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Letter to UNESCO about Aalst carnival
Culture Minister Joke Schauvliege has sent a letter to UNESCO in Paris in the name of the Flemish Government. The letter comes in response to the United Nations cultural organisation's furious reaction to the Nazi scenes during the UNESCO-recognised carnival parade in Aalst, where several participants dressed as Nazi SS officers to poke fun at the N-VA, Belgium's largest political party. "The history of the Holocaust should never be trivialised for a local political situation," said UNESCO Director Irina Bokova. Minister Schauvliege tried to appease Unesco: "We regret that the carnival participants were perceived as wanting to spread an anti-Semitic message," she wrote. "We condemn any form of anti-Semitism and racial hatred, but carnival remains a place for mocking, often in a grotesque way."