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Never has this society been so deserving of being called spectacular as in the present times. The proofs are given every day that passes and more particularly in our small country from now on in prey to the electoralist fever which sees multiplying the ridiculous flights of the so-called democratic parties to their future voters. But, above all, we can only appreciate the role played by the Prime Minister — capital letters would be doing him the honour he does not deserve — throughout this disastrous legislature. It is a lamentable figure that he will have inflicted on those who have not yet deserted their critical spirit! Here is a man who, on every occasion, shows off his modest origins as a child of emigrants, fatherless at an early age and working hard to, as they say, climb the ladder of exemplary success, gain the ranks of the party now called socialist and make the career that we know and, at the end of the race — we hope! — reach the illusory summit of power. And, if he doesn’t exercise it as discreetly as possible, here he is occupying the media space and filling it in the most ridiculous way, multiplying the announcement effects, lending himself to all the stagings of his smiling person in all places and on all occasions. Di Rupo in his swimming trunks at the swimming pool, Di Rupo at the Christmas market, shaking a ladle at people; Di Rupo goes here and there, tirelessly, valiantly, with the horde of journalists of the written, spoken and televised press at his heels, reporting on everything and anything. By no one knows what mishap, he participates in a television program called entertainment a few weeks before the official start of the election campaign, the little people are ecstatic and applaud the performance of the artist while the bad tongues of the pseudo opposition parties stigmatize the charm operation of the head of government. After the inauguration of the festival of the film of love in his good city of Mons, and, to finish — we still hope! in beauty he presides in great pomp the reception made to the two pandas coming directly from China, which are received like foreign heads of state and from now on installed in the animal park which offers them the hospitality. It is worth noting that, unlike the two nice big animals from elsewhere, the character has shown a flagrant lack of enthusiasm towards the few hundred Afghan refugees who have repeatedly and unsuccessfully reported to his inalterable inattention, as well as the many other files, which are treated with a mendacious condescension that borders on intellectual crudity. 

But let’s not throw the stone at the one who, according to the press, remains against all odds the darling of a significant part of what remains of public opinion, he is not the only one to want to be noticed. Others, certainly less mediatized but just as anxious to leave some traces of their daring, do not lack this form of humor proper to the period that opens and will last until next May. Thus, we will have had the opportunity to appreciate, for example and among others, the words of Benoît Lutgen, a well-known humanist who, in all seriousness, proposed as a remedy to a host of problems — employment, environment, mobility and others — the creation of new cities , one of which is near La Louvière. As they used to say « when the building goes, everything goes » and rather than improving, embellishing and cleaning up existing cities, we might as well go for it and take the bull by the horns! As of course, like many other suggestions coming from all sides and about everything, the beautiful, generous but zany ideas of our man, after having made many laugh, fell very quickly into oblivion, immediately replaced by more zany and wacky; we are not finished with the fun. 

As this column is being written, another form of fun could very well turn into tragedy. The crisis that began the day after the victory of the insurgents in Kiev was anything but unpredictable. It was obvious that the Tsarevich Putin could not remain at the window without reacting with the determination that we know him and that required a situation in his eyes perfectly unacceptable. We know that for him, the collapse of the Soviet Empire, which he served with dedication, was experienced as a disaster and a humiliation and that he made it his mission to reconstitute it. For this historic project, all means — threats, lies, intimidation and force — have been, are and will be used: the Chechens, the Georgians and now the Ukrainians know something of this; as do the Western leaders who do not seem able, until proven otherwise, to change the determination of the former KGB officer. And if, by any chance, the appetites of the master of the Kremlin were to be judged too excessive and exceed certain limits, and if, threatening a balance that was naively taken for granted, things were to take a more martial turn, the possibility of an armed conflict could not be excluded. In which case, and considering a possible escalation that would be fatal to the old continent, if not to the entire planet, there would be no one to read this column. But these are pure conjectures and it is possible and highly desirable! It is just as well that diplomacy prevails over the temptation of war. 

Besides, we continue to witness the same pitiful decay in almost all the fields that touch the now famous daily life that here and elsewhere, we continue to lead with the same universal carelessness. Everywhere, it is the most perfect silence on the questions which touch the serious environmental problems, no government seems to be ready to take the measure of the urgency and the gravity of a general situation which is going to degrade day by day. The only answer to the calamitous air pollution, in our country and our close neighbors, is to introduce free public transport in the major cities! Here again, if the absolute stupidity of such measures did not first provoke amazement, we would be tempted to start with a huge and grating laugh. And, once again, we must also observe how the social struggles that are simmering and, in the most scandalous media silence, are breaking out here and there — in Spain, Turkey and elsewhere — are not accompanied by any demands relating to the global situation in which we find ourselves. Of course, the anger expressed here is perfectly legitimate and well-founded; of course, it is urgent to set up a fairer system for sharing wealth, to put an end to the odious and contemptuous domination of finance and its stock marketers and to stop always attacking the most disadvantaged and to pursue and punish them as is done here against the unemployed. But the only way out of the present ignominy and unhappiness is to make a radical clean sweep of this world in order to found a new one; there is no other way imaginable. 

Jean-Pierre L. Collignon 

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