The fight against racism is one and indivisible, says P.M. Vervoort
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    The fight against racism is one and indivisible, says P.M. Vervoort

    The fight against racism is one and indivisible: it cannot be divided into forms of racism that must be condemned and others that can be accepted, Brussels Prime Minister Rudi Vervoort said on Tuesday on the occasion of Labour Day. Vervoort made the remarks in an address to Socialist Party (PS) militants just days after statements made by Belgium’s Prime Minister, Charles Michel, on the award of the title of honorary doctor of Brussels Free University, ULB, to British film-maker Ken Loach. Loach is known for taking virulent positions against Israel, which some interpret as a form of antisemitism.

    “Our real identity as inhabitants of Brussels, is to have many identities,” Vervoort said. “That’s why the nationalists and xenophobes hate us so much.”

    With the approach of the elections, the Brussels Prime Minister warned against the resurgence of racist and xenophobic themes.

    “The extremists have understood the political marketing message recommending a preference for positive labels when it comes to choosing a name,” he stressed. “The anti-abortion groups have re-baptised themselves as pro-life. The extreme-right groups call themselves identitarians, the name chosen by racists to present themselves to public opinion.”

    For Rudi Vervoort, the cause of the progress of humanism and enlightenment is beginning to regress on this front. The social fight is not waged only on the economic plane. “It’s the fight for people’s rights, for more equality and for freedom not to be a privilege,” he said.

    “The identitarian strategy of the right” is not only a diversion, the Prime Minister feels. “It strikes against the bulwarks of dignity and directly harms the cause of progress and freedoms. The absence of any progress on the ethical plane since 2014, rather than the contrary, attests to this,” he said.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times