About 'Alpha+Good'

Alpha+Good (a bad wordplay on Orwell's "double plus good" and old machismo - I'm the realest after all) is a side project that belongs to 'Onklare taal' ('Unclear' or 'Unripe language'), the umbrella of several literary projects in Dutch.

This section is almost exclusively in English and comprises my ongoing thoughts on progress, gender, politics and various other social themes. Why is this in English why everything else in Dutch? Because I want to gun for a much wider audience here. Also, my literary English isn't good enough, otherwise I would always write in English.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

State of Failure: Hainaut


In Hainaut, all seems faded glory – even its faded glory has faded. In 1997, UNESCO put the region on the list as ‘world heritage site of squalidness’, which has been strictly observed since by a network of welfare centres and socialist czars.

In opposition to the rest of Wallonia, Hainaut is the province that was originally French- instead of Walloon-speaking. Unfortunately, the French consider them ‘Ch’ti’ for this reason, or part of le Nord, the most economically underdeveloped and deplorably wasted region of France.

Important facts

A prevalent sub-ethnicity of Hainaut is the Baraki, a forward-thinking post-apocalyptic people whose resilience and resourcefulness are unmatched by any other Western people. Relying on their wits, reflexes and good contacts with local PS officials, Barakis get by on the most slender of means.

Uselessness is an art form in this province. From a ship lift nobody uses to a metro system nobody wanted, the region is littered with existentialist odes to the pointlessness of human life.


One does not simply walk into Hainaut

Hainaut’s impressive, blackened landscape was the background of Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy scenes set in the dark lands of Mordor. Locals were hired to play Orcs.

Dark, abandoned mineshafts and macabre rust towers are surrounded by ominous music and distant howls, day and night. In cities, people are unemployed from 9am to 3pm, and after that, all shops close.

Straw man made of coal

When coal deposits were discovered in the region in the 19th century, things seemed to look up for a while. Luckily, local industry moguls and violent union members worked together to stop this. They built a merciless network based on predatory capitalism on the one hand, and chafing worker privileges on the other hand, which preserved the province’s squalid nature. Today, Hainaut mainly acts as straw man of angry Flemish nationalists.

To see and visit in Hainaut


The city of Tournai briefly acted as capital of the Merovingian Empire under Clovis. However, Clovis quickly moved to Aix-la-Chapelle when it turned out his serfs kept demanding higher wages, set up checkpoints against cane beatings and he was expected to listen to the complaints of his bureaucrats.


Charleroi was founded and named after Charles V, Habsburg Emperor, as a proto-industrial metropole. It has never left this phase. Even today, Charleroi is a bizarre maze of conflicts between guilds of car thieves, burglars, muggers and drug lords, and choking fumes arise from all of the city’s smithing workshops.

Mons and the Borinage

Mons is the home of mayor, PS party president, secretary and Carnival Prince Elio Di Rupo. Annually, people push up a horse-drawn carriage up a hill to symbolize the futility of Walloon Sisyphean labour.

The surrounding area, the Borinage, is popular with international aid organizations. They often practice there for interventions under extreme conditions in countries like Somalia, Nepal and Afghanistan.


Geographically situated in West-Flanders, Comines-Warneton is Hainaut’s success story. Contrary to the dutchification of the similar Voeren in the east, Comines’ frenchification was seamless. This was mainly due to the fact that the locals were illiterate.


In 1878, 30 dinosaur skeletons were discovered in the mines of Barissart. These were large herbivores from the Cretaceous area. The skeletons showed signs of a sedentary lifestyle with little exertion. They were immediately named honorary labour union members.


Each year, the small city of Binche honours director Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’. Men dress up in pale-masked gimp suits and throw oranges at people. To be assaulted by the ‘Gilles’, as they are called, is seen as a positive sign for the year to come.

Economic masturbation

While stereotypes dictate Hainautois are mostly unemployed, this isn’t really true. For instance, many people slave away at a minimum wage at the Charleroi airport, the only place in the province even Flemish people dare visit without fear of getting mugged.

There is also a thriving tourist industry, where rich people are bussed around in armoured vans to masturbate as they watch the province’s poor wallow in a pool of filth and cheap beer.

In addition, the track suit industry recognizes Hainaut as one of its best markets. They even sell wedding tracksuits emblazoned with birds and bells.

Tenderized hearts

Carolos, as the inhabitants of Charleroi are called, take pride in their city’s football team, which never fails to not meet expectations. This is true to the spirit of Hainaut.

Other Walloons regard Hainautois as somewhat goofy and rude, but kind-hearted. Of course, it’s easy to be kind-hearted if your heart has already been tendered by soot, liberal volumes of alcohol and frying grease. Still, a strong carnival tradition keeps many people afloat here, hoping that building papier maché replicas of daft politicians will somehow free them from their existential pain.