Patrick Dewael, the Belgian minister of the Interior, has forbidden the wearing of football shirts displaying the numbers 18 and 88. According to the Liberal minister the number 18 stands for “Adolf Hitler” and the number 88 for “Heil Hitler.” A is the 1st letter of the alphabet, H the 8th.
The numbers 37 (Che Guevara) or 13 (Mao) are not forbidden. Neither are the popular T-shirts with Che Guevara’s portrait.
One reader in a Brussels paper wondered whether citizens living in houses with the numbers 18 and 88 will be blacklisted as Nazis by the authorities. Young people born in 1988, who have email addresses containing their year of birth, are worried too.