Le vendredi 18 novembre 2022 B Plus a remis son Prix du Courage politique au peuple Ukrainien. La cérémonie de remise du prix a eu lieu à Bruxelles dans la Maison des Parlementaires.
Le prix du courage politique a été décerné par notre mouvement pour la première fois en 2006. Les lauréats de l'époque étaient le ministre de la Santé publique Rudy Demotte (PS) et l'ancien Premier ministre Wilfried Martens (CD&V).
Les lauréats du Prix sont toujours choisis par la direction de B Plus et sont en principe des personnalités qui, au cours de l'année écoulée, se sont distinguées par leurs attitudes ou leurs positions modérées sur des questions touchant aux relations entre les communautés linguistiques en Belgique. Il s'agit généralement de personnes qui regardent au-delà des limites de leur propre communauté et ne perdent pas de vue l'intérêt général et commun.
La liste des précédents lauréats du Prix du courage politique est la suivante :
· 2006: Rudy Demotte (PS) en Wilfried Martens (CD&V)
· 2007: Philippe Van Parijs en Rudy Aernoudt
· 2008: Jean-Michel Javaux (Ecolo) en Mathias De Clercq (Open VLD)
· 2009: Alain Gerlache en Stijn Kolacny
· 2010: Els Ampe (Open VLD) en Paul Magnette (PS)
· 2011: Bart Peeters en Philippe Gilbert
· 2012: Charles Michel (MR) en Daniël Termont (SP.A)
· 2013: Veerle Baetens en Marc Coudron
· 2014: Gwendolyn Rutten (Open VLD) en Elio Di Rupo (PS)
· 2015: Jan Goossens en Jean-Louis Colinet
· 2021: Sophie Wilmès (MR) et Marc Van Ranst
Cependant, cette année est une année spéciale. Malheureusement, depuis l'invasion de l'Ukraine par la Russie le 24 février 2022, nous vivons dans un monde différent. En effet, une guerre se déroule à nouveau sur le continent européen. Ce fut un réveil brutal pour l'Ukraine, pour l'Europe et par extension pour le monde entier.
L'Ukraine est attaquée parce qu'elle veut être européenne. Parce qu'il veut être démocratique. Parce qu'elle veut choisir sa propre voie. Parce qu'elle veut vivre sa propre identité. En toute liberté et indépendance. Et en même temps en connexion avec l'Europe.
La guerre de la Russie contre l'Ukraine est donc aussi une guerre contre les valeurs que nous défendons tous. Et lorsque les Ukrainiens se défendent, ils se battent non seulement pour la survie de leur propre pays, mais aussi pour le maintien de nos valeurs communes.
C'est toujours le peuple qui porte le poids de la guerre. Le prix que la population paie est extrêmement élevé. Des maisons sont détruites, les services publics sont détruits et de nombreux meurtres et autres atrocités sont commis.
Mais le peuple ukrainien ne se laisse pas faire et s’oppose à l'agresseur. Nous sommes pleins d'admiration pour le courage dont le peuple ukrainien fait preuve aujourd'hui en résistant à l'agression russe. Il résiste non seulement pour lui-même, mais aussi, dans une large mesure, pour nous tous.
Notre mouvement ne peut donc imaginer de meilleur lauréat pour le Prix du courage politique 2022 que le peuple ukrainien.
"Dear Madam Chargé d’Affaires, dear Ms. Anoshyna,
Dear Ms. Osmanova,
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
We have gathered here today in order to award the annual Price for Political Courage of our association.
B Plus, as you know, is a citizen’s movement that defends the unity of Belgium. Hence, we support people and initiatives that want to promote the good understanding between all Belgians, no matter what language they speak and no matter where they live. We organize conferences about the reform of Belgium’s institutional structure, we publish opinions in the press, we organize debates, petitions and, if necessary, manifestations.
In the light of that objective, each year, we award a price, the Price for Political Courage. Since 2006 onwards the price has been awarded each time to two people, each of a different language group. These people can be politicians who stood up for unity, singers, artists, sportspeople, …
The first people who received our price in 2006 were Rudy Demotte and Wilfried Martens.
Rudy Demotte was chosen because of his policy as minister of social affairs attacking practices in hospitals prescribing unnecessary examinations and treatments that cost too much to our social system and that did not help the patient. This was courageous since he was a Walloon minister and such practices existed mainly in Wallonia, the French speaking part of our country.
Wilfried Martens is well-known of course. He served our country 8 times as prime minister. And later on he became president of the European People’s party. He was not only a great Belgian, but also a great European. He received our price because he stood up against his own party, the Flemish Christian-democrats, who inserted confederalism in their program. Confederalism, is a treaty union between independent sovereign states and would entail separatism in the end. You can therefore imagine that B Plus fights against this. And in the end, we were very happy to welcome Wilfried Martens as member of our association.
This just to give you an example of what exactly the Price for Political Courage stands for.
2022 is a special year. Unfortunately. So we chose to take a somewhat different path this year.
Since February 24th, we live in another world. A world where Putin invaded Ukraine. A world where a war is again fought on the European continent. It was a brutal awakening that morning of February 25th. In the first place for the Ukrainian people of course, but also for Europe and in fact for the whole world.
Ukraine is under attack because it wants to be European. Because it wants to be a democracy. Because it wants to choose its own path. Because Ukrainians want to fully live their identity. In freedom and in independence. And at the same time in connection with Europe.
Ms. Anoshyna, Ms. Osmanova, the war in Ukraine is not only a war against your country. It is also a war against the values we share with you. And so, if your people defend themselves, they do not only fight for themselves, nor for the preservation and the survival of their country. But they also fight to defend our common values and the right to practice these values.
We can hardly imagine what your people are going through right now. We have not experienced the horrors of war anymore since 77 years. We are deeply moved when learning about the atrocities the Russian army committed against Ukrainian people.
We, here in Europe, we complain because the price of our electricity increases because of the war. But in Ukraine, many people have no more electricity because the Russians bombed your local infrastructure. We complain because the price to heat our homes increases. But in Ukraine, many people have no more homes. We sometimes complain about Belgium, which is still our country, but difficult to govern sometimes. Whereas many Ukrainians fled from their country and simply hope there still will be a country to govern when they will return one day.
Ms. Osmanova, you are in fact, unfortunately, an example of the people that had to flee from the bombs and the violence. You are a well-known and respected singer and artist in Ukraine. You bear the title of “Honored Artist of Ukraine and Crimea”. You have lived in Kyiv for 21 years. You have two solo albums and many programs. You represent the culture of Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian people on international stages. You are also assistant professor of the pop singing department of the Kyiv Municipal Academy of Pop and Circus Arts. You are an actress in musicals, shows, theatre and cinema. Still, because of the violence, you fled here together with your mother and your little son who is not even 2 years old yet. Luckily, you were given shelter and protection here in Belgium.
And you are only one of so many people in this situation. And unfortunately, not everyone succeeds in finding shelter.
It is not the first time that Ukrainians live such difficult times. For example, reference can be made to Holodomor, which costed the lives of millions of Ukrainian people in the 20th century. And there is also the deportation of Crimean Tatar people from Crimea in 1944.
Still, even when invaded, Ukrainian people do not give up. They have shown exceptional courage to the world by resisting the Russian invasion and by standing their ground. It is very admirable. Still, to everybody that is surprised by this, I can recommend watching the documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s fight for freedom” about the Maidan revolution in 2014. After having watched this, I came to understand that you would never back down now either.
In standing up for yourselves, you also stand up for all of us. Because if Putin can take Ukraine, what will stop him from taking other countries as well later on?
We admire the courage and the resilience Ukrainian people have shown and are still showing every single day.
On the other hand, we deeply sympathize with you and we are very sorry for the hurt and the loss this war causes to you all. We came to feel that you are a part of our family and for our family, we want nothing but the best.
Hence, we, as B Plus, we decided to exceptionally move beyond our Belgian borders this year, since we could not think of a better candidate other than the Ukrainians themselves to award our Price for Political Courage to for the year 2022. It is not that we did not find any courageous people anymore in our own country, but there is nothing compared to the courage your people show every day.
At the same time, with winter coming up, a more difficult period begins, both in Ukraine and in Europe. This is why we felt that it is especially now that it is important to give you the signal, again, that you are not on your own and we will not let you down.
I would like to conclude with hope. Because there always is hope. And so we hope that very soon you will be able to live in peace again. To bury your lost loved ones and mourn for them. And to look again into a more bright future. A future where it is not nationalism and imperialism that dictates what happens, but unity and solidarity.