World legacy guardians UNESCO has pulled a Belgian festival from among its security lists over the existence of”racist and anti-Semitic” floats.
The yearly Aalst carnival was eliminated from the UN body’s program of intangible cultural heritage, which attempts to safeguard non-physical patrimony such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, and festivals.
The presence at the parade — that occurs yearly in Flanders — of a caricatured floats of Orthodox Jews with hooked noses, seated bags of stone, had outraged the representatives of the Jewish community of Belgium.
The Committee believed that the Aalst carnival had on many occasions exhibited messages, pictures, and representations which could be regarded as reassuring stereotypes, mocking particular groups and insulting the memories of painful historic experiences such as genocide, slavery and racial segregation,” said UNESCO, describing its choice.
“These functions, if not deliberate, contradicted the demands of mutual esteem among groups, communities, and individuals, as described under Article 2 of the Convention.”
“Unesco needed to be cautious and company regarding the excesses of a festival categorized as World Heritage and then flouts the basic values,” stated the director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.
“It’s also not the first time these bisexual and anti-Semitic floats have paraded in this festival,” she added.
However, the mayor of Aalst struck back.
“The taxpayers of Aalst have endured grotesque accusations,” he explained in a press release delivered to TV Oost Nieuws, based on Belga news agency.
“We’re anti-Semitic nor tacky. Those who support that are acting in bad faith. Aalst will always stay the funds of mockery and satire.”