Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Brussels: We love you.

with 26 comments



Bruxelles pleure en dessins.

Like many people I love Brussels.

The city and the people have a gentle warmth that remains within you for a long time.

Not all of the vast conurbation, but enough of it to make today’s attacks leave deep wounds, and rouse profound feelings of solidarity to those affected.

It is with some distress that we saw this:


The Huffington Post reports:


Ukip defence spokesman Mike Hookem went further, saying that the attack were a “result of Schengen free movement and lax border controls”, adding: “I am appalled at the loss of life and injuries. our thoughts and prayer go out to the families of those killed and injured.

“This horrific act of terrorism shows that Schengen free movement and lax border control are a threat to our security.

“The head of [Europol] said in February that 5,000 jihadists are at large in EU having slipped in from Syria.

“There are 94 returned jihadists current living in Molenbeek, Brussels. This fact alone should alert people to the fact that open borders are putting the lives of European citizens at risk.”

Speaking on LBC, Ukip’s London mayoral candidate Peter Whittle also linked the attacks to the EU debate.

He said: “We have to take control of our borders, this has happened as a result of people going over borders and having free movement.

“At the moment the way things stand, Our membership of the EU means we actually have a problem with our security and that is appalling.”

Others, including Ukip spokesperson Michael Heaver, also joined in.


Brussels Attack: Ed Miliband Hits Out At Brexiters Using Terror Attacks For ‘Political Capital’.

After a Labour In event this morning, in which Miliband urged his parties voters to back Remain in the June 23 Referendum, the former party leader said: “All of us have been deeply shocked by what we’ve seen unfolding in Brussels today. This is a place where my dad was born I think it’s an awful, awful and terrible situation.

“On a day like this I really don’t think it’s a day for either side in this referendum to try and use this terrible tragedy to make political capital.

“I think that honestly will be the response of right-thinking people right across the country, whatever position they take.”

Let us not forget the reaction of the Islamists:

As the death toll rose amid continuing rescue operations, Isis supporters were championing the attacks on Twitter.

“What a beautiful day today,” one man wrote, calling the victims “Belgium supporters” who did not count as civilians.

“F***. Belgium Belgium wanted to bomb the Islamic state Now enjoy what your hands have sown.

“A lot of duas [prayers] were answered today.”

The supporter claimed to have received a message from an Isis militant to the group’s supporters in Belgium reading: “We have come to you with slaughter.”

In Arabic, the hashtag #Brusselsonfire was being used by those praising the slaughter in a similar wording to the #Parisonfire trend seen when the French capital was hit.



Written by Andrew Coates

March 22, 2016 at 5:50 pm

26 Responses

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  1. Hot on the heels of Allison Pearson and Nigel Farage, here comes another arsehole trying to cash in on the tragedy:http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/george-galloway-brussels-attacks-are-a-creation-of-the-west-a3209116.html

    Jim Denham

    March 22, 2016 at 5:59 pm

  2. He is beneath contempt.

    Andrew Coates

    March 22, 2016 at 6:01 pm

  3. Then there is this, from the bowels of political confusionism:

    Andrew Coates

    March 22, 2016 at 6:37 pm

  4. George Galloway is right. i don’t see what’s wrong with what he said:
    “Those who rule us built this monstrous extremism, and continue to sustain it, in Syria and elsewhere. And their policies feed its blood-lust.” – George Galloway

    Galloway for Mayor!
    grassroots out!


    March 23, 2016 at 12:54 am

  5. You gotta be white to count.

    I’m sorry for the deaths in Belgium and condemn those responsible for these atrocities.

    But elsewhere Somali militants claimed to have killed 73 storming a Somali army base on Monday; Nigeria says 4 election workers were killed and other kidnapped as well as others killed on Saturday and ISIS claim their suicide bomber killed 30 Iraqi troops in Anbar on Monday.

    Yet only western deaths count for anything in the Western media and those who take their lead from such, like this tawdry blog.

    So we have go through the naff cartoons (including a very reattachiste big brother France consoling little Belgium), look-at-me hashtags and open emoting.

    Me, I rather die in a ditch with others than prompt all the falseness that doing such in the West can cause.

    And what’s wrong with Pearson immediately using an event to argue her politics? If a Crossrail tunnel collapsed, the union should issue a statement about safety immediately.

    It’s the pompous, self-important types who think people should shut-up whilst they ‘craft’ their stating-the-bleeding-obvious tomes for the Guardian who are in the wrong.

    Politics is about how you see the world and taking opportunities to change it. Her points were complete bunkum but there’s nothing wrong in getting in first.

    And Brussels has to be the most boring European capital of the dozen or so I’ve visited.

  6. The above racist comments are duly noted.

    Andrew Coates

    March 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm

  7. ???????

    Andrew Coates

    March 23, 2016 at 1:19 pm

  8. Hmm – being called a “racist” (and without any argument why) by the guy posting Tintin images. Ever read the books?

    And let’s all reduce this to feel good inanities; whatever happened to solemnity?

  9. Andrew Coates

    March 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm

  10. “You gotta be white to count.

    I’m sorry for the deaths in Belgium and condemn those responsible for these atrocities.


    Southpaw hasn’t learnt from Charlie Hebdo or any other atrocity for that matter it appears.

    Furthermore, I have read about the atrocities mentioned, it must be the case that my ‘mainstream media’ on my PC is different to Southpaws.


    March 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm

  11. As it doesn’t say Herge on the front I presume this is either a tribute / knock-off or a post-mortem cash-in.

    I would expect the ignorant or the malicious to use a racist hero to enter, stage right, to save the white masses. It also says a lot about the cultural knowledge of many – frites and Tintin rather than Magritte or Merckx

    From a Guardian article on Tintin:

    Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, puiblished in 1930, dripped with western mistrust of the USSR at the time. Herge admitted his sole source was a book written by a former Belgian diplomat in the Soviet Union and later, feeling ashamed of his unfair portrayal, he asked for the album’s withdrawal.

    Tintin in the Congo was an equally ignorant attempt to glorify the name of Belgium, deliberately set in a region the colonial power was eager to hang on to. The Herge Foundation itself describes the book as “a naïve depiction of the colonial times and paternalistic views as they existed in Belgium in the early 1930s”.:

  12. On the racism accusation of focusing on western victims of terror – I partly sympathise – but only partly. I was just reeling from the mass murders in Lebanon before the mass murders in France overtook the media – and felt that the reporting balance was wrong. But then, I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Lebanon, listened to many of the stories of those still traumatised by the events of the civil war and struggling for a future free of violence, so perhaps have a greater degree of empathy. Most people I work with, for example, barely know where Lebanon is…depressing but true.

    The media tend to first and foremost try to appeal to their own constituency – and I’m pretty much sure that a large number of people in the UK have been on a school trip or a work trip to Belgium at some point…so there is a familiar frame of reference.

    There is a general problem, I feel, with people engaging in world problems in a limited way (but that is not restricted to the political right or the western media – e.g. Muslims tend to exclusively focus on perceived “Muslim” issues, Trotskyists on any wrongdoings involving the UK, US or Israel to the exclusion of everything else, Nigerians I work with mainly talk about West African politics…). I’ve tried to get many radical leftists to be interested in the problems of Nagorno Karabakh (an area I have an interest in) – but to no avail!!

    On Galloway…can’t help but laugh with contempt at the “Those who rule us built this monstrous extremism, and continue to sustain it, in Syria and elsewhere. And their policies feed its blood-lust” quote – given Galloway’s open support for the mass murderer Assad (whose violence is the primary reason given for fleeing by refugees arriving into the EU) and, more broadly, Galloway’s courting of Islamist grievance politics – which lies behind much Islamist terrorism.

    alex ross

    March 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

  13. Alex, I agree with you.

    It would be interesting to see a pre-war paper (back when most people had never been outside Britain). Was the reporting all Britain and Empire; did atrocities in other Empires get a look in or those beyond such e.g. Latin American wars; and how did foreign reporting vary between the Mirror and the Times in a way similar to now? Poor as the media might be now there is certainly a lot more of it although the 30s version will surely have been a lot less dripping in cloying, mannered emoting (although not always).

  14. As this Blog has covered related events from Bangladesh to the Maghreb to Sub-Saharan Africa – I would point out in the case of Belgian events, that this Blog has a special place for the francophone sphere (er, like its name).

    I have been in the country, and specifically to Brussels, (including the European Parliament) on numerous occasions. Brussels is nearer where I write from than the North of England. The francophone state radio, La Première. can be heard in Ipswich on the medium wave.

    This Algerian cartoonist makes the point that if we have to list every Islamist murder we would spend a long time doing it.

    Galloway incidentally s now openly adopting UKIP policies:

    Free movement between European states should have been abandoned after the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) attacks in Paris last November, former MP George Galloway said in the wake of Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels.

    The Respect Party’s candidate for mayor of London argued that suspending the right to free movement could have prevented attacks on European soil.


    Andrew Coates

    March 23, 2016 at 6:38 pm

  15. I don’t love Brussels. Why should I? I still hate mad Jihadists.


    March 23, 2016 at 11:32 pm

  16. The answer to Southpawpunch and all the many, many others whining about Belgium being reported and not somewhere else? Why do none of them – none – mention Ivory Coast, which just happened?

    Go check this, I have. Ivory Coast is never mentioned by these people. They should climb off their high horse and STFU.

  17. Look the same people didn’t give a toss about Bangladesh when the Bloggers were slaughtered, they didn’t give a toss about Darfur, they don’t give a fuck about the murders of Boko Haram, they don’t even know about what happened in the 1990s Algerian civil war, they couldn’t care less about the genocide against the national liberation movement in Bangladesh, they laugh at the Islamic State of Iran’s killings and repression.

    I could go on.

    Their views have no weight whatsoever.

    Andrew Coates

    March 24, 2016 at 12:47 pm

  18. Greenstein suspended from Labour Party as Socialist Fight calls for joint campaign against Zionist agents in Labour Movement:

    “The naming of Gerry Downing in the House of Commons by David Cameron on 9 March was followed by a panic response of expulsion without hearing or right of appeal. The Blairites, other right wingers in Labour and the Zionist establishment took their cure from Guido Fawkes and Cameron and launched their attacks immediately. Tony Greenstein was one of those who defended him, despite political differences, and we can only speculate they this was the action that prompted the pro-Zionist Friends of Israel to move against him now, their target for decades. We think they have overstepped the mark in attacking such an iconic character of the left.”


    Andrew Coates

    March 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm

  19. Actually, Canning, again – wake up. The list I gave all related to what had just happened then in the world – not the fortnight or so ago that the killings in the Ivory Coast took place.

    How Coates would know what I and others give a “toss about” I don’t know, and is it likely I’ll support the Iranian regime? But his list reveals something as does reading this blog. In the eyes of Coates the real enemy is (some) Muslims (although much smaller then, the Islamists supported Pakistan in the 71 war and the much bigger Islamists there today support the Bengali collaborators and war-criminals.)

  20. That they are *a* enemy needs to be repeated, or do you not agree that the Islamists are enemies?

    Andrew Coates

    March 25, 2016 at 1:48 pm

  21. Of course Islamists are an enemy (although my definition of them wouldn’t be anyone who just proselytises or wears a veil, as I think is the criteria for others) but they are only one enemy. The imperialists have killed far more in Iraq/Syria than IS ever will.

    But apart from the occasional Tory or Trot they appear to be your only enemy – US killer cops, Israeli settlers acting murderously or Hindu communalists in India don’t get anything like a proportional look-in and that’s not far from the news values of the mainstream UK media and ruling-class ideology.

  22. Alex Ross – I’m curious: what line do you think the left ought to take on Artsakh/Nagorny Karabakh/the 14% of Azerbaijan illegally occupied by Armenia (delete as appropriate and according to taste)?


    March 25, 2016 at 10:24 pm

  23. That is because there are few other Blogs covering the issue from the left.

    I post an enormous number of pieces on French and other Continental European political issues, including many on the European referendum, which you obviously do not take exception to.

    Andrew Coates

    March 26, 2016 at 1:33 pm

  24. “The imperialists have killed far more in Iraq/Syria than IS ever will.” In Syria, it hasn’t been the “imperialists,” whoever they are, but the Syrian government – Assad’s regime killed 95% of the civilians who have died in the civil war thus far (see recent news reports). All other possible killers – Al Nusra front, the Free Syrian Army, the Kurdish fighters, the US, and the Russians – have been responsible for far fewer civilian deaths.


    April 3, 2016 at 6:03 am

  25. I was considering a longer time than the present civil war, Rebecca – including the sanctions regime against Saddam Hussein.

    And the imperialists – now and then – are clear: Russia (supporting the largest killer, as you say, in the current conflict – the Syrian regime) as well as the USA, UK and others

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