This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of May, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 25 May 2018
Media outlet: VRT
About the author: Bart De Wever is the leader of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), a Flemish nationalist party in Belgium.
Headline: De Wever: “Mawda’s parents are not just victims, they also have to take responsibility”
Description of the anti-refugee and anti-Muslim content: Bart De Wever accuses two-year-old Mawda’s parents of being responsible for their daughter’s death. The girl was shot in the face during a police chase. The police opened fire on a van carrying 30 refugees near Mons, Belgium. The girl was in the car with her Kurdish-Iraqi parents and three-year old brother. The Guardian reports that “Mawda and her family are Kurdish refugees who had recently been deported to Germany but had made their way back to Belgium, where they were staying until they could afford to make their way to the UK.” De Wever blames the girl’s family for trying to migrate, thus causing their daughter’s death.
Myth Debunked: De Wever’s assertion is an example of victim-abuser reversal, where the victim/oppressed (the girl’s family) is accused, rather than its abuser/oppressor (the police and the immigration laws). Deaths at international borders are not an inevitable fatality, and certainly not the fault of those trying to cross for a better life. They are caused by repressive migration policies at the expense of people who were not lucky enough to be born on the “right” side of the border. Iraqi passports allow visa-free access to only 30 destinations. With a Belgian passport De Wever can get visa-free to 185 destinations – quite a different position to an Iraqi national. De Wever feels entitled to judge. What does he know about life as a Muslim refugee in Germany? Would he have said the same if it was a white Belgian girl with her white Belgian family? Most probably not.
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