The new dramatic details, which emerged from a Belgian Parliament’s committee, are symbolic of a failed state, which came again under attack two weeks ago, when a suicide bomber detonated himself in the Brussels Central Station. But Belgian dysfunction is not only in counterterror measures; it is deeper. Walter Russell Mead, quoting from Joseph Conrad, called Brussels “the city of the whited sepulchres.”
After 9/11, the US media took as negative example of European military weakness the career of Chief Cpl. Rudy Christians, the Belgian army coiffed military hairdresser. “It’s a full-time job, guaranteed until retirement, and until then, the 47-year-old has enough free time to pursue an amateur singing career featuring Elvis and Tom Jones numbers,” the Wall Street Journal wrote after 9/11. “When the military does send him on an occasional field exercise, he is amazed by the fellow soldiers lumbering around him. ‘All the people are so old’, he says.” Christians is right: the Belgian army is derelict and aging.
The same is true for the Belgian anti-terrorism forces. Last year, after the terror attacks in Brussels, Americans claimed the Belgians are like clueless “children” who are too incompetent to handle today’s terror threat. A frustrated US official told the Daily Beast: “Even with the EU in general, there’s an infiltration of jihadists that’s been happening for two decades. And now they’re just starting to work on this. When we have to contact these people or send our guys over to talk to them, we’re essentially talking with people who are — I’m just going to put it bluntly — children. They are not pro-active, they don’t know what’s going on. They’re in such denial. It’s such a frightening thing to admit their country is being taken over.”
Belgium was once famous for beer, chocolate and scandals. It is now famous as Europe’s headquarter of Jihad. The Islamic State built its most powerful infrastructure inside the Belgian failed state. Belgium has the highest per capita number of Islamic terrorists gone to fight in Syria and Iraq than any other European country. The first European citizen to die on the battlefields of Jihad was Muriel Degauque, a Belgian Catholic girl. Two days before 9/11, two Tunisians recruited in Belgium murdered the Afghan commander Massoud, an enemy of Al Qaeda. The terror cell of Madrid’s 2004 bombings came from the Belgian town of Maaseik. All nine perpetrators of the November 2015 Paris attacks had a connection with Molenbeek. The guns used in the Charlie Hebdo massacre were sourced from the area. As Charles Michel, the Belgian prime minister, said, “Almost every time there is a terrorist attack, there is a link with Molenbeek.”
Brussels was destined to become, like London, Paris or Athens, the place par excellence of Europe’s national merger. Homo Belgicus should have been the highest example of synthesis of the European everyman. But that experiment went wrong. Belgium is now the Western European country with the highest suicide rate.
In the schools of the capital of Europe, the teaching of the Muslim religion has exceeded that of students of Catholic faith. Already today, in Brussels, one in three people is Muslim, the most common name is Mohammed, and by 2035 it will be a city with a Muslim majority.
Christianity in Belgium, which was once famous and strong, is now dying. The Church of Saint-Hubert in Watermael-Boitsfort will be turned into apartments, while the chapel of Piroy has been transformed into a brewery. In Namur, the Saint-Jacques Church was transformed into a clothing store. In Mechelen, Flanders, a luxury hotel has arisen in place of a Gothic church. Mosques are proliferating. Internal affairs minister Liesbeth Homans announced that Belgium will recognise 50 mosques, in addition to the 28 already officially listed in the country, reports De Morgen.
Belgium’s crisis of identity has a price. As Marc Hooge wrote after the bombings in Brussels last year (31 people killed), “the airport’s air traffic controllers went on strike, the airport police insisted on cumbersome procedures, extremists marched on the Place de la Bourse where vigils had been held, politicians blamed one another for failing to prevent carnage, no one rallied behind the Belgian flag, no one watched King Philippe’s televised speech the day of the attacks, the royal family’s statements of sympathy have fallen on deaf ears and a remembrance march in April attracted only a few thousand people.”
Belgium inserted the “existential suffering” into its law of euthanasia. But who will heal the existential crisis the country is facing because of nihilism, Islamic supremacism, fatigue and moral grandiosity?