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Goodbye Belgium?
 
# 46 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 13:12
 
 
Someone said :
Le pen is a total hypocrite...typical of the far right. He talks about "France only for the French" but yet he is willing to interfere in the affairs of another country.
[...]

In fairness to his twisted logic, it is based on the idea that they are a part of the "French Nation", just like Sinn Féin considers Northern Ireland part of the Irish Nation (as per the Irish Constitution)

It is not like he wants Algeria back, or Gerry Adams wants Wales to split from the UK...

They may be wrong, but in their logic this is not hypocrite.
What was closer to being hypocrite was his collaboration in 1989 with the Belgian Vlaams Blok in the EU parliament... but again he would claim to have supported nationalist parties across Europe, and the VB was in favor of splitting Belgium.

We cannot claim that a nationalist party is not entitled to maintain international relationships with other nationalist parties.
If they were defining themselves as exclusively xenophobic, it would be a case we could argue ... but they only hate foreigners "at home". Once the foreigners are "back home" they can become nationalist allies.
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# 47 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 20:02
 
 
Someone said :

In fairness to his twisted logic, it is based on the idea that they are a part of the "French Nation", just like Sinn Féin considers Northern Ireland part of the Irish Nation (as per the Irish Constitution)

It is not like he wants Algeria back, or Gerry Adams wants Wales to split from the UK...

They may be wrong, but in their logic this is not hypocrite.
What was closer to being hypocrite was his collaboration in 1989 with the Belgian Vlaams Blok in the EU parliament... but again he would claim to have supported nationalist parties across Europe, and the VB was in favor of splitting Belgium.

We cannot claim that a nationalist party is not entitled to maintain international relationships with other nationalist parties.
If they were defining themselves as exclusively xenophobic, it would be a case we could argue ... but they only hate foreigners "at home". Once the foreigners are "back home" they can become nationalist allies.

I completely agree. There is nothing hypocritical in what Le Pen is saying (and it's a she now, by the way). It might be in bad taste etc, but the French Front National are simply airing their views. Why would anyone be surprised at an ultra-nationalist party looking for more Lebensraum ! The Walloons are French-speakers after all and Belgium is something of a contrived state, rightly or wrongly. Wallonia probably couldn't survive on its own, if Belgium were to separate.
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# 48 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 20:06
 
 
Someone said :

My sister lived in Belgium for 12 years and she has told me that whatever about the unlikely event of the Walloons joining France, there is no way in her opinion Flanders would merge with Holland as apparently the Dutch and the Flemish don't really like each other.

And what of Brussels? Even though it's officially billingual, it is very much (from my experience of being over there many times) a Francophone city.

Yes, my Flemish friends also say this. Anyway, Flanders could easily survive on its own and wouldn't need to join up with the Netherlands. As for Brussels, on the occasion of Belgium splitting up, I can see it becoming the 'Washington DC' of the EU, that's to say, not officially part of any state and overseen by the European federal government. That's provided the EU survives the financial crisis!
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# 49 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 20:07
 
 
Someone said :

I completely agree. There is nothing hypocritical in what Le Pen is saying (and it's a she now, by the way). It might be in bad taste etc, but the French Front National are entitled to their views. The Walloons are French-speakers after all and Belgium is something of a contrived state, rightly or wrongly.

He is still alive and is the one who said it... I think.
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# 50 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 20:08
 
 
Someone said :

He is still alive and is the one who said it... I think.

His daughter said it as she leads the party now.
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# 51 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 20:50
 
 
Someone said :
I have two unrelated thoughts.

One, this demonstrates the silliness of the idea of the nation-state (i.e., that en ethnicity and a state should be co-extensive).

Two, why not just break it up and have the Flemish join the Netherlands, the Walloons join France, the the three Germans join Germany? Who would miss Belgium, anyway?

Notice I said my two thoughts were unrelated.

Yes, what I meant by the first one is the idea of the nation-state is modern construct with the ideal that each "nation" should have its own, independent state. Thus was born modern nationalism; it formed Germany, France, and Italy, creating "nations" based on a single, homogenized language. The resulting balkanization of areas into fighting nations each wanting independence is a related result. Historically, of course, states were based more on leaders' conquests and natural borders than an idea of a coterminousity between nation and state.
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# 52 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 21:15
 
 
Someone said :

Notice I said my two thoughts were unrelated.

Yes, what I meant by the first one is the idea of the nation-state is modern construct with the ideal that each "nation" should have its own, independent state. Thus was born modern nationalism; it formed Germany, France, and Italy, creating "nations" based on a single, homogenized language. The resulting balkanization of areas into fighting nations each wanting independence is a related result. Historically, of course, states were based more on leaders' conquests and natural borders than an idea of a coterminousity between nation and state.

coter what???
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# 53 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 21:31
 
 
Someone said :

coter what???

Border sharing...

Someone said :

Notice I said my two thoughts were unrelated.

Fairplay, I missed it.
Still I think you may be confused on the concept of nation-state as France, Germany and Italy are the opposite of nation-states: they are state-nations, where the nation was unified by the state, not the opposite.
But it does not really matter at this stage... I see your point now.
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# 54 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 21:32
 
 
according to the internet it's spelled coterminosity but it's not an actual word anyway
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# 55 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 22:12
 
 
Someone said :
Still I think you may be confused on the concept of nation-state as France, Germany and Italy are the opposite of nation-states: they are state-nations, where the nation was unified by the state, not the opposite.

But would that really be true in the case of France? Yes certainly in the case of Germany and Italy, both of which were only forged into united countries in the late 19th century but I always perceived France to be a very monolithic entity as a country, where the nation and the state essentially overlap, with the minor exceptions regions at its very edge - perhaps Alsace, Nord, Brittany and the French part of the Basque country.

I also don't think the Walloons see themselves as French.
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# 56 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 22:22
 
 
Bruxelles or Brussel is 20% Flemish speaking. Concentrated in certain communes. So while Brussels is 80% French one should not ignore the 20%.

One of the Flemish proposals has been for the zones around Brussels which are Flemish to be annexed by Brussels which in turn would make Brussels a majority Flemish speaking city....

I have spent a lot of time in Belgium. I have a strong nostalgic affinity for the place. I would be sad and sorry if Belgium broke up. But I don't think the status quo is sustainable...I believe Flanders would become a successful state - I doubt if it would become part of The Netherlands. But Wallonia on the other hand, its future is as a province of France.

The problem is Brussels...officially its the capital of Flanders, as well as Belgium in addition to being a separate zone. So even though its surrounded by Flemish speaking zones the fact that it is 80% French means the Flemish will have to give it up.

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# 57 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 22:32
 
 
Someone said :

But would that really be true in the case of France? Yes certainly in the case of Germany and Italy, both of which were only forged into united countries in the late 19th century but I always perceived France to be a very monolithic entity as a country, where the nation and the state essentially overlap, with the minor exceptions regions at its very edge - perhaps Alsace, Nord, Brittany and the French part of the Basque country.

I also don't think the Walloons see themselves as French.

People in many parts of France were slaughtered to ensure those left would speak French.
The built up of a "French Nation" has been bloody and has ensured minorities cannot have their say.

Brittons are some of the few left with a language of their own, but each region has one, more or less dead. (The North where I come from has the Ch'ti, which recently led to a very successful film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bienvenue_chez_les_Ch'tis)

You always perceived France to be a very monolithic entity as a country because that was what was intended.
Ask Brittany, Corsica, and other independentists in Nice, Sarthe, Savoie, catalans and basques in the Pyrhénées, and in occitan-speaking areas.
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# 58 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 22:42
 
 
Someone said :

People in many parts of France were slaughtered to ensure those left would speak French.
The built up of a "French Nation" has been bloody and has ensured minorities cannot have their say.

Brittons are some of the few left with a language of their own, but each region has one, more or less dead. (The North where I come from has the Ch'ti, which recently led to a very successful film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bienvenue_chez_les_Ch'tis)

You always perceived France to be a very monolithic entity as a country because that was what was intended.
Ask Brittany, Corsica, and other independentists in Nice, Sarthe, Savoie, catalans and basques in the Pyrhénées, and in occitan-speaking areas.

Well said Proinsias. So the Picard language is from your homeplace.
By the way, it's not Brittons, but Bretons that you mean...
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# 59 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 22:49
 
 
Indeed.
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# 60 : Thursday 15-9-2011 @ 23:08
 
 
@ Blah - that's very interesting. Of course I know that the France government does not recognise any other language as official within its territory except le francais which, in my view, is extremely oppressive and regressive.

But I did not know that each region of France had its own language. Were these not just dialects of French itself? I was told by French in-laws of my cousin that the most correct and pure French is spoken in and around Tours. I know Alsace has German speakers and Brittany has Breton speakers etc but what is the Ch'ti language you speak of? Was it related to French or something different altogether?
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