While asylum seekers living at the Saint-Jean fire station in Tournai has caused debate in the political world, the pianist Fred Wilbaux has launched an unusual campaign: help an asylum seeker. After being surprised by the reaction of some Tournai residents, who are strongly opposed to 450 to 790 asylum seekers arriving at Tournai, the artist is looking for 800 volunteers. They would offer moral support to those who have chosen to leave their home country to find refuge in Belgium. The Tournai musician’s idea does not involve providing asylum seekers with economic help, but moral support. The musician hopes that his idea will snowball, and that numerous Tournai residents, and others, will heed his call.
Last week, the State Secretary for Immigration and Asylum, Theo Francken (New Flemish Alliance), announced that the former fire station would become a centre for refugees. This has sparked a debate in the city of Clovis. As well as heated exchanges between the different political parties, the Tournai population is split into those who think that the refugee’s arrival will revive the old town, and those who don’t want foreigners there.
A musician in the first group has come up with a novel idea to help integrate the new arrivals.
Jason Bennett (Source: Belga)