Answering the Vlaams Belang Apologists
Øyvind Strømmen continues demolishing the deceptive pro-Vlaams Belang arguments of Gates of Vienna and the Center for Vigilant Freedom: The “refutations” - one by one: 3. The solidarists.
One of the points Strømmen makes in this post is that my identification of this photograph as being from a Vlaams Belang rally is incorrect:
It turns out that the photo was taken at a traditional Belgian flower festival, which the white power goons shown above were attempting to hijack. In my attribution for the photo, I was using a source that claimed the photo was taken at a VB rally, so the error was not actually mine—but nonetheless, I do retract that claim, since it’s clearly mistaken.
However, the Center for Vigilant Freedom/Gates of Vienna claims about the photo are not just mistaken, they’re dishonest.
Here’s a post at an anti-VB web site that sheds even more light on this rally, and the association of Vlaams Belang officials with the fascist VJW party.
Zij aan zij
In april 2006 beloofde Filip Dewinter opnieuw dat zijn partij de banden met extremisten als de VJW definitief zou doorknippen. Dat is niet gebeurd. Integendeel: op het feest na de bloemenhulde op 10 juli 2006 stond partijvoorzitter Frank Vanhecke op de Burg in Brugge zij aan zij met de kaalgeschoren stoottroepen van VJW van de muziek te genieten. Ook VB-personeelsdirecteur en senator Yves Buysse en regionaal voorzitter Luc Masyn waren van de partij.
Translation (courtesy of “Former Belgian”):
In April 2006, Filip Dewinter once again promised that his party would definitively cut ties with extremists like the VJW. This did not happen. On the contrary: at the feast after the “homage in flowers” of July 10, 2006, at “the Burg” in Bruges, [VB] party chairman Frank Vanhecke stood enjoying the music, side to side with the bald-shaven shock troops of the VJW. Also present were VB-head of human resources Yves Buysse and regional [VB] chairman Luc Masyn.
The Center for Vigilant Freedom offered this “suggested correction:”
CVF suggested correction: “When I referred to event with the photograph of the flag as a ‘Vlaams Belang rally’, I was mistaken. The event in question was in fact a VJW (Youth of West Flanders) rally in Brugge. VJW is an entirely separate organization and has nothing whatsoever to do with Vlaams Belang.”
If the VJW party had “nothing whatsoever to do with Vlaams Belang,” why did Filip DeWinter promise to cut ties with them … and then apparently fail to do so? And this is far from the only connection between Vlaams Belang and the VJW; read Strømmen’s post for lots more.
The smear campaigns, slurs, and deceptions used by the Gates of Vienna and Center for Vigilant Freedom make more sense if you realize that their irrational behavior stems from a severe cognitive dissonance. They’re trying to maintain two mutually incompatible opinions at once: 1) there’s no truth at all to the claims that VB has fascist origins and ideologies, and 2) Europeans have no choice but to ally themselves with fascists like the VB.