May 19, 2014

How Belgians Agree to Differ

Khaled Diab, New York Times

The Associated Press

As a naturalized citizen who has been a Belgian for nearly a decade, I find this slow disintegration a shame — partly because I appreciate the eccentric appeal of this country, which has an understated cool despite a reputation for being dull. Also, for people like me, of immigrant backgrounds, it is often easier to identify as Belgian because it does not carry the same ethnic baggage that Flemish or Walloon does. In fact, with some two-thirds of the population of Brussels being of foreign origin, the ethnic complexion of the capital has shifted substantially — as is exemplified on the soccer pitch. Take, for example, the Congolese-Belgian footballer Vincent Kompany. As at home speaking Dutch or French, he captains the national squad and acts as a unifying figure.

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TAGGED: Flemish, Flemings, Walloons, Flanders, Wallonia, Europe, Belgium


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