Monday, July 10, 2006
On this day:

Oorlog voor oren ("war for ears")

As proof that music festivals really can have an impact on the 'real world', the announcement by dEUS frontman Tom Barman that he would be organising a day of concerts for tolerance and against racism in Belgium later this year (dubbed 0110 after the date they will take place, October 1st) has sparked a full-on campaign of intimidation by the leaders of the far-right Flemish nationalist party, Vlaams Belang.
Last Wednesday VB leader Filip Dewinter published an open letter to artists who have agreed to take part in 0110, saying that they are being manipulated and misused by Barman, who has openly stated in the past his desire to organize an anti-VB concert. He also pointed to the timing of the concerts, just one week before local elections in Belgium, as evidence of Barman's political intent.
When this letter failed to have the requisite effect (0110 concerts are set to go ahead in Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and possibly, Charleroi, and will feature many of the biggest names in Belgian pop - Axelle Red, Flip Kowlier, Clouseau, etc) the VB decided to fight dirtier: Francis Van Den Eynde, the leader of the the racist party's parliamentary faction, wrote an open letter to Helmut Lotti in which he revealed that the very popular singer, who is slated to appear at the Ghent concert, was a member of the VRJ (youth wing of the former Vlaams Blok, the outlawed predecessor of Vlaams Belang) and son of a Vlaams Blok activist. Van Den Eynde also accused Lotti of betraying the one million Flemings who vote for Vlaams Belang.
One blogger suggests that for the next step in its intimidation campaign, Vlaams Belang could call for its followers to boycott the music of all the acts taking part in 0110. A little tolerance is a dangerous thing it seems.

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