Re: taboos

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 17:23:16 BST

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    From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
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    Subject: Re: taboos
    Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 18:23:16 +0200
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Douglas Brooker <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Friday, April 13, 2001 11:32 PM
    Subject: Re: taboos
    You wrote,

    >Thanks very much for those references, they look very interesting and are
    > helpful. And also thanks for the information about the 1990 24 hour
    abdication crisis, its fascinating, that might be relevant to the
    conventions project.
    << You let me know the results !? If it is possible of course !

    Is the King the only force that keeps Belgium a single country?

    << No, I don 't think so. Not as such anyway. He is more a person of
    alliance, a mediator between the communities.
    Belgium is a federal state with, if I recall correctly, has now 6 seperate
    governments which are trying to do their best in their own proper ways.
    By doing so, they tear the country apart. Each of them is trying to get more
    power, more competence for the own territory/ institutions, whereby the
    contrast between Flanders and Wallon is the backspine.
    The Wallons want more money for their education and the Flanders will
    ask en will get more competence to raise their own taxes, etc.

    You can imagine that the public is stuck in the middle of this but on the
    other hand they are the motor behind the process_ our hyper- individua-
    lism, remerber !! Our self-realisation stands on the front line, everybody
    demands all the rights, in a sense we do what we like....
    The King is in a sense not a real person, but rather an instution which
    works in and among the seperate lines of the communitiy.
    He is not only there as for protocol but also as head of the state, as the
    official representation of the country.
    He has a certain power, but when it comes down to it, they will just
    abdict him easily.
    Belgium is falling apart in slow motion, the only thing that holds it back
    for the total collapse is the King. We, politicians and the public don 't
    really know what to do with him...

    By the way, King boudewijn I died in 1993, his younger brother Albert II
    is now King.

    Could you describe Belgium as a case of entrapment into nationhood?

    << Difficult question, because I don 't know what makes us a nation, if
    that would be a good term for it. As I see it, it is more like the United
    States of Belgium right now.
    But anyway, I think you can say we are trapped, but not into nationhood,
    more into our historical past, into our being, into our selfness ( if that
    into our ( to some degree) " religious state ", into our individuality ( the
    sense of community is lost) but de only sense of community remaining is that
    everyone has an " I " and that works as a new kind of sense of community.
    You could call this nationhood I suppose.

    If that is now the context wherein we all want to live is entirely another
    question. By the lack of a sense of nationhood- like concept in the real
    meaning of the word we are/ were thrown back upon ourselves, the
    now essential rule is realise yourself, be an individual, but at the same
    we despise the other who has more.
    That old herd- instinct, the mentality is not yet completely gone.
    Strange though !! I have no profound explanation for this.

    You may realise your individuality in the ways you think it is possible
    but at the same time you have to stay within certain unwritten bounderies;
    you have to stick to what lives within the community, and that are IMO those
    historical/ social/ cultural/ political/ psychological/... characteristics
    wherein to
    a certain degree we recognize ourselves as Belgians.
    ( remerber after the outbreak of the Dutroux- case, the Witte Mars and
    the public malcontentement about the famous Spaghetti- arrest. There you see
    nationhood, but it slipped right away back in oblivian.)

    If you for what reason try to be better than someone, quickly you are
    regarded as ambitious, extravagent, alien.
    People try to drag you into/ along their game of attraction and repulsion.
    A very strange case of distiction is taking place.
    It is like we grope, fumble at, for,... eachother. How far can we get, how
    will the other go, that kind of feeling.
    This affect slips throught all the levels of the community, we hustle, we do
    something for someone only if the other is willing to do something for me.
    We do not solve problems, we " consensus " them... I have no words for
    this kind of feeling... we live seperate but together, we live at a
    level but are " unconscious " for the needs of others...

    > The Belgian I know best is Jacques Brel. "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well
    > Living in Paris" was a very popular stage show and LP when I was a
    > Still know alot of the songs.

    << Of course, did forget him !!
    Do you know his song " Les Flamands " wherein he describes in a cynical
    way the narrow- mindedness of the Flemish people !? Listen to the text !!!!
    They expelled him from their hearts and minds... in a way he never came
    over that. He did it a few years later again with the song ' les F... ',
    he describes the welfare, the working- mentality of the Flemish people, but
    they never listened... Pity !!



    ( I am, because we are) not depressed I hope after this....

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