After you’ve finished reading this post, you might want to read this one as well.
That’s the story in a nutshell.
Addendum (14:18 p.m.): as far as I know, there is no proof of a causal link between Ms Lubbe Bakker getting fired and her blogging about the behaviour of our Minister of Defense, only an indication.
Nathalie Lubbe Bakker was working at a bar in NY when on an evening, just a week ago, Minister of Defense Pieter De Crem stumbled in, apparently “completely wasted” singing burleske versions of flemmish folk songs.
We’re all people so that’s just a pity our prime minister decided to blow off some steam in that way.
Worse for De Crem and his delegation was a remark made by one of the diplomats Vincent Mertens de Wilmars. When asked by Lubbe Bakker what they were doing in NY, he replied that there was pretty much nothing to do since all their meetings with the UN got cancelled. The UN delegates were in Geneva something the Belgian delegations apparantly was aware of.
“Why did you come then after all?”, Lubbe Bakker asked.
“Well we knew they were gone, but in Brussels everything’s so quiet for the moment, nothing happens there so we could just as well go to NY. I’ve never been here before you know.”
Basically, that’s what Lubbe Bakker saw and heard that particular evening and that’s also how she described it on her blog (it’s in Dutch).
Four days later, she gets fired. Lubbe Bakker writes that a “well-informed source” told her that the spokesman of De Crem had called her boss at the B Café prior to her dismissal.
Of course saying that Lubbe Bakker got fired because of that call is hard to prove.
But if things happend this way, then this is – I think – a precedent in Belgian history.
Nonetheless, on his own website Pieter De Crem writes:
“Getting in touch with you has always been at the heart of my political engagement. Essentially, politics is a dialogue with the citizen. This conversation between you and me can be held in many ways. The internet helps close the gap between the citizen and the politician, it helps to close the gap between reality and policy as much as possible.”
Pieter De Crem scares me.
He is on a mission to have an entry in our history books, not in the interest of our country but out of shear personal ambition.
Over the last four years he fiercely attacked the former Minister of Defense for abusing the army for private matters and for getting us involved into the war in Irak simply because we offered the US Army access to our railway network and our harbours.
As he became Minister of Defense himself, De Crem didn’t hesitate to send tanks to his home town to figure in a local parade, nor did he hesitate to go on a world wide meet-and-greet and to send our troops to some of the world’s most dangerous warezones in order to fight, not in order to rebuild and support.
No freedom of speech under my rule
But more important than De Crem himself is the way he and his staff think they can rule the world.
They completely ignore the freedom of speech.
They didn’t even have the guts to send Ms Lubbe Bakker a personal reply to explain what happened, perhaps to correct what was wrong.
They went straight for the kill, sent in the troops and complained to Ms Lubbe Bakker’s boss about something she does in her spare time, which is blogging about her experience in this world.
That is abuse of power.
That – besides from being completely wasted – is inappropriate behaviour.
Coming from a Minister of Defense, that scares me.
Addendum (14.18 p.m.) That is to say: if what Nathalie Lubbe Bakker writes, holds true. Because suppose it isn’t, then this whole idea of me ranting about these people abusing their power should actually scare you. From a blogger’s perspective, that would be inappropriate blogging behaviour.
Personal blogs are no newspapers
Blogs are no newspapers. They are opinions.
And unlike a minister’s opinion personal blogs spread opinions through peers. They don’t force opinions down your throat.
If you want to interact with a personal blogger like Ms Lubbe Bakker, have the courage to face her, have the decency to tell your version of the facts.
Ms Lubbe Bakker’s boss is to blame as well (again, only if the assumption that De Crem’s spokesman complained to him holds true).
Why didn’t he talk to her about this? Why didn’t he ask her why and how? Because he was afraid she’d get the word out that De Crem’s spokesman put him under pressure to get her fired?
Now the word is out.
And it’s definitely not in favour of Mr De Crem and his entourage.
So far De Crem has done everything but closing the gap between him and Ms Lubbe Bakker. He has done everything but adapt his policy and his behaviour to reality.
All the world’s a stage
So Mr De Crem, if you or your entourage read this, feel free to comment.
Feel free to disagree. The stage is yours as it is mine.
Well, that is to say, last time I checked it still was.
Dear readers, If you want to support Nathalie Lubbe Bakker, feel free to do so.
If you want to get in touch with our Minister of Defense (something he says he likes very much), please do so as well.