My sympathy to the people of Belgium.
The 24 hour News is almost unwatchable. Commentators and Politicians say it is too soon to discuss the implications and then proceed to do exactly that. They are effectively setting out the boundaries of the discussion.
It is deferrment. It will be no surprise if there is never any real discussion. Not even after the next attrocity in a different European capital.
Belgium is a strange country. Artificial. Set up in the early nineteenth century with th intention of keeping France and Germany from going to war. And as such…in 1870, 1914 and 1939, it has failed miserably.
Divided on language lines, Dutch, French and German and with an imposed monarchy and a grotesque empire in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, it has been the centre of the great European experiment. Again, Peace in Europe. Is it already a failure.
Expanded Europe is a failed Europe. Democratic traditions in western Europe and the totalitarian traditions in the East. Money in the North. Basket case in the south. Hawkish, militaristic post colonials in NATO and honourable neutral nations.
I fear that sooner or later the contradictions within the European Union, as much as Belgium itself will eventually lead to failure or a recognition of failure. Later in this century, it will collapse. No Empire lasts and eventually the European Union will be a footnote in History.
It is not about BREXIT and Referendums. Whatever about the sideshow of European idealism and national sovreignty…so long as the EU exists, there is money to be made. It is still possible to milk the cash cow for all its worth before the cow is sent to an abattoir.
So long as Syria is being bombed by Russians, Americans and Europeans, refugees will come to “Europe” and of course there are economic migrants from North Africa. And there are refugees and/or migrants from Afghanistan.
Of course Racists see a bandwagon. Admitting “millions” (sic) of migrants will de-stabalise Europe further. Jihadis will mingle with the genuine refugees. It is always right to call out the Racists but just as important to call out the businessmen whos support for open borders is as much about cheap labour as genuine human rights.
Europe with its “good friend” Turkey is now in the business of people trafficking.
That is the message that Europe sends out. It is understandable that French people gather in the Place de Republique. Understandable that Belgians gather in the Place de la Bourse. Understandable that French images have been replaced by Belgian images on Facebook.
Today the Belgian Flag flies in Dublin, London and other European capitals. People leave lighted candles and children draw peace symbols…..but surely there is a next time. And the politicians will lead the mourning and discourage scrutiny in the name of good taste.
The President of France says “Belgium was attacked….Europe was attacked”. Well, he is half-right. Belgium might have lost all its national identity (it never really had one) to be central to the European “ideal”. And if Francois Hollande thinks “Europe” was attacked, he means “Belgium/France/Germany/Britain/Netherlands” and the like. He does not mean “Sweden/Finland/Ireland/Slovenia/Latvia” …such is the nature of “Europe”.
But I think that an English voter watching the scenes at Brusells airport or listening to the French President might conclude that being European is not such a good idea. Calls for Solidarity ring hollow in places that dont show interest beyond the economic.