Flemish Interest protest against 'blasphemy'
4 November 2005, BRUSSELS — Opposition to the poster advertising the play 'Our Sweet Lady of Flanders' is gathering strength, attracting now the wrath of the extreme right Flemish Interest.
4 November 2005
BRUSSELS — Opposition to the poster advertising the play 'Our Sweet Lady of Flanders' is gathering strength, attracting now the wrath of the extreme right Flemish Interest.
The poster at the centre of a storm of protest and talk
The poster advertising the show depicts a veiled Madonna with child in arms and a naked breast.
"By ridiculing the veneration of the Blessed Virgin in Flanders, the deepest emotions of both Flemish families and Catholics are being hit," Flemish Interest MP Francis van den Eynde said.
The first showing of the play in Brussels sparked a protest by the group Belgium and Christendom — and in its shadow the Francophone extreme-right movement Nation on 30 October. The groups claim the poster of Our Sweet Lady is blasphemous.
Some 100 protestors gathered at the initiative of Belgium and Christendom, a group that works to gain respect for the Jewish-Christian movement. Flags of the right-wing Nation groups were also seen among the protest.
The call to protest outside the Royal Flemish Theatre in Brussels was issued by Paul Belien — husband of the Flemish Interest's Alexandra Colen, who is well known for her conservative views.
The Flemish Interest has now taken up the protest officially, with Van den Eynde writing a letter to all playhouses and cultural centres who have scheduled the play "to strongly protest" against these sorts "insults".
"I don't ask for this to be banned, but I have been spoken to by so many of my voters that I had to respond. Politicians must dare to complain about something like this," Van den Eynde.
"The mother-like figure that Flemish people see in Our Sweet Lady deserves much better. This group of people has already in the past tried to insult Flemish nationalists with the play 'The Lion of Flanders' and now go a step further. You can't do that."
However, Christian Democrat CD&V party chair Jo Vandeurzen pointed out there are differences in taste and that politics should not interfere with the cultural sector.
"The Flemish Interest can evidently not refrain from doing so. That tends towards censorship," Vandeurzen said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news