“Terms are important because they are framing our way of thinking and framing our perception of the world.” said Ixelles Councillor Bertrand Wert one month ago to Brussels Express. Wert believes the term “expat” is no longer relevant particularly in the context of European integration. “Expatriation means outside your patrie or nation. Being European citizens, Europe is our patrie.” he concluded.
Frictions between locals, expats (in the perspective of an EU bureaucrat), foreigners and migrants are undoubtedly present in Brussels society.
In this framework, a group named C.R.A.P – Cultural Resistance Artivist Platform – launched this month a campaign aimed to condemn “institutional racism and the growing trend of segregation in Belgium”. Signs where at installed at Schuman, De Brouckère and Bourse metro stations. Expats are guided towards an up escalator, while migrants take the one running in the wrong direction. In a tweet, C.R.A.P. asks “the difference between expats and migrants… semantics?”
— C.R.A.P. (@CRAP_BXL) January 25, 2018
A strong symbolism for two communities of “foreigners” with opposite trajectories.