A Belgian Eye – Episode 112

Our resident Belgian Philippe Persoons takes a look at life through A Belgian Eye.

What’s the meaning of significant and how much is significant? Philippe needs your help

Can someone help us out? We in Belgium we have a problem. We have a lot of problems; it would probably take some days if not some weeks to treat all issues. We have an airport that is not running in full force yet, oh, by the way, the re-opening of the check-in hall is announced for next month. We have a subway that is still not in full force, although it runs 6am to 10pm and all stations, except Maalbeek are open. So we finally got some good news coming from Belgium.

We even have air traffic controllers that are not on strike and most of them are no longer ill, except for some in Charleroi. Wasn’t it and old Belgian cliché to think Charleroi to be a rather unhealthy city?? Never believe clichés!

Meanwhile, there are no longer bricks falling down in our tunnels, at least not in the media, and there is also nothing to tell about the usual traffic jams in this country, it didn’t got worse, same for the Flemish-French quarrels and all other political stuff. All is normal, all is fine.

I might take you about our budget issues. According to our budget minister we are to rich, we are living beyond our means Minister Peeters says, then again he’s got about 10 000 Euro a month, my salary is a little less. Or can I say: ‘my salary is significant less’?

What’s the meaning of significant and how much is significant?

I searched for some synonyms: significant can be meaningful, remarkable, outstanding, noteworthy, expressive, revealing and even pregnant.

Nice! But I still don’t know how much it is, and let that happen to be the major issue in political Belgium these days.

It all started on Saturday. Minister Jambon of the Flemish nationalist party was quoted by the newspaper ‘De Standaard’ as having said that “A significant number of the Muslim community danced after the attacks in Brussels and Zaventem”. A small sentence, but enough to start a whole bunch of columns and posts in our media.

Was it the majority of the Muslim community? Was the party in relation to the attacks? Was it organised? Do we speak about more than thousand? One hundred? A dozen? Less??

First of all, it’s not yet forbidden in our capital to party, which means that the police do not necessarily keeps reports on this. Rudi Vervoort, French socialist and Head of the Brussels regional government said that he knew of one case in which two people near to the home of one of the terrorists wanted to party. The Brussels Authorities also mention a case in which 6 people, minors and adults were celebrating. Last but not least Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (French liberal) confirmed that there were shows of support for the perpetrators, but coming from a very small minority.

Enough for the opposition to oppose:

“Mr Jambon should either back up his assertion with hard evidence or apologise for comments that stigmatised a whole community”.

Last Wednesday Jambon had to appear before the Parliamentary Committee for Interior Affairs. He denied that he wanted to stigmatise Muslims, but then again, he does not want to wait until police is flooded with reports on this either. We must tackle it in time.

Let’s end with the opinion of Justice Minister Koen Geens (Flemish Christian democrat) “Everyone is entitled to errors in communication”.

My friends, help us out with significant information on the quantity or on the importance of significant. Be significant careful when using significant, and have a significant nice day!