Sjoeke is a Brussels'Flemish word for darling, so you can read this as "darlings from Brussels"; connected with the French word "choux" you can also read this as Brussels'sprouts; mon chou is also used in French to say "my darling"; this blog on life in Brussels started originally in support of the BOZAR project POZE to document life in St Josse and other Brussels' towns. A Sjoeke is also a delicious pastry (chocolate or mocca with a cream filling, ├ęclair in French)

Sunday, February 26, 2006



November 1999
I still lived in Dupont street, near the Northern Railway Station in Brussels,
a border zone between Schaerbeek (1030 Brussels) and 1210 Brussels (St Josse)

I got the idea of hanging a teddy bear in the garden connected with my ground floor flat to protest against the death penalty and I sent the photos as a contibution to a Spanish mail art project in support of an Amnesty International campaign.

To be honest, I would never come up with that idea without being part of the white march, when 300 000 Belgians marched against the murder of children by pedophiles. Our political system nearly collapsed in what I described as the "spaghetti rebellion". People threw spaghetti at the court houses when an investigation judge was sacked because he had eaten spaghetti with some of the children he had saved. This was considered by the supreme court as being "impartial" and the country went frantic afterwards. One week of general protest and strikes (started by the workers of the Volkswagen factory in Brussels, everyone else followed!) ended in the white march, the biggest demonstration ever witnessed in the capital of the country ...)

People where dressed in white, wearing white balloons, saying nothing at all, clapping hands all the time, children were carrying toys & teddy bears. It made me ....

The parents of the murdered kids spoke out against the death penalty. For them revenge was not the answer. Also they considered that a possible death penalty for pedophiles meant the death sentence for the kidnapped children for sure. I marveled at their wisdom and it marked my mind for the years to come. The hanging of children's toys became for me the ultimate statement against the "US way of dealing with all crimes" ...

There was one moment when I really vomited in my life (without being severely drunk):
when GW Bush made fun of a human being in death row begging for life...
Then I realized the gap between humanism and barbarism forever!

The only Belgian mail artist who marched with me that day was Geert De Decker and I think this has bonded us for life despite differences altogether.