Emotion after the suicide of a young Belgian entrepreneur in full confinement

For those close to her, she could not bear to be judged “non-essential”. The suicide of a young 24-year-old Belgian who had just opened her barber-shop in Liège is becoming a symbol of distress in the face of the pandemic.

In a country hard hit by the coronavirus (more than 15,000 patients died of it) and forced into a second confinement, the drama moved a whole society, from Prime Minister Alexander De Croo to filmmaker Luc Dardenne, joined on Friday by the ‘AFP.

“All suicide is complex, I do not want to reduce it only to its social and economic causality”, says the director, double Palme d’Or in Cannes with his brother Jean-Pierre.

But there is “the expression of social despair, of disarray”, recalling the importance of “paying special attention to the most vulnerable people”, continues this trained philosopher.

Alysson Jadin, 24, was found dead on Monday. Without leaving a written explanation for his gesture, according to the first available elements. But everyone around him made the connection.

Unemployed hairdresser, she had started her activity in early August, and would not have supported the closure imposed as part of the second confinement three weeks ago. “It’s very complicated morally,” Alysson said on November 10 to the RTL-TVI channel.

The image of her smile under her red hair and piercings has become familiar to Belgians.

Asked Thursday in Parliament, the Prime Minister spoke of “a person who wanted to start his business with full of ambition, full of hope”, and “was faced with a situation which is not his fault”.

This tragedy “has affected us all enormously”, “it is clear that the human and psychological impact of the second wave (of the pandemic) is greater”, recognized the Flemish liberal leader.

An “Alysson fund”

Met in Liège, Serge Schoonbroodt, client and friend of Alysson Jadin, says that the latter had told him to worry about confinement during their last meeting.

She feared that she would not be eligible for public aid because of the recent nature of her activity, without an employee.

“When Alysson contacted the services that were supposed to help her, he was told that she was non-essential … non-essential activity”, explains Serge, in a biker jacket, tattooed like his friend was, that he described as “sensitive and fragile”.

“It was necessary to justify social security payments compared to those of the previous year, which she obviously did not have”, continues the one who now wants to create an “Alysson fund” to help independent financially strangled.

In front of Alysson’s store, the tributes have multiplied over the week. Bouquets of flowers are piled up in front of the window.

For Jean-Luc Vasseur, who chairs the association of traders in Liège, at least one in ten brands will not survive this second shutdown after the spring confinement (mid-March to mid-May).

And the question of a recovery for Christmas remains a big question mark.

“If we recommend a reopening and after we take a third wave (…), it will be chaos, we will no longer speak of 10, 20 or 30% but 60% of closures”, alarmed Mr. Vasseur.


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