Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tues 22 February

Another student of mine confessed today that he has also stopped going to Flanders in protest at what he, and I know many, many other Walloons, see as the way they're treated up north. He's the third student to have admitted this to me. I now make that six Walloons who I've spoken to who feel the same way.

He was telling me how he used to take his children when they were young to the seaside regularly, but hasn't been back for a few years. He tells me of two of his colleagues who recently got back from weekend breaks in Flanders, who recall how they were refused service in a café and a restaurant as soon as the staff working there found out they were Walloons. Discrimination. No other word for it.

I wonder if the politicians are aware at just how polarised these two communities really are. I guess the Flemish nationalists and separatists must be, otherwise they wouldn't exist. They use and exploit these divisions for political gain.

Interestingly, last year, on his way out of an ice-cream parlour (I think. Sorry, can't find anything about this on the net so am writing this from memory) in the Wallonian city of Liège, a Flemish politician was punched by a local and told he wasn't welcome down here. The response of the politician was wonderful. He said he was sorry that the man felt this way, but that he loved visiting Wallonia, he loved the people, and he would continue to come to the region. Now if only this could be replicated amongst his colleagues.

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