Bart De Wever yields under pressure from anti-racist actions
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By Oriana P.
After the stigmatizing statements made by the mayor of Antwerp against the local Imazighen population a righteous wave of protests and condemnation erupted. Instead of simply engaging in dialogue and meeting the demand to apologize Bart De Wever sent a ridiculously large police force to the action at the Grote Markt. The peaceful demonstrators found themselves surrounded by busses and hundreds were forcefully removed with some even dragged and carried away. Blue flashing lights, shiny cars and commanding uniforms contributed to the dramatic effect and were the perfect props for this decadent display of intimidation and militarized police presence. Money clearly wasn’t an obstacle and much of it would be recuperated anyways through the two hundred and ten municipal fines that made their way into the mailboxes of the arrestees afterwards.
A commercial on national television under the guise of “interview” and a demonstration of power under the guise of “security”. His statements as well as the whole intimidation show-off were part of a strategy to satisfy his constituents by sending a strong signal and ensure their continued support.
It is apparent N-VA takes the upcoming elections seriously given the 1 million Euro price tag of the Helfie campaign. One has to admit this is indeed a lot of money for a message of teamwork that is, let’s be honest, very much at odds with the exclusion and discrimination policies of the N-VA of Bart De Wever. To recap the strategy so far, reassuring the supporters while simultaneously conveying a message of teamwork and collaboration. All those who don’t want to cooperate with this vision can later easily be dismissed as troublemakers who are standing in the way of unity and progress if needed. Genius! Promoting and exclusion and unity in one single breath.
Such a shame though when the whole intimidation campaign turned out to be an epic fail since Movement X and others flatly refused to be intimidated. How insufferably annoying! Even more street actions followed and Bart De Wever was unceremoniously told he could go justify himself in front of a judge. The whole country was in turmoil and members of Movement X got invited to debates all over the place and dragged to interviews.
Meanwhile, Bart was nowhere to be found. He went into hiding quietly hoping it would all blow over soon. It is also not a secret he abhors debates and prefers soliloquy. When it became obvious the storm wouldn’t lie down he, in what was clearly a desperate move, had his former black driver state on Twitter that his former boss, who was uncomfortably grimacing in the attached picture, was definitely and absolutely not a racist. The whole thing was so embarrassing transparent it became almost impertinent to have a good laugh. Almost but not quite.
A few shameful skirmishes followed such as the personal attacks on Movement X lawyer, Abderrahim Lahlali who, with quick sharpness and stone cold facts, shot back with such an ease he left the befuddled opponents completely dumbfounded forcing them to stop the attacks.
It became obvious a decent damage control strategy was urgently needed and lo and behold, seemingly out of nowhere Choumicha, Morroccan national celebrity, appeared to save the day. This wildly popular TV cook was going to cook during Ramadan on the local TV station ATV, “ a great ATV initiative”, according to Bart De Wever. Choumicha was immediately whisked off to City Hall to conduct an interview on its premises and engage in some mandatory on-camera handshaking with the mayor who, when asked to comment on the new Moroccan cooking show, didn’t fail to mention his Moroccan employee making sure everybody knew he was “down” with the Moroccan community in his town. It was a nicely staged and clearly scripted puppet show.
Since when are TV presenters from a temporary TV show bestowed with this much honor? And how high is the price tag to lure a national celebrity to a local TV station? Is this a roundabout way to apologize by Bart De Wever or is it in fact the result of sustained action against racist statements?
On social media nobody is impressed or fooled:
“In his dreams if he thinks he can get away with this so easily. I want a sincere sorry. A sincere and public apology…Every Berber fiber in my body is waiting for this” ~ Inaam Allachi
In and of itself it has been long overdue that someone of Moroccan origin gets their own TV show but this is just a temporary deal. She only cooks for a mere thirty days. When will this local channel finally reflect the diversity that exist in society in its fixed programs let alone behind the scenes such as in management, the editorial staff or the tech crew? Why not, for example, a permanent cooking show with local talent such as Fatima Al Warda? This can only become a huge success when we look at the enthusiastic reactions to the news of Choumicha coming to cook on Antwerp TV.
Meanwhile, Bart De Wever was forced to deliver a Moroccan kitchen princess in order to save face under pressure of ongoing anti-racist actions. Who can still argue that standing up for your rights, raising your voice and taking the streets don’t pay off? In this context the recruitment of Choumicha should be seen as a Movement X victory over racist policies.
In case Bart De Wever still would like to offer his long-awaited apology he might be given the chance to do so during the equally long-awaited televised debate with Dyab Abou Jahjah, president of Movement X. When talking ratings we suspect records will be broken and ultimately refusing to engage in dialogue and occupying the airwaves with a monologue format is undemocratic to say the least.