After eight years of fighting, bad mouthing and swearing, the cuberdon war in Gent was settled in court on Thursday morning.
Salesmen Carl Demeestere and competitor Younes Benzaza, both of whom sell cuberdons - locally know as neuzeke (little nose) - at the Groentemarkt in Gent, faced each other in court after Demeestere made a host of racist statements directed at Benzaza in a video seen around the world.
Both men have been involved for years in the famous 'nose war', in which they compete with each other for customers of the gelatinous cone-shaped Belgian candy from East Flanders. Both vendors say that their cuberdons are the best and claim that the other vendor is using unfair means to steal their customers.
The war reached new heights in November 2017 when Demeestere labelled his competitor as "a beast" and "a piece of shit on 2 feet that should have stayed in his own country" on a recording. The video - recorded by a tourist vlog- was seen around the world, resulted in a complaint of racism against Demeestere by Benzaza.
The judge ruled on Thursday that his acts did not constitute incitement to hatred, but that they did constitute insults with racist motivations. Demeestere was sentenced to two months in jail with probation, the maximum penalty for insults with racist motivation. He also received a fine of 1,600 euros and must pay 1,100 euros in damages to Benzaza.
Demeestere will have to make efforts to compensate Benzaza and must follow a course to learn to control himself if he wants to avoid jail time. He first has to think before he says something, said the Judge.
During the handling of the case, Demeestere indicated that peace had returned and that both stands are now one hundred meters apart.
This is not the first time the war has required civil intervention. After a number of incidents between the two vendors in 2014, the Mayor of Ghent Daniël Termont (socialist) decided to temporarily revoke the two traders’ licenses. In 2015 the Chamber of Commerce ruled that the vendor on the right-hand stall should pay a 1,000-euro penalty payment each time he bad-mouths his rival on the left-hand stall, according to NWS.
The Brussels Times