When then-candidate Donald Trump noted in January 2016 that, thanks to mass immigration, Brussels was turning into a hell hole, Belgian and European politicians presented a united front at the (media) barricades: How dare he say such a thing? Brussels, capital of the European Union, the very quintessence of the post-modern world, the avant-garde of the coming new "global civilization," a hell hole? Of course assimilating newcomers is not always easy, and there may be friction from time to time. But never mind, they said: Trump is a buffoon, and anyway, he has zero chance of getting elected. Such were the thoughts of those avid readers of The New York Times International Edition and regular watchers of CNN International.
However, Donald Trump, in his unmistakable, brash style, was quite simply right: Brussels is rapidly descending into chaos and anarchy. Exactly two months after that dramatic Trumpism, Brussels was eviscerated by a horrific Islamic terror attack that left 32 people dead. And that was only the tip of the monstrous iceberg that has built up over three decades of mass immigration and socialist madness.
Last month alone in Brussels, there were three separate outbreaks of rioting and looting on a major scale.
First, there was the qualification of the Moroccan team to the soccer World Cup: between 300 and 500 "youths" of foreign origin took to the streets of Brussels to "celebrate" the event in their own way, looting dozens of shops in the historical center of Brussels, wreaking havoc in the deserted avenues of the "capital of civilization" and, during their riot, injuring 22 police officers.
Riot police, backed by a water cannon, attempt to push back rioters in the center of Brussels, Belgium, on November 12. Hundreds of "youths" of foreign origin "celebrated" the World Cup qualification of Morocco's soccer team by rioting and injuring 22 police officers. (Image source: Ruptly video screenshot)
Three days later, a social media rap music star nicknamed "Vargasss 92," who is a French citizen of foreign origin, decided to organize another unauthorized "celebration" in the center of Brussels, which quickly turned into another riot. Again, shops were destroyed and people assaulted for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Short clips of the event streamed onto the social networks, showing the world (and Belgians) the true face of Brussels without the politicians' makeover. No wonder the European political elite hate social media from the depths of their hearts; they prefer the sanitized (and, in both France and francophone Belgium, heavily subsidized) traditional press.
Finally, on November 25, the socialist authorities in charge of the City of Brussels had the bright idea of authorizing a demonstration against slavery in Libya, which quickly descended into yet another riot: shops were destroyed, cars set on fire, 71 people arrested.
This lawlessness, with not even the remotest political justification, is the new normal in Brussels. Politicians may not like that fact, which is the result of their lamentable failure, but it is nonetheless a massive and unavoidable fact. The new Brussels is characterized by riots and looting by people of foreign origin, as well as the ongoing heavily-armed military presence in the streets of Brussels, in place since March 22, 2016, the day that European Islamists murdered 32 and wounded 340 people in the worst-ever terrorist attack in Belgium.
One may wonder why these fine Belgian soldiers patrolling the streets do nothing to stop the rioters. For the simple reason that it is outside of their remit; should a soldier actually hurt a looter, he would probably be publicly chastised, pilloried by the media, put on trial and dishonorably discharged.
It would be funny if it were not so serious. After the first two recent riots, Belgian state television (RTBF) organized a debate with politicians and pundits from Brussels. Among the participants was Senator Alain Destexhe, from the center-right Reformist Movement (the party of Belgium's Prime Minister).
Destexhe is an interesting figure in Belgian politics. In French-speaking Belgium, he has been among the few to say publicly that the mass-immigration Belgians are inflicting upon themselves is unsustainable, that Islam may not be such a peaceful religion, and that school classes in which 90% of the children are of foreign origin, who do not speak French or Dutch at home, are not a recipe for success. Such may be taken as a given in much of the Western world, but in the French-speaking part of Belgium, heavily influenced by the French worldview, he was considered right-wing, if not an extremist, a racist, and other such niceties the Left often utters.
When, during this debate, Destexhe tried to make his point -- that there is a connection between the non-integration of many people of foreign origin in Brussels and the decades-long high level of immigration -- the moderator literally yelled at him that "Migration is not the subject, Monsieur Destexhe! MIGRATION IS NOT THE SUBJECT, STOP!", before giving the word to a "slam poet", a young woman who explained that the problem was that women wearing the Islamic veil (such as herself) do not feel welcome in Brussels. The audience was then instructed to applaud her. Also on the set was a Green Party politician who affirmed that "nobody knows the origin of the rioters." Hint: they were, in their own idiosyncratic way, "celebrating" Morocco's victory. A great moment of Belgian surrealism? No, just a typical political "debate" in French-speaking Belgium, except that normally Destexhe is not invited.
The picture would not be complete without mentioning that the very night that the first riot began, November 11, an association called MRAX (Mouvement contre le racisme, l'antisémitisme et la xénophobie) published on its Facebook page an appeal to report any case of "police provocation" or "police violence". The results of the riot? 22 police officers hurt, zero arrests. MRAX is not only a bunch of leftist Islamist sympathizers, they are heavily financed by taxpayers. Are movements from the right also financed by taxpayers? Simply put: No. In Brussels, the unemployment rate is a staggering 16.9%, a mind-boggling 90% of those on welfare have foreign origins, and although taxes are among the highest in the world, the public coffers are nonetheless bleeding. A sad snapshot of yet another socialist failure.
But there is hope. Brussels is not only Molenbeek and rioting, it has a robust tradition of entrepreneurship, and Belgium's federal government, particularly its Flemish component, is extremely conscious of the challenges that need facing. But nothing is going to change if people do not recognize that in many respects Brussels has, from the opulent conservative and "bourgeois" city that it was 25 years ago, morphed into a hell hole.
Ironically, what Brussels now obviously needs is another Donald Trump.
Drieu Godefridi, a classical-liberal Belgian author, is the founder of the l'Institut Hayek in Brussels. He has a PhD in Philosophy from the Sorbonne in Paris and also heads investments in European companies.