Monday, February 21, 2011

"Naked" protest in Ghent (videos)

Update: I've added some more videos, one of which (if not more serious than the first) is more gender balanced and actually contains some attempts to explain the why and wherefore of the protest (albeit in Dutch).

Last week some students got together in Ghent and stripped down to their underwear to draw attention to the nation's serious political problems. They certainly drew a lot of attention, but I suspect that the political message got a bit scrambled through the filter of indecent exposure.

Which do you think is more effective: underwear protests, beard-growing, free fries, or a sex ban?


  1. Sex ban no way!!! :)

    The beard, well i had already one so its more easy for me!

    Nice blog, you seems to like Belgium more than some Belgians, not me tough ;),wich is always nice to see.

  2. Why did I not see this before? Every reason for naked girls is a good one ;) Although I wouldn't call it nudity when the underwear is still worn!

    On a serious note: here in Catalunya protesters have been occupying the main square of Barcelona for over 2 weeks already. The square is littered by anarchist banners and pictures calling for a revolution, there's political speaches non-stop, and the protesters literally camp on the square (either in tents, in sleeping bags, or using all sorts of plastics to create a sort of tent-like sleeping place). Police tried to take them away but they couldn't stop it. The square is occupied for over 2 weeks now.

    THAT is a protest. Some people growing a beard or taking off their clothes isn't going to change that much. In a way this is typically Belgian: let's protest, but let's keep it clean and tidy. In the end that doesn't accomplish much ...

    Here are pictures (not made by myself , I am planning to make some pics soon though once the risk of riots is calming down) :

    Also, watch this ;)

  3. It's true that the Belgian protests have none of the sincerity and power of those in countries where problems are more pressing.

    Thanks for the video link, I'll watch it as soon as I can. Alex Agnew is a familiar name, although I haven't seen any of his stuff yet.

  4. Alex Agnew is loved and hated in the same time because he goes a lot further and gets much more explicit in his humor than most comedians in Belgium. He doesn't avoid politically incorrect topics such as sexuality or political hot topics. In one of his sketches he mocks with how Belgian protesters are way too soft for a revolution (unlike neighbouring countries) because Belgians would be too shy for it or always have something more important to do ...

    That said, I doubt the occupying a market square like here in Barcelona is going to make much difference neither. There are two options for change: a total revolution like what happened in Cuba for example, or electoral change. But any people walking around naked, sleeping on public squares or growing a beard, is not going to really rush politicians to realise drastic change.

  5. Agnew's style reminds me of Eddie Murphy, but less insane and more confronting. He's the best Belgian stand-up comedian I've seen so far.

    Considering the political situation in Europe, do you think there is any chance at all for a "Cuban" revolution in Spain?

  6. While change is gonna happen for sure, and some revolutionary action can definitely not be excluded anymore (the protests were unseen in many many years) I doubt it will have the extent of Cuba. Because Spain is in the EU and if things would get really really far, the EU will step in. Plus, except for a few regions (luckily including my home base Catalunya), many people voted for a right wing party :(

    I wouldn't mind a "velvet revolution" (peaceful, non-violent revolution) if the right-wing PP would seize the power. They're very likely to cut in all social security provisions such as healthcare, green energy, social housing, care for the elderly, ... and that right when things were getting well organised after the socialist parties did huge amounts of work to give Spain a social security network that is (while not as good as in Northern Europe) at least decent. If the PP wants to un-do all that hard work, then I'd say all means except violence are good to prevent them from doing that.

    Sidenote: It's funny you mention "Cuban" since Fidel Castro is one of my favourite politicians and the party I'm member of has a support group for Cuba. The opinions on the Cuban regime are divided within the far left but I'm pro-Cuba. If it wasn't for the very unjustified embargo, Cuba would be proving that socialist states do work. The US should lift that embargo and if they don't, the UN should somehow force them. Except the US and Israel, all UN members condemned the embargo in recent resolutions.