Belgium: One Country, Divided to the Bone, uhm… Bike

The yearly "Gordel bike ride" through Brussels today

caused a lot of harassment and anger between

the Flemish and the Walloons.

As usual. The cycling Flemish, among whom

a lot of politicians, encountered nails on the route

and road signs that were covered or turned around.

The offenders in all these cases spoke French – and

were all but ashamed of their mischievous deeds.

Officially it's one country: since it split off from

the Netherlands in the early nineteenth century,

Belgium is a constitutional monarchy on its own.

With many of the national – and

nationalistic – aspirations so many western countries

have had, even up to creating its own African colonies.

But there has also been a lot of tension within

the country.

Dutch speaking Flemish (about 60% of

the 10 million Belgians), French speaking

Walloons (about 40%, including most of

the inhabitants of capital Brussels, who

by the way are not officially Walloons) and

German speaking from the Ostkantons

(less than 1%), don't get along.

They fight about everything that comes

on their path, some of it caused by

a long troublesome history, some of it

brand new.

Most serious consequence of it all: the country

is practically ungovernable.

Today's Gordel Ride was organised for

the 29th time already.

Around 70,000 Flemish cyclists participated; they

not only expressed their sportsmanship,

but also their political preferences.

More precisely, they wanted to stress

the Flemish character of a group of suburbs

surrounding Brussels.

Where, indeed, French is

the most spoken language.

Link here

             J-L K.
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