Friday, December 07, 2007

Pierre Mertens on Belgium's disenchantment

The Belgian novelist Pierre Mertens investigates the roots of the crisis that Belgium is going through, deprived of a government for six months. "Belgium doesn't love itself anymore. It has never loved itself enough. A certain masochism has always gnawed it from the inside.
The country's tendency for self-mockery, while reflecting its sense of humour and a lack of arrogance, also feeds its suicidal tendency. Now it is literally disenchanted. It is still as unique and inventive as ever, but less fraternal.

This is a pity. Its mixed blood, its bastardization even, makes it a metaphor for the whole of Europe, a metonymy, a microcosmic part of a whole. It is a laboratory that people from all over come to visit in order to decipher the secret of an improbable, paradoxical model, an irreplaceable legacy. ... What would be the point in the country setting fire to itself ? A country in its likeness would only have to be invented right away." READ LEMONDE

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