Do these scenes shock you? You do not like them? Good! Yet, there was a time, not so long ago, when they seemed normal. We would like to believe that racism, hatred of the other, and the North’s patronizing attitude towards the South are things of the past, but they are not. The far-right still flourishes today, nationalist parties are gaining ground across the globe, religious fanatism is becoming the norm, as evidenced by the appearance of the Civitas posters on the campuses (“against the democratic dictature”). These ideologies become “normal” once again. It is no longer surprising to see members of the Lepen family in the second round of the French presidential elections, millions of Americans vote for Trump, Hungary and Poland slip in autocracy, Flanders wonder if one can govern with the far right… We end up not daring to talk about religions out of fear. Are those facts more or less shocking than these old pictures?
We would like to believe it is preferable to remain blind to these despotic abuses and to turn them into mere anecdotes, but this would amount to making this type of destructive and libellous acts trite.
In the Service Volontaire International, a youth organisation, we consider it is essential to look critically at both our present and our past, because, as Churchill affirmed, “a nation which has forgotten its past can have no future”. We do not forget.
Racism, fascism, obscurantism must not become trivial!
- From the Founding of the Ku Klux Klan to the Present Day: What Has Changed?
In the wake of the American Civil War, a group of six veterans created the notorious Ku Klux Klan. Some fifty years later, the Klan gathered 3 million members ready to put on their longue white robes and their ghostly hoods. Xenophobia and violent acts perpetrated against the black community had become ordinary.
- Belgium and its Colonies: What are the Consequences Today?
1885, the great occidental powers decided to share control of the African continent.
Leopold II managed to get the Congo. An unprecedented massacre ensues, with a death toll estimated at a total of 10 million people. Obviously, the colons sought riches, but they also wished to bring civilisation and Christianism to a people they judged primitive and impious. In their eyes, such pretext justified the worst abuses.
- Missionaries to Civilize Africa
Does “the evolved” sound familiar to you? It simply is the alternative name given to the Congolese who adopted the Belgian lifestyle during the colonisation era. This designation highlights the power relation that existed between these two nations when Europe was trying to help and “civilise” the African populations. To this day, this relationship lives on in our customs and our collective unconscious, as evidenced by the existence of agencies sending “good Samaritans” in Africa on humanitarian missions, without any relevant qualification or expertise.
- Nazism 2.0
The Nazi ideology caused the death of 6 million people in the middle of the XXth century. Consequently, it could be expected to have completely disappeared today. Yet, nothing could be less sure. Far-right movements are getting increasingly popular in many countries and, although they have quite toned down their discourses, their attitude leaves no doubt regarding their true intentions. Denying the existence of neo-Nazism is to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of World War II.
- The Islamic State’s History
The Islamic State is an extremist religious movement which grew in Syria and in Iraq and which has made a lot of noise in the recent years. Indeed, its followers made life very miserable for the civilians who were in the areas under the Islamic State’s occupation: the women who refused to wear the niqab were flogged, homosexuals were thrown off roofs, its opponents were decapitated… Nowadays, the territories it controlled have been reclaimed but the memory of such horrors will haunt us for a long time.
- Hitler Youth
Founded in 1922, the Hitler Youth grew in popularity until it gathered 2.25 million members in 1933, the year Nazism came to power. The young people had the opportunity to participate in activities that allowed them to forget their problems, the uniform gave a certain sense of equality and Hitler promoted youth by giving it an important role to play in the future of the nation. The young people went through some brainwashing, in the name of the motherland, in the name of Germany. Soon, they were recruited on the home front, they took part in desperate battles from the age of 10, they removed corpses after bombings and witnessed horrific scenes… The problem was clearly defined, it was the Jews, and the solution was their extermination. Let us come back on a dark period of our history.
- Hunting Tourism
The principle of game tourism is to allow hunters (generally Occidentals) to go to Africa to shoot an “exotic” animal and to bring its carcass back home, usually for a large sum of money. Some claim that this practice is beneficial for both the ecosystem and the local economies, but numerous studies have shown that it foestered poaching and that local communities received very little money.