the Disillusioned kid: Blood, Honour and Guns
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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Blood, Honour and Guns

I like Belgium. One of my closest friends hails from there and I had the pleasure of welcoming in the New Year in Brussels. Unfortunately, the country also has a dark side, embodied in apparently widespread support for the far-right. According to polls conducted in 2004, Vlaams Blok (which later changed its name to Vlaams Belang to circumvent a ban), who couple Flemish separatism with xenophobia and holocaust denial, was the most popular party in Flanders. Today VB has representatives in the European Parliament, the Belgian Sentate and Chamer of Representatives and the Flemish and Brussels Parliaments.

Of course, VB is only the tip of the iceberg. It was clear, even during my brief visit, that distrust of the immigrant population, who largely originate from Morocco, is widespread. Those voting for VB, are aware of their policies and it generally felt that isn't their commitment to an independent Flanders people are throwing their support behind. Occasionally such sentiments express themselves violently. In May, a white toddler and her pregnant black babysitter were gunned down in Antwerp.

On Wednesday, Belgian police claimed to have bust a neo-Nazi terrorist plot. What is particularly striking about this report is the fact that arrests followed a raid on five army barracks and included eleven soldiers, not to mention the seizure of "ammunition, pistols, rifles and landmine detonators." The federal prosectutor’s office allege that the group had planned to destabilise the country. Lieve Pellens, a spokeswoman for the office, asserted: "They were extreme right, with anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideals. They were recruiting in military circles with the aim possibly to move to action." The arrests apparently followed a two year investigation into Bloed-Bodem-Eer-Trouw (Blood, Soil, Honour, Loyalty), which the Times describe a "a breakaway faction of the far-right Flemish group Blood and Honour" (presumably they are referring to the Belgian branch of the Blood and Honour network who distribute white power music).

Clearly, in light of anti-terror raids in this country, one should be wary about taking the police's word for anything, but its hard to imagine they'd have wanted to carry out such an operation without considerable evidence. No state wants people to think it doesn't control its own armed forces. Even if the authorities are overstating the significance and effectiveness of the raids, this is a troubling development. The raison d'etre of the army is to prepare people for combat and it's safe to assumes it isn't a huge leap to adapt this training to the context of a nascent race war. The american far-right seem to have worked this out and it looks like their Belgian counterparts aren't far behind.
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