Saturday, September 15, 2007

Brussels' sprouting islamist problem (2)

Part 2 of my translation of European journalist Arthur Van Amerongen's prime time interview on Belgian television program "TV Brussel". Part 1 is here.

Host: Did you find the answer to your question?

Arthur Van Amerongen: No. (4:33)

Host: No. Euh, let’s imagine.. Let’s come back to the [possible attack at home]. I say to myself: “Okay, imagine that this attack happens.” First: who would commit it? And especially, second: Why? (4:51)

Arthur Van Amerongen: Moroccans. Look at all the attempts in Europe: Madrid, again in England… 80% are moroccans. (4:57)

Host: But what do they want to get out of this? What… (5:00)

Arthur Van Amerongen: Hate. It’s hatred of Belgium, of the Netherlands, of the West, of christian culture, you name it. (5:08) They hate us. The moroccans hate us. They are frustrated because they… even in the Netherlands, the cultured moroccans that I know… I… I infiltrated this milieu.. I do not know a moroccan that has gone with a Belgian into a belgian home. In the Netherlands, it’s said that among the Belgians one is never invited into the home, so there… The moroccans have never been among the Belgians. (5:33) The problems start there.

…. [At this point the journalist cedes his place to a pre-taped video report on a morrocan woman, Malika Abbad, who works for a flemish minister, who provides some counterpoint to Mr. Van Amerongen's position. She ends her rebuttal by saying… “Franchement, je trouve que ce sont des conneries”:
“Frankly, I find that this is all nonsense. (7:45) I would have prefered that, even coming to the same conclusions, he present things from the human side, saying, ‘we, as a society, we must nevertheless reflect seriously on the question of how to integrate, with dignity, these people into our society, and give them the sense that they are part of it…” (8:05)

[The interview resumes back in the studio]

Host: So, Mr Van Amerongen. “Nonsense”, says Madame Abbad.

Arthur Van Amerongen: Yes, I understand flemish. This is typically moroccan to always defend one’s own community. As if scoundrels and junkies didn’t exist. Brussels is harassed by moroccans and this woman says “no, this is only a few moroccans that are bothering all the people. Come with us..” I can accompany her into her family and I’d have a nice story… it is not a story. Moroccan hypocracy is terrible.

Host: For who, this is the type of woman who is completely disconnected from society… She’s the moroccan who…?

Arthur Van Amerongen: It’s typically moroccan, to not sweep out one’s doorstep [note: I think an english version of this expression would be “not to air one’s own dirty laundry”], and once more to defend oneself… Okay, 10% of moroccans are junkies, 10% are radicals. “No, come with me, you will see a gentle moroccan who owns a little store, and you’ll see how nice they are…” No, it’s not about that, about that 80%. It’s about this 20% who do f*** all here in Brussels.

Host: You are very harsh towards this community.

Arthur Van Amerongen: yes, I am very riled up. Absolutely. (9:07)

Host: In an interview you gave with Knack [magazine], you said that you had some disagreeable experiences with some moroccans…

Arthur Van Amerongen: I was robbed, yes. In a horrifying manner.

Host: You were the victim of robbery, you and your wife were insulted in the street… Is this all related?

Arthur Van Amerongen: Of course. I walk down Haute street, the “Hoogstraat” as you say. Okay, I’m walking there, with my girl friend, who was dressed in a manner a little sexy – which means, for moroccans, that she was wearing a t-shirt. And they were saying in arabic: “dirty whore! Dirty whore!” Kahda – a very ugly word. Ok, I go on my way, I turn around and say :”your sister!” Not even “Your mother!”, which would be even more serious. I received a blow to the back, and I got worked over. I went to the police… but bla bla bla. These people, if they want to live within an orthodox system, let them go do it elsewhere, but not in Brussels. (9:57)

Host: Last question. You have also said to our colleagues at Knack: “The more I gathered information on this community, the less I began to understand the moroccans”, to the point where you used the term “helplessness” [note: or maybe “impotence”… not sure from the context]. I ask myself, therefore: if this is your sentiment, despite all your travels – you were a war correspondant - , your studies, this sentiment must be shared by the average Brussels citizen. Does this explain in part why living together is so hard for the two communities, or why they do not recognize each other?

Arthur Van Amerongen: There is no life in common. The moroccans must adapt or leave. They adapt to our culture, our liberties, and that’s it. If they do not want to adapt, if they want their own… if at Molenbeek they do not want any billboards from H&M with women in bikinis, all they have to do is get the hell out, they have only to leave Brussels and return to Morocco.

Host: In other words, to wrap up, a multicultural society…

Arthur Van Amerongen: Doesn’t exist.

Host: … doesn’t exist.

Arthur Van Amerongen: No, sorry. It’s too bad for Vlaams Belang, but it doesn’t exist.

[ht to both bafweb and Insoumission for the story]


truepeers said...

Good work, Charles; i'm glad to see the translations again.

But here's another dumb question: why is it bad for Vlaams Belang?

Anonymous said...

After reading your translation, I certainly feel like being lazy and writing my comments in French from now on !
I second truepeers' question : why is it bad for Vlaams Belang ?

Charles Henry said...

I admit I don't know what AVA is implying when he says that the lack of a multicultural society is bad for the political party that, as far as I understand them, do not want Belgium to become "multicultural".

I went back and double-checked the translation again, but that is indeed what he said, and on the video he speaks with a sincere tone when he says it, and not a sarcastic one.

Maybe there is a nuance in the original that is not surviving now that it is two-times removed (dutch to french to english)...

Dag said...

My guess is that Brussels sprouts are un-Islamic. Problems, very much Islamic.

Anonymous said...

I guess he says that it's bad for Vlaams Belang because they're are fighting something that doesn't exist at all. It's a bit weird remark though.

The translation is very accurate. Two minor details:
"It’s typically moroccan, to not sweep out one’s doorstep [note: I think an english version of this expression would be “not to air one’s own dirty laundry”], "

Actually he says something like "to look for the error on they're own side", i.e. "moroccans always blame someone else for everything".

“The more I gathered information on this community, the less I began to understand the moroccans”, to the point where you used the term “helplessness”

I haven't read the original article, but the word used (machteloos) probably means that no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't understand them.

pistache said...

Thanks for having translated the video into English! I linked to it. I'm quite relieved that "anonymous" here think the translation is OK, because mr Amerongen was sometimes hard to understand for us... ;-)

By the way, if I have time, maybe I could re-do the subtitles in English (I already have the timing, all I need is to copy-paste your text and re-compile the video). What do you think??

Charles Henry said...

Anonymous, thank you for the corrections..! It's appreciated.

Pistache, c'est a moi de vous remercier pour tout votre travail en avance de la mienne.

Please feel free to use my translation for your english subtitled version. I didn't translate the whole thing when I made my post, would you need me to go back and fill in the small holes, so that the translation becomes as complete as yours was?

In fact, what would you say to some future, more planned, collaborations? I've been wanting to add english sub-titles to french videos for months, but could never find a way to do so. Maybe we can work together to find a way to spread critical information (such as with this interview) in order to get around the language barrier that seems to separate people who should be more allied with each other.

(and thank you for the link..!)

Anonymous said...

Thank's for the translation, I found this in flemish and my french is not that good either.
But Sorry!
The man is mad, isn't that quite clear? Of course there are things to fear in the muslim community. But how did he infiltrate, why did they accept him (or did they?), I want facts, examples, some evidence that he knows what he is talking about.

Charles Henry said...

well, anon, presumably such details are in the book he's written.
Somehow I don't think he would risk exposing himself to easy ridicule if he couldn't back up what he was writing about. (he's not a New Republic writer, after all...)

Actually if you research his biography a little you'd see from his past credentials why he might be accepted into that community. (he used to be very sympathetic to them)