Their atrocious end at the stake, several centuries ago, moved people everywhere in Europe where the official rehabilitations of victims of witchcraft crimes are multiplying. Flanders does not remain insensitive either to the witch hunts of which it was the scene in the 16th and 17th centuries. But while several municipalities are taking corrective action, Jan Jambon (N-VA), head of the Flemish government, closes the door to the idea of general rehabilitation in the name of a Flanders politically foreign to this “institutionalized feminicide”.
Devil. A supposedly sealed pact with the Devil was unforgiving and led you straight to the stake. He wreaked havoc, crime of witchcraft. A carnage spread over four centuries and which some describe as mass murders organized, comparable to the colonial slave trade or extermination in Nazi concentration camps.
A thousand pardons for the “witches”, for their atrocious end long forgotten or minimized but which ends up moving. Germany, Norway, Scotland, Catalonia, the mea culpa official are multiplying towards what amounts to an “institutionalized feminicide”, according to Pere Arangonès, president of the Catalan parliament, as it is true that the women have paid, and by far, the heaviest tribute to the reign of superstition and obscurantism.
The long march towards rehabilitation also wins the Flandersthe scene of a particularly intense witch hunt in the 16th and 17th centuries, as evidenced by the approximately three hundred court case identified against them. It’s enough to be seized by remorse, even late, after so many tortures inflicted on these scapegoats accused of all the evils that we could not explain, famines, plague, natural disasters. In Nieuport from 2012, Lier, Diksmuide, Ghent, Ostend, Menin, their ordeal is on the agenda and is the subject of debate. Here, we apologize, there we think of a duty of memory through a street sign, or even a monument. The fight is not necessarily self-evident. In Ostend, Lievine-la-sorcière, a widow at 20, sent to the stake in 1605 for “sin of the flesh”, did not find favor in the eyes of a majority of the municipal council who recently failed her rehabilitation. “Corona, Ukraine, energy prices, wage bills. To talk about witchcraft, we have other black cats to fry”, saw fit to justify the CD&V alderman of heritage.
The long march towards rehabilitation is also reaching Flanders.
This is not the opinion of the feminist movement which has now made this cause its own, in its eyes of burning topicality when sexism dies hard and witch hunts stay in season.
Decree a memorial day, to obtain an official pardon for so many innocent victims: it’s still not rocket science, right? If, replies the Flemish Minister-President, Jan Ham (N-VA), invited by way of petition to make a gesture which will therefore not come. Not that the terrible historical injustice is questioned. But today’s Flanders must apologize for this, “it’s a another questionwhich does not need to be raised, considers the Flemish nationalist leader who knows his story. How can we seriously demand from the Flemish Region of 2022 that it identify itself legally with the county of Flanders, with the duchy of Brabant, with the southern Netherlands under Spanish rule, where the crimes perpetrated four hundred years ago were committed? All of this lacks meaning and calls for only one sentence: “It is not for the Flemish authorities to take action in terms of rehabilitation.” Please contact the local level or, if necessary, suggests the Minister-President, thebelgian state, better able to endorse the status of vague heir to these powers of another age. If the federal level can still be of any use…
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Vent du Nord by Pierre Havaux: why Jan Jambon will not rehabilitate the witches once burned in Flanders (chronicle)
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