Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Thursday 4 December 2008

Yet Again: Free Speech

Q. What is the connexion between the sacking of a New York Barmaid and the Belgian Defence Minister?

A. She keeps a blog!

The story was reported today by the Daily Telegraph.

Well, well; I have previously discussed free speech a number of times here and in particular I mentioned bloggers in one post.  Admittedly, Belgian citizen Nathalie Lubbe Bakker (for it was she) has not yet been jailed, but to lose one's job in these difficult times is no small thing.

It seems that she was shocked by the behaviour of one Pieter de Crem, Belgium's Defence Minister, when he appeared in her bar and took more than sufficient liquid refreshment.  She decided that this event would be good subject matter for her blog "Living in New York."

Unfortunately this was picked up by a Belgian Newspaper and Nathalie was sacked without explanation...

Belgian Defence Minister Pieter de Crem receives a smart salute
Picture source: here

Ironically, Mr de Crem was quoted as saying "The internet helps close the gap between the citizen and the politician."

Mr de Crem has had to face parliamentary questions (quite right too) and the Telegraph report includes the following:

"Belgian bloggers are up in arms over what they perceive to be a threat to free speech and a Facebook campaign has been set demanding Miss Lubbe Bakker is reinstated in her job."

I have managed to find the blog and article concerned - well at least I think so, as it's in Dutch.  If any of you would care to translate the article I should be delighted to post the translation here.

Free speech - that is the maintenance of the right of it - requires great vigilance...

Nathalie's blog article has received over 340 comments (I can only dream of such a response).  I have posted there , so go on, give her your support - you know you want to.

Until the next time.


I have just been mailed by Nathalie herself; she is going to provide an English translation, which of course I shall post here.


In Mr de Crem's speech to the Belgian parliament - see video here - he states that Nathalie Lubbe Bakker is in fact a Dutch citizen.


Anonymous said...

The Crem abuse his power to get a blogger fired and he makes abuse of tax money for a needles trip to NY.
He ridicule it as if its a 'non-event' and blame the internet with the bloggers as scum of the earth for publishing the story.

There are some vids of de Crem answering some questions in the Belgium parlement. This one has eng. subs:

Paul said...

Thank you Nescio, for your comment. I shall post the video as a separate item.