day.
And they were indeed "sensitive." In fact, they were so "sensitive" that I, an American tourist who had been snapping pics with enthusiastic abandon throughout Europe, suddenly felt extremely "sensitive" with my camera. Out of "sensitivity" then, I pulled out a very small video camera, which sort of looks like a cellphone, to record my tour, unobtrusive-like, sometimes even holding it up to my ear, Maxwell Smart-like.
Hence some weird angle in the pics below.
What surprised me later on, though, after examining the pics I had pulled out of the video, was how many of the people we passed--men, actually, because in most of the "sensitive"neighborhoods I visited, you hardly ever saw women on the street--had, unbeknownst to me at the time, instantly noticed my companions and me as we had driven by.
So here are some pics from my summer vacation in the capital of Europe. This neighborhood is known as "Garages." Why? Notice all the, well, garages. What's up with that? Interesting. Whatever the answer, this is definitely the scenic route untraveled.
Excuse me, which way to Mannekin Pis?