Lithuanian Irish pub owners told to learn Dutch or ‘go back to Ireland’
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Lithuanian Irish pub owners told to learn Dutch or ‘go back to Ireland’

The owners of a Irish pub in Flanders received a postcard telling them to learn Dutch or "go back to Ireland," even though they come from Lithuania. Credit: Google Street View

A Lithuanian couple who owns an Irish pub in the Flemish town of Aalst received a postcard telling them to learn Dutch or “go back to Ireland,” according to reports on Tuesday.

“Maybe you don’t understand what I am writing here. But it’s never too late to… learn Dutch,” the postcard, sent to pub owners Ingrida Tankeliun and Edgar Tarlap, reads.

The postcard, sent from the coastal Flemish municipality of Ostend, then goes on to suggest the couple “consult” the far-right Vlaams Belang party and that they “return to Ireland.”

The postcard was sent to the couple’s St-James Gate pub, where they serve their customers in English and which is located in Aalst, between Brussels and Ghent.

“We work extremely hard in our catering business and we pay taxes,” the pub owners told Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday after they received the letter last week.

“Those are not nice things to read,” Ingrida, who discovered the letter in the mailbox and asked a client to translate it for her from Dutch, said.

“We would really like to speak better Dutch,” Edgar said, “but there is simply no time to take lessons. We have to work hard every day.”

The postcard is the latest incident of xenophobic messages sent by post in Aalst this month, after several residents of foreign origin living there received anonymous letters mentioning the Vlaams Belang and telling them they were “no longer welcome in Europe.”

Following the incident, the Lithuanian couple said that while they think that it is “unjust,” they have decided not to report it to the police.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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