Category Archives: Belgium

Hundred Years Ago Guns Of August Sounded

A hundred years ago at this very moment, German troops were entering the neutral nation of Belgium as part of the famous Schliffen Plan which called for Germany to make quick fast invasion of France, compel the French to surrender, and then turn German troops eastward to confront and defeat the Russian army. The Plan was clear. Quick marches, sudden attacks, the enemy defeated, and then peace reigns in Europe. Between 1815 to 1914 there had only been three minor wars in Europe, so for someone who was a hundred years old, this person had never witnessed a major war, and was completely unfamiliar with the idea that innocent civilians would be forced to die because men were fighting a war. As German, French, Russian and English soldiers got on trains headed for combat, crowds cheered. There were wild celebrations for the announcement of war. The vast majority of those cheering were convinced the “war” would soon conclude, their soldiers would return home with victory, and then the pre-war wold would return to normal. Such were the dreams, such were the fantasies of those seeking war. Most probably, civilians in any war expect victory–for their side. The assumption is always, “we are on the right side. Since we are on God’s side, victory must ensue.” The “enemy” is some vague creature lacking in the peaceful attitudes of those going to war. After all, if our soldiers attack an enemy, it is only because the enemy initially fired and caused this conflict.

Every nation going to war assumes they are on the “right side.” It is rare for a nation to consider–what comes after victory? Or, what happens if we lose the war? Those concepts are not in the minds of soldiers or leaders seeking to defeat the enemy. Of course, the Guns of August never ceased firing for four long years of death and destruction. Then, came silence. Then came “peace.” Of course, twenty one years later came another World War. It would be interesting getting into the mind of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, what now after the tunnels of death are destroyed?

Guns Of August-Are They Upon Us?

it was exactly one hundred years ago today, that millions of soldiers from France, Germany, Austria-Hungary and England were heading toward borders in order to prevent THE ENEMY from invading their lands. It was a hundred years ago today, that the sound of war was growing louder and louder. Each nation was prepared to fight. Why? The prior month in the city of Sarajevo in the southern region of Austria Hungary, the son of the Emperor was shot by a man bent on seeking the rights of oppressed people. This set in motion a series of events that wound up causing the deaths of twenty million. At the beginning of this tragedy not a single European nation was seeking war, by the end of this tragedy, most were bent on war. Not a single European nation thought the assassination would result in anything other than a bit of anger. By the end of this sequence in which none wanted war most were ready for war.

World War I occurred at a moment in time when Europeans had enjoy one hundred years of virtual peace. Since 1815, there had only been two or three minor wars on the continent. Most leaders thought that peace could be maintained. But, in 1914, they all got trapped in a process in which a minor incident became increasingly a major event. There simply was no process to halt the march toward war. It just proceeded.

There is no question that President Vladimir Putin lacks a sense of stability. He rules over a Russia which lacks a legislature to reign him in or a media that could rip him to pieces. He has become accustomed to doing as he desires without any interference. A normal leader, after the shooting down of a civilian plane, would hesitate, not Putin. He simply does what he wishes to do. So, what can be done before the Guns of August again blast away?

1. There is need for an immediate meeting between Russia, Germany, France, England and the US. Leaders of these nations must meet together and discuss what happened in August, 1914. All must pledge the Guns of August must never fire again.

2. Leaders of Germany, France, England and the US must convey to Putin that even if he invaded Ukraine, they would not respond with military forces. However, they would immediately ban any financial transactions with Russia, ban Russian products from their lands as well as forbid the entry of any Russian. He would be allowed to seize Ukraine, but Russia would become an economically isolated nation.

From 1914 To 2014

We are gradually working our way to the anniversary of the beginning of World War I back in 1914. The actual conflict began when the son of the Emperor of Austria Hungary was murdered by a young man named, Princip who believed the Slavic people were being persecuted and had to stand up for their rights. The actual scenario resulting in war took about eight weeks to unfold as nations warned one another about getting their armies ready for war. No one actually believed the road being taken was the road to war since diplomats were talking with one another and the thought that the end result would be war appeared too crazy to even consider. British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned the Russian government it had to end the attempt to make the Crimea part of Russia. Even as he spoke, thousands of Russians were cheering in the streets about the need to aid their Slavic brothers in the Crimea against oppression by Western Fascists. Most probably the Russian people support actions by their president.

Putin feels powerful sending troops into the Crimea knowing he has control over atomic weapons of destruction and he just wants to dare the West to oppose him. He also has control over oil and gas supplies that are needed by Western European nations. In the summer of 1914, the Russian government did not believe Germany would actually go to war over someone getting shot. The road to war just seemed to get shorter and shorter as nations threatened the use of force. William Hague warned of “the real danger of a shooting conflict.”

Is this a repeat scenario??

French Fries Wars!

Many armed conflicts are raging in the world and millions of people are subject to daily brutality, even death  due to two or more groups  expressing hatred toward other humans, but recent events in Belgium and France display a new form of war that previously has not been seen in human history. This conflict entails the mystery as to which nation is entitled to the honor of inventing the “trite” which most know as a French fry. Belgians insist the fry was invented by the people of Namur in the 17t century. French historians claim to have found  evidence that as early as 1789 there are accounts of the frite being sold in Paris.

Of course, the modern fry was not exactly what was being sold two hundred years ago. And, of course, the old version was not like the McDonalds version. I wonder why anyone seeks to claim ownership of a food that has helped send so many people to an early grave??

Dominique Dominoes Continue Falling

This has not been the best year in the life of French economic and political leader, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He was charged with attempting to rape a woman in a New York hotel, he was charged by a French woman of trying to rape her a few years ago, and now-more sex news in his life! French Police Commissioner Jean Christophe Lagarde has been arrested and charged with being involved in a prostitution case. So, what does this have to do with Strauss-Kahn?

It now appears that Lagarde twice visited Dominique Strauss Kahn in America and accompanying him on these visits were some women. For some reason, Lagarde brought along a group of massage parlor women from Belgium, and apparently a few were teen agers. No one has any evidence of illegal behavior on the part of Strauss-Kahn. Of course, he normally has visits from women who work in massage parlors because he wants to solicit their ideas on how to deal with important economic issues in Europe. He needs a Belgian perspective on economics.

God bless you Dominique, what next about women in your life!

Federalism Or State Rights Is Question

The European Union is  fast approaching an historic decision as to whether the organization which lacks a strong Federal center is in need of  greater  concentration of power or whether it should fracture itself and  go the way of   individual national rights.

Greece and its financial collapse raise issues concerning the importance of  developing greater Federal control over individual states or whether the Union  eventually will disintegrate under financial pressures.

The current requirement of unanimity is simply unacceptable for a modern economic organization. Someone has to be in charge.

Belgium Government Waffles

Belgium is a divided nation which can not agree on many things, particularly the language that is spoken. There are about six million people who speak Dutch and about 4.5 million who speak the beautiful tongue of France. Historically, French speaking areas of the country were economically more advanced, but today Dutch speaking areas are economically more advanced. People have switched to vote for a political party which speaks its language. The result is an inability to form a government that would be able to govern. Belgium has been a country lacking a government for over a year. In order to help these confused and divided people we suggest:

1. Dutch spoken Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday morning.

2. French spoken, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday along with Sunday afternoon.

2. Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann should be asked to form a government. If you want division, let these two ignorant people run your country.

4. Every other week, a million people from either side take a vacation and this enables at least one side to govern for a week.

5. Ask representatives from Israel and the Palestinian Authority to join discussions. At least there won’t be any pretense of an agreement.

6. Offer 25,000 Euros to anyone who will switch languages.

Or ,in the last resort, become the 51st state of the USA.

Let’s Speak Arabic And End Deadlock!

The nation which is known as “Belgium” is divided into a Dutch speaking Flanders and a French speaking Wallonia. Historically, those from Wallonia were the most economically advanced portion of Belgium, but in the 1960s, the Dutch speaking area economically zoomed ahead and now enjoys a much higher standard of living. In June, 2010, a Flemish nationalist party, N-VA, led by Bart de Wever, gained the most seats in Parliament and Bart decided the time had come for the nation of ‘Belgium” to “evaporate.” Since that month, there has not been a meeting of Parliament and there is no new government. The Belgians just go on and on without a government for 270 days.

It is a poker game in which no one will blink. The people of Belgium have tried demonstrations, they have tried public strip tease activities but members of Parliament refuse to budge from doing anything to resolve the crisis.

In one respect, this situation exemplifies the modern world. Humans are part of global societies while many humans feel a sense of local identity. Are Belgians part of the European Union or are they members of Flanders or Wallonia? A modern dilemma.

Solve Problems Or NO SEX!

A Belgian senator, Marleen Timmerman, has come up with a wonderful idea that might lead to an end to the current deadlock in her nation between Dutch speaking Flanders and French speaking Walloon, which are at a stalemate regarding the future of their nation. Many in Walloon, which is economically richer, want to separate from poorer Walloon. Belgium has been without a government since May, 2010 and there is no end in sight. Mrs. Timmerman has a solution to the impasse: “I call on the spouses of al negotiators to withhold sex until a new government is in power.”

How about in America:

1. Corporate America refuses to hand out money to US Congressmen until they solve at least one problem–providing jobs for those unemployed.

2. Or we can all refuse to purchase any alcohol until Rush and Glenn and Bill utter one word of sense.

3. Or we can all put away our rifles and not hunt until Sarah proves she can see Russia from her window. Or, is it Egypt she sees from her window?

Niqab Not Wanted In Syria

Western nations such as France and Belgium are taking legal action to ban Muslim women from wearing the niqab in public, but a similar trend is also being felt in Arab nations. Syria, which fears fundamentalist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, has placed a ban on females wearing the niqab on college grounds, and has removed from elementary school classroom hundreds of teachers who wear the niqab. However, there are no restrictions on wearing headscarves. Ironically, as fundamentalist groups in Iran and Afghanistan impose religious restrictions on females, secular nations such as Syria, Egypt and even Lebanon are pushing for greater restrictions on the niqab. The issue has nothing to do with female rights in these Arab nations, it is a fight against religious fundamentalists who are viewed as enemies of the state.

Ironically, France and Belgium are imposing restrictions on Muslim females along with dictatorial regimes in the Middle East. In both cases, fear is the driving force to restrict the rights of women. What exactly would happen if some Muslim women wore the niqab?