Brussels. disUnity in Diversity .

Brussels is the juncture between the divided state of Belgium. Yet in the very community where the peoples of the are supposed to unite, divisions rise as core groups compete over spheres of influence. The Flemish and Francophone communities have more or less symmetrical spheres, making the issue of minority rights and political participation significant to the balance of these disputes and to the multinational equilibrium of the city. A new era in Brussels politics has emerged with notable increases in elected politicians of non-EU--mainly Moroccan--origin. Inner-party conflicts between autochthonous ("old" Belgians) and ethnic-minority politicians are surfacing. Identity politics have always been important in the Belgian capital, but until now, the politics was dominated by the linguistic divide between Flemings and Francophones--added to this now is the pluri-ethnic dimension with Belgians of Moroccan origin in the spotlight.

A crowd gathered on March 22 outside the Brussels stock exchange to pay tribute to victims of the terrorist attacks earlier that day - photo by Christophe Petit Tesson

Photo Credit: Christophe Petit Tesson