The glass bulbs on my way to Brussels North railway station. He is sitting there, every morning and every evening. Sun, rain, snow, it doesn’t matter to him. The beggar brings an umbrella, a hat or gloves along. He’s about fifty- though it may be forty or sixty as well. He has a house. I think. Slum accommodation. Teenage children, a wife with health issues … Perhaps they are waiting for him in Afghanistan. Or Pakistan. Or some other distant land. Until he visits them during the summer. I think.
Today I gave him the money for the first time ever. Someone who’s sitting for hours in the snow and the bitter cold sit, needs it. He’s desperate. Still he is modest. Whenever I say bonsoir, he thanks me with a smile. His paper cup was more than half full today. I hope he earns enough so that he doesn’t have to work in the coming days.
Today he is the only one who has to work. No beggar or asylum seeker to be found in Brussels-North. As this is Belgium. A whole summer the homeless have been tolerated in the railway station. But by the time Frank Deboosere and Tatiana Silva predict – 10 degrees, some deputy mayor has them removed so that they end up on the street. But she is not the one to blame …
No, we’re already three years without a decent government and that goes to show. Ministers and state secretaries are now off the air – or so it seems- that an asylum crisis. Wasn’t there also a problem last year? This refugee camp in the Brussels North area?Does anyone remember?
What I do not remember is whether we had a government (or something like it) or not. Or were they just arguing about that piece of land (the district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde) that should be split up rather urgently? Spot the cynicism. After three years of non-government, elections and temporary governments it is time to do something, to act in this country rather than argue over a few square meters. Isn’t it?
But instead of governing and looking for a solution to this humanitarian crisis, calls our prime minister upon us to give the homeless shelter. Don’t we pay taxes for that? I have nothing against the idea, but I do not quite trust it. Will he be paying if something is missing after you took someone in your house? Because you can have bad luck with someone … I’m not sure I would have someone. Unless it is the man of the glass bulb.