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Discrimination & Belgian double nationality

Belgium has just passed a law that allows Belgian-born convicted criminals to be deported abroad. This might seem peculiar, until it is specified that this applies to felons with dual citizenship. Very vocal critics, like M. De Ceulaer below, claim the creation of second-rate citizens and discrimination. Point taken, but this opinion contains an important bias. Doesn’t the option of a double nationality for a selected few, and the associated benefits, turn Belgians with single citizenship into second-rate citizens as well? If the consequence of breaking the law is the cancellation of a privilege that the general public does not have, it does qualify as discrimination indeed, positive discrimination.  #justmy2cents

http://www.demorgen.be/nieuws/theo-francken-is-trots-op-een-plan-dat-niet-deugt-bf4d963a/

 

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Automotive quote of the day: Toyota Hilux

Now here’s a compliment that is hard to put a positive spin on: “[The Toyota Hilux] is the vehicular equivalent of the AK-47”. Sure, the Hilux is reliable and durable, but to compare it to a Kalashnikov machine gun that has claimed millions of lives over the past decades might be a bit harsh.

http://europe.newsweek.com/why-rebel-groups-love-toyota-hilux-74195?rm=eu

 

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Muslim prejudice: part of the problem identified?

M. Sallah Echallaoui, president of the Belgian Muslim Council (Moslimexecutieve) just identified the main problem with prejudice against the Muslim community, but not as he intended. His observation is that the gap between Muslims and Non-Muslims in Belgium has grown. Let’s be honest: he is absolutely right. By his this very observation he has indirectly admitted his own failure to achieve his mission statement, which is to make sure his community is accurately represented in our society. Where is his offer to help fight against terrorism? How is the Muslim Council fighting radicalization? Aren’t you supposed to be part of the solution in stead of another observer of the problem? A simple gesture, M. Echallaoui, is al that is needed: reach out your hand.

http://www.lesoir.be/1189779/article/actualite/fil-info/fil-info-belgique/2016-04-23/attentats-bruxelles-une-cassure-s-est-renforcee-entre-musulmans-

 

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Brussels bomber conveniently left a laptop behind

You guys, I need a sanity check. What is your first impression when you read the following facts:

  • One of the Brussels bombers left a laptop behind in a bin at the site of the attack
  • The laptop was not encrypted
  • The laptop contained a folder called ‘Target’
  • This folder contained documents describing locations and contacts for future strikes
  • The documents were in English

http://europe.newsweek.com/laptop-brussels-bomber-brahim-el-bakraoui-reveals-new-information-plan-attack-447315?rm=eu

 

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The binary century: no more grey

Radicalization, a word used so frequently in the news that we’ve become desensitized to it. It’s something that happens to Muslim youngsters, we’re told on a daily basis. They are isolated and immersed into radical views by persons they respect and look up to. In the end they develop a radical world view that all but consumes them. That could never happen to us, we’re cultured and have a wide view on the world, right? Wrong. In a world were all news outlets are continuously looking for the next sensational headline, that one-liner that gets the most clicks, we are collectively going through the process of radicalization. Muslims are bad. Electric cars are good. Everything is either black or white, 0 or 1. We’re losing the art of civilized and constructive discussion. I do miss grey.

binary code in black and white

binary code in black and white

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Dear Belgian politicians,

Belgium has had a very rough week. We’ve been attacked by extremists who have murdered innocent bystanders in order to infuse fear in people’s minds and harm our way of life. We all know Belgium is a complicated country to govern, both institutionally and politically. These dark days are not the time to let hidden agendas get the better of you. You have a responsibility to lead the country through these tribulations. Please do not take this duty lightly. This is not the time to turn our communities against each other. To do so, after an act of war, borders on treason. Currently, you are collectively playing into the cards of the terrorists. People will not stand for this, mark my words.

http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/36484/Aanslagen-Brussel/article/detail/2659405/2016/03/28/Yvan-Mayeur-Vlaanderen-heeft-Brussel-bevuild-met-extremisten.dhtml

 

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Word of the day: ‘grim’

While reading the news about the protests in Brussels today, one word clearly jumped out: ‘grimmig‘ (or ‘grim‘ in English). Nearly all Flemish articles spoke about a ‘grim athmophere’ (‘grimmige sfeer’) and even international media used the word ‘grim’ often. Don’t you think it is remarkable that all these talented journalists used the exact same expression? Were they reading each others articles? Were all articles based on the same source document (a Belga press release?)? #justasking

wordoftheday-grimmig