I’m not sure how much this story has been covered elsewhere, but the big story in Belgium for the last couple weeks has been the murder of Joe Van Holsbeeck, a 17 year old who was killed for an MP3 player in the main hall of Brussels Central train station during rush hour.
I left for vacation in Tunisia two days after the murder and returned just last Saturday, so I missed much of the development of the story. On Sunday, some 80,000 people marched, nominally in solidarity with the family but a little more realistically in response to fears about their security. I want to point out that much of Belgian society has behaved admirably. The victim’s family specifically did not want this to turn into a partisan cause. Almost all sectors of society expressed their horror at this crime without resorting to racialism. I’m actually kind of proud of my land of residence, which is not something that happens very often.
I, however, will not be abiding by the family’s wishes. I have a partisan statement make about this killing.
I want to talk about the people who haven’t behaved so well. You see, CCTV footage of the suspects (see here, for instance) led virtually everyone to assume that the perpetrators were of North African (Arab, Muslim) decent. For this reason, the Union of Brussels Mosque Associations issued a call for the perpetrators to turn themselves in. The Belgian Muslim executive council however, took some flak for refusing to join them, saying “So long as the perpetrators have not been identified, we see little use in making a statement. [...] Just because the perpetrators have an Arab appearance does not mean that they are Muslims. Our role is to support the mourning family. [The council] will be sending a letter of condolences to Joe’s parents in the coming days.”
The press and bloggers were not very reticent to see an ethnic and partisan meaning to this. State owned VRT implied that since “the killers are believed to be of North African descent. Their identity is probably known among the Brussels ethnic minorities.” Brussels Journal blogger and Vlaams Belang water-bearer Paul Belien complains the the BBC neglected to mention the ethnicity of the killers. His trackbacks are even worse. Not to mention how the more openly racist elements of the American blog world (start here and follow the links), or many other bloggers (a search at Technorati will find them). I haven’t yet checked through all the press, but I’ll give odds that the tone of the “quality” Flemish press has not exactly been impartial either.
Now, here’s the kicker. The cops arrested one of the suspects today. Turns out he’s Polish. That means white, probably Catholic. Apparently, so is the other suspect.
So, to the racist assholes of the Vlaams Belang, to every Belgian reporter and editorialist who through casual racism allowed their coverage to assume that the perpetrators were Muslims, to Brussels Journal, Michelle Malkin, the LGF crowd, to the many who blamed this killing on Islam or race, and to everyone in Belgium who thinks Islam is more incompatible with European values than Catholicism, I would like to offer up a big fuck you! If you wonder why your immigrants are socially excluded, you might start by looking at the society they’re excluded from.