What the media are missing about Brussels

With the endless stories on Brussels, the elite media is trying to fathom "what went wrong" with Belgium's security apparatus.  But when the enemy is inside the perimeter, you've already lost.

Take "In Divided Belgium, Some Find That Trauma Unites Them," aired on NPR on Monday, 28 March:

Turn on the radio in Belgium and you get news of the terrorist attacks in French and in Dutch. Belgium is divided into Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. There's a German-speaking area, too.

That sounds like a multicultural dream come true – lots of "diversity."  What could be wrong with that?  But immediately the picture grows darker:

To make things more complicated, Brussels, the capital, is subdivided into 19 municipalities, each with its own government. And there are six local police forces. It all adds up to a decentralized system, a dismantled federal state.

NPR has thus deftly laid bare the root cause of the Brussels bombing: a "decentralized" state, with rivalry and lack of cooperation among local and national governments and police forces. The fragile beauty of diversity must be nurtured from the center by enlightened bureaucrats with the iron rod of state power in their fisted gloves.  There's no telling what those crazies will do with self-government.

The left has the same prescription everywhere: terrorist attack in Belgium?  More control from Brussels.  Immigrant crisis in the European Union?  More control from Brussels.  Rising health care costs in the U.S.?  More control from Washington.  And every failure is proof that we need more of the same.

Google "molenbeek alienated" (Molenbeek is the neighborhood where the bombers grew up and lived openly for four months after the Paris attack).  You will get over 55,000 hits, such as CNBC describing "jobless Muslims alienated by European society" or the Telegraph telling us that "in Molenbeek, entire parts of the society are alienated from the state."

You see, Muslims were not at fault.  The residents of Molenbeek are victims of "European society" or "the state."  These "victims" have no responsibility to become part of their new country.  No, their hosts have not done enough to be "inclusive," to "reach out," to make the newcomers feel welcome (beyond showering them with welfare benefits).

There is something else that stands out in the opening of the NPR report: Belgians speak French, Dutch, or German.  That's it.  And they're politically divided.  Something nags at the back of my mind – oh, yes, isn't there another language or two spoken in the capital of the European Union?  What is the predominant language in Molenbeek? Dutch or French?  Could there be just a soupçon of, say, Arabic or Berber spoken there?  No hint of that from NPR.  For that matter, neither "Muslim" nor "Islam" appears even once in the NPR piece.  Maybe the bombing was just another in the longstanding rivalry between Flemings and Walloons.

And what about the assertion in the title, that "Some Find That Trauma Unites Them"?  The only evidence of that comes at the end, where a Francophone father has taken his 7-year-old daughter to the memorial: "I told you that in our country, there are a lot of cultures.  It's multi-cultural.  And in our country, that's what makes us rich."  Well, yes, dead or maimed, maybe, but multiculturally rich.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.