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Nobbe, Bea

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NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | 28/04/2010

Bea Nobbe on the Flemish inferiority complex

New elections in Belgium could come as early as June following the collapse of the government over the language dispute between the country's Flemish and Walloon populations. The conflict demonstrates the Flemish inferiority complex, writes Flemish language teacher Bea Nobbe in the daily NRC Handelsblad: "During centuries of oppression at the hands of foreign princes and the Catholic Church the Flemish have become hypersensitive to injustice and are quick to take offence when their identity is questioned. ... Some Flemish, including politicians, tend to react in an over-sensitive way. For them the patent injustice in the conflict over [the bilingual electoral arrondissement] Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde is unbearable. ... They are extremely touchy about their language. ... History shows that the Flemish people react almost stereotypically to injustice. They feel offended and indignant and adopt the position of the social underdog. ... Flemish politicians should try another style of governing and say to their Walloon colleagues: 'Allez, things will work out.' Then they would truly rise to the occasion."

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