Belgians are to the French what Newfies are to Canadians. The butt of many a joke.
The French find the so-called Belgian accent (which is actually the Brussels accent) funny. They find the fact that ‘frites’ (which are not French but Belgian) are the national symbol of their neighbour, funny.
There is just something the French find funny about Belgians. So they make fun of the fries, the flat country, the ‘thick’ people.
The Belgians, while they may not entirely appreciate such jokes, take them with a particular brand of irony and self-deprecating pride.
Some have made a career of la blague Belge. Many popular artists, entertainers and on-air personalities in France are Belgian, including the cartoonist Philippe Geluck, who explains the phenomenon of Belgian humour (in French) here.
And then there is Megan, a YouTube star whose video following Tuesday’s terror attacks has gone viral. Here it is (also in French):
For the non-French speakers, she is saying: “Seriously? You expect that this will keep us down? You really think that the ones who invented the waffle and the frite, the land of chocolate and beer, will not be back out on the streets again tomorrow? Really?)
It doesn’t feel right to laugh or make fun following the unspeakable loss of innocent life. Not In New York, or London, or Paris. But perhaps, after all, it is the right thing in Brussels.