Molenbeek broke my heart
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Aptrgangr
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Molenbeek broke my heart
Molenbeek broke my heart

A former resident reflects on his struggles with Brussels’ most notorious neighborhood.

By TEUN VOETEN 11/21/15, 6:30 AM CET

Last Saturday in Paris, at the Boulevard Voltaire near the Bataclan club, I found myself staring at a pool of blood. I wondered what was happening with the world, and refocused my camera on the aftermath of the terror. When it became clear the attacks were planned in Molenbeek, I was not surprised. The real surprise? That Belgium expressed shock at the connection.

I called Molenbeek my home for nine years. In 2005, it was the city’s last affordable neighborhood — in large part because of its bad reputation. My apartment, just across the canal from the city center, is close to the home where two suspects in the Paris attacks were based, and around the corner from where the shooter from the foiled Thalys attack in August had been staying.

I was part of a new wave of young urban professionals, mostly white and college-educated — what the Belgians called bobo, (“bourgeois bohémiens”) — who settled in the area out of pragmatism. We had good intentions. Our contractor’s name was Hassan. He was Moroccan, and we thought that was very cool. We imagined that our kids would one day play happily with his on the street. We hoped for less garbage on the streets, less petty crime. We were confident our block would slowly improve, and that our lofts would increase in value. (We even dared to hope for a hip art gallery or a trendy bar.) We felt like pioneers of the Far West, like we were living in the trenches of the fight for a multicultural society. (...)

http://www.politico.eu/article/molenbeek...ification/

"The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage."
Thucydides

“My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” Carl Schurz

"Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms."
Aristotle

"Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." Thucydides
2015 Nov 22 21:17
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