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"
. VII i .
. tion in flemish country. They form only very small minority of upper ten, .
product of centralising efforts of Belgian government, which reserves them all
advantages and entirety of public places, and of french instruction in higher and
secundary schools. This caste rules by force of money and position, while T
more than 3,5 millions of flemish people live under the shameful system, which
-· no colonial government would think of maintaining any longer over subject
races: economically and ·mentally «hel·d down under ·heel of foreign rule.
i Yet t·he Flemish soldiers formed 80% of Belgian army which has stood brunt
of German onslaught on Yser.
_ They defended Belgium, their stepmother, hoping that in saving it, they should
at last save their people.
. Promises better future were made them, order they might go on sacrificing
g their lives. ‘ i
But no sooner was Belgium restored freedom-(P) when veritable terreur set
­ in against Flemish movement. Prisons in Belgium are filled with Flemish who
had dared demand better future for their people.
- Now the flemish soldiers in Belgian army have founded their ,,front­party"
· - and are coming forward, taking stand on following platform (see their daily paper
,,Ons Vaderland" 4th March 1919):
,,AUTONOMY for Flanders in legislation, government, education, justice, army,
on basis of principle: ,,In Flanders flemis/z" as the only means to secure rebirth
of flemish civilisation.
,,Hence Wallonia and Flandria should form federation of two selfgoverned p
parts of Belgium.
,,Combination of those departments only, with a flemish and a walloon B
- section, which have standfor combined interests: foreign office, colonies, war,
finance. T
,,Entire educational system should be founded on mothertongue of popu­ .
lation. Hence in Flanders all schools from boardschools to university (including
secundary and technical education) in Flemish.
· ,,_]ustice: all courts of justice in Flanders flemish.
,,Army: regional system; in all regiments mothertongue of men should be
also verhicle for administration, drill and co·mman·d."
i’ This program does not ask any favor. It simply demands the rights of a self-
ié respecting race, a race with glorious past, and which wants to rise again to hight
ii of its- abilities. · '
jl Belgium may try and refuse them: these rights will not denied. No peace,
jl no economic reconstruction for Belgium, unless on basis of local self-govern-
; ment and autonomy for Flemish.
si May your Council of Ten see its way to influence Belgian government that
at last is should grant justice to those w·ho at borders of Yser saved Entente.
In name of oppressed people of Flanders,
{ Dr. ALFONS DEPLA, Kortrijk.
LEO MEERT, manufacturer, St. Nicolaas­Waas.
H. MOMMAERTS, engineer, Antwerp.
(Van der Heimstraat, 37, Hague)
1 » . - ' HJ