Admitting that the gesture is probably meant with the best of intentions, Belgium is dutifully offering its thanks for the outpouring of images of solidarity fries.
French fries, called “chips” in old-timey anglophone countries like Britain and “frites” in francophone nations, have long been associated with Belgium, and since the deadly attacks in Brussels on Tuesday morning, social media has been flooded with images of them.
“Cool, thanks everyone for the picture that was literally pilfered from a McDonald’s ad, I feel better, yeah, no, really,” wrote Jules Baert, a Brussels tax attorney, on his Facebook page.
Anouk Magnette, a chemistry student from Liege in the east of the country, was less restrained.
“A photo of a deep-fried potato to comfort me and my countrymen in our darkest hour?” she said. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Should we have demonstrated our solidarity with the U.S. after 9/11 by sharing cartoon hamburgers?” she added. “Should we have shown our sadness for Japan after the Fukushima disaster by tweeting GIFs of wailing sushi?”
As of Wednesday afternoon, images of anthropomorphic fries were being replaced with despondent-looking bottles of beer, and one social media and solidarity expert said that by the end of the week, a GIF of Jean-Claude Van Damme kickboxing an ISIS member would likely become the most popular way to support Belgium.