Aalst Carnival booted off UNESCO heritage list

Carnival celebrations in Aalst (East Flanders) are no longer intangible world heritage.  UNESCO, the United Nations culture organisation, has taken Aalst Carnival off its renowned list.

The Belgian carnival got into trouble after a float at this year’s parade included dolls that caricatured Jews.  UNESCO now says that there is no room for racism or discrimination on its list of intangible world heritage.

In Aalst the city authorities were keen to remove their carnival from the list before it was booted off in order to preserve freedom of expression.

The Austrian chair of the UNESCO committee that took the decision spoke on undiluted racism: “We at UNESCO won’t define how they should experience their tradition, but they will do it without the UNESCO’s blessing. We wish to draw a line in the sand. We cannot tolerate events like this.”

A carnival group used dolls with hooked noses and pipe curls accompanied by a large chest of cash to indicate that they were hard up and were taking a sabbatical.

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