Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Thursday, April 15, 2004
What an of days. As ever at this time of the month there is a paucity of postings as I get all the final work done on the magazine. This month has been no different. But due to the sensitivity of our story and a couple of other reasons the magazine only made it into the shops yesterday morning. By midday the monopoly distributor had pulled the whole print run from the shops. By one o’clock we were the lead story on Flemish Television and by the evening a writ was issued – that I understand needed no contact whatsoever with the magazine to come into force – exceptional circumstances you see – and we will be fined 1000 euro for any copy sold from now n in. Now seeing that we make less than 1.50 per copy methinks that this is hardly good business sense. Thus this morning I have to go to the last two shops that might still be carrying the magazine, camp outside and make damned sure they do not sell it.
Well there a couple of reasons. The main one is that we have broken an unwritten agreement in the Belgian press that stats that no pictures of the autopsy of the girls killed in the Dutroux case are published. That is the headline reason. However the fact that we launch an English language in depth study into the political/legal networks that are behind Dutroux has nothing to do with it. Nor indeed has the fact that we have launched an enquiry – for the first time anywhere – into the role of the Catholic Church – in particular the actions of the Cardinal Archbishop of Mechelen/Malines, Godfried Danneels. No of course that has nothing to do with it.
State TV last night was leading with a crowing story about, no of course not, the main story on the news is that we have been taken of the stands. No mention, whatsoever, of what we have written.
Talking to one, of many, Dutch and Flemish journalists yesterday, somebody who has covered the Dutroux story for eight years I was shocked to learn what they had to tell. Many stories had been pulled, lines of investigation closed down, death threats against journalists who dared cover the story. Now I learn that a book is being written in which all the journalists who have been in the pay of the state, and have been deliberately implicated in protecting the guilty is being published.
One final thing, one of Dutroux’s lawyes was on the box last night where he said – and my translation from Flemish is pretty poor, “I would prefer to be the lawyer of Dutroux than in the shoes of that journalist”. Oh bugger.