Sunday, September 02, 2007

Two-state solution

If you're craving more accurate news on Belgium, something beyond false accusations of that country having inspired the German nudist movement, here's an update on Belgian politics, via Matthew Yglesias, from Ingrid Robeyns. With the government still not formed, it appears that Jo's brother was not making things up when he said that the next time I visit Belgium there may no longer be a Belgium. Will France bring in Wallonia? With the Netherlands adopt Flanders? Is Flemish Dutch really Dutch spoken with a French accent? If the two Belgiums split, which side will get the frites? Will a struggle ensue like the one over falafel, with both sides vying for full credit? When the reality of the situation is that it is human nature to deep-fry all nearby food items, and 'credit' in these cases is irrelevant.

5 comments:

Nick said...

Holy crap. This is a useful backgrounder and as this article (in french) indicates, it has indeed been 84 days since the Belgians had a government.

On the one hand, I wonder why we Americans don't really hear about such things. On the other hand, it doesn't appear to be front-page news even on Belgian newspapers, so I don't know if the situation is as dire as it sounds.

Still, it's fascinating, and sad, in terms of prospects for multi-national countries

Anonymous said...

Considering our current situation, I think the U.S. might be better off without a government. At least for a little while, like until January 20, 2008. -- JM

I've got Flemmish in my throat said...

It only goes to show. . .if the garbage is collected, the power is on, and order is maintained, you really don't need any politicians.

alex said...

"One problem is that the interpretations of the political events differ dramatically between the Dutch-language and the Francophone Belgian press – truly as if they are from two different planets – so any (foreign) journalist/reader who masters only one of those two languages will almost inevitably get a distorted or one-sided pictured. Then there is the question whether, as a Flemish person, I can write sufficiently neutral about this. One of the many dimensions of the Belgian drama is the historical disrespect of Francophone Belgians for the Flemish, especially their language; and part of the interpretational differences is whether this is still the case today, and whether one should bother."

Ever heard of Canada?

kj said...

their chocolate tastes the same... isn't that all we Americans care about with regard to the Belgians?