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
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
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
Where, indeed, French is
the most spoken language.
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