Tired of reading Le Soir

February 6, 2008 Comments Off on Tired of reading Le Soir

I know in some of the posts on Brusselblogt we’re nagging about the lack of services and the lack of linguistic courtesy. It has even opened some eyes of open-minded French speakers. Ever since I arrived in Brussels, I’ve been trying to keep up with different newspapers to understand many people’s perspectives and how they are influenced (I’m a big believer that people are seriously manipulated by newspapers and for that matter other sources they read).
Le Soir has a bad reputation on foul mouthing the northern part of the country and turning a blind eye on Brussels’ and Wallonia’s shortcomings. No matter how hard they have tried taking initiatives in bonding with the Flemish newspapers, it’s all been a façade. Today I came across this article on anti-Semitism in Bruges.
The article isn’t clarifying anything on the language issue the American has and leaves it up to the reader’s imagination that a declaration has been refused to the victim.

Une fois au poste de police, l’homme a voulu faire sa déposition en anglais, mais il n’y a pas été autorisé. « Le jeune policier lui a clairement fait comprendre qu’il ne croyait pas en son histoire », écrit Joods Actueel. Un autre policier a précisé qu’il devait faire sa déposition en néerlandais. Finalement, aucune plainte n’a été déposée, l’homme ayant seulement été auditionné.

Well of course you cannot file a complaint in the language of your choice unless an officially appointed translator is present. And the final complaint will always be in the language of the region you’re in. Let’s turn this around. Let’s say you get robbed at the Carnival in Binche. If you want to file a complaint, it will be in French. There’s nothing wrong with that fact. If I file a complaint in New York for whatever offence against me, it will have to be in English, and if I want to insist on Dutch I’ll have to wait for an officially appointed translator. So why all of a sudden finishing the article with a full paragraph on the language issue as if that was the disgrace? The reactions to the article in Le Soir are as usual inspired details… it’s an article on disgraceful discrimination. I’m sure an awful lot happened at the police station, and I can imagine the victim being extremely upset by what happened, but I fail to believe that two police officers would have been stupid enough to refuse the man an official translator.


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