Several French-speaking politicians have decided to stand up against racism.
If you’ve followed Belgian news last week, you have surely heard about Cécile Djunga. The RTBF weather-caster has indeed for months now been subject to offenses related to her origins and skin color.
Since then she has decided to post a video on her Facebook profile, concretely explaining the offenses she has had to face and to share her views and feelings on that. The video has been very successful on social media, generating a wider debate on racism and xenophobia in Belgium.
The issue is surely something the political leaders have to deal with, as politics and policies are (supposed to be) key stakeholders when it comes to education and public awareness. This is why more than 20 of them gathered at the Press Club last Friday, to say “NO” to racism and racist offenses in Belgium. They are all French-speaking Belgian politicians with ethnic origins and they belong to the main French-speaking political parties (MR, PS, Écolo, CDH, Défi).
The movement is being led by Gisèle Mandalia (Défi), the only person of color to be part of the government from 2004 to 2007. The point is quite clear: they want “zero tolerance” with regard to sexism, racism, antisemitism, and homophobia. A decree on racism which was adopted in 1981, and is still in force today, they call for stricter implementation.
Although racism has always been an issue in Western societies, people don’t fear sharing their racist views on Twitter or Facebook nowadays. Politicians across Europe are also part of the issue, as the anti-migrant policies have definitely been linked to racism.
This new movement is now keen to welcome Belgian politicians with no ethnic origins on board.