Photo: Fernando Burges; Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Memorial for the victims of the terrorist attacks, in the centre of Brussels, one day before being attacked by fascists.
When you think something cannot get worse, someone will always remind you that you are surrounded by human beings. Although we did manage to achieve some interesting things over the last thousand years, we have very strong evidence that our species is not succeeding on Earth. A rather illustrative episode that underpins such dystopic statement is the recent case of 500 far-right protesters who marched into a square in Brussels where a vigil dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attacks was taking place.
We all know that Europe is witnessing the revival of the extreme right, and that members of numerous political parties or hooligans firms proliferate all over the continent. Thus, it comes as no surprise that, in light of terrorist attacks claimed by a Wahhabi-oriented militant group on European soil, members of ultranationalist cults go out to party. What is striking, though, is that this time they marched into a peaceful crowd to promote the idea that the State and all of us are accomplices with Daesh. Wait, what?
Skinheads, Nazi salutes, anti-immigration chants and nation-worshipping are already too common to impress. It’s like living in a city also inhabited by rats. It’s disgusting but you are not scared unless it comes across you. However, when this group decides to speak out their minds, we are blown away by how myopic their agenda seems to be. They accuse the State of being accomplice with Daesh because it fosters multicultural policies and accepts immigration. As far as we, the citizens, are concerned, our guilt relies on the fact that we absorb the government’s policies.
No analysis could be more erroneous than this. One can say that the State – in its Western version – is guilty for having invaded and bombed countries such as Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving the ground open for jihadists to thrive in response to state breakdown. One can also say that new imposed regimes cannot consolidate themselves and that Western intervention exacerbates sectarian conflicts. Lastly, one can also say that centuries of colonization and then imperialism have torn the Middle East and North Africa apart, diving tribes, religions, identities and territory in benefit of imperial nations such as England, France and later the US. But one can never say that the State and its people are accomplices with Daesh because the central idea of the jihadist group is precisely to wipe off the face of the Earth the very concept of State. Even though their own name, the Islamic State, induces one to think that they fight for having such a thing, in reality what they seek is to establish a worldwide caliphate.
When hooligans chant that the Belgian State is complicit with Daesh, they are basically killing any possibility of having a debate – no matter how fascist it could be. If they want to have an enemy – a nation, by definition, needs enemies to legitimatize its sovereignty – they should at least study the foe's agenda.
It might be foolish to dedicate time to reflect about a Belgian far-right movement that had to be dispersed by riot police at Place de la Bourse, last Sunday. Some would say that, as hooligans by nature, all they seek is confrontation and a stage to shine. However, this time they took to the stairways of the old public building in the city centre, before a crowd of peaceful citizens, to express an idea. If you share an idea, we shall scrutinize it. This time, they didn’t even do their homework. Fascists never learn…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fernando Burgés is originally from São Paulo, Brazil. He holds a BA in International Relations, a Postgrad Certificate in Nationalism Studies and a Master in Political Science. He is the editor of E&M's Brain and currently lives in Brussels.