Category Archives: Belgium

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?

Colonialism To Blame For African Problems?

European nations swept into Africa in the nineteenth century, seized control of areas, created “nations” that did not accord with ethnic or tribal realities, and then left the continent–at least, officially– in the 1960s and 1970s. There are some who argue current poverty or ineffective government in Africa is simply the “colonial heritage.” Leaders like Robert Mugambe in Zimbabwe, have driven productive people from their society in order to enrich a small clique associated with the government while proclaiming to the world any problems are the result of their former colonial rulers. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a nation with vast mineral resources, it has beautiful landscape that would attract tourists, it has intelligent people, but it has been plagued with more corrupt after another corrupt government. Yes, the American CIA influenced political events in the Congo fifty years ago, but that was a half century ago, not today. Blaming the past does not explain away current crooks and thieves who loot their own people while blaming the Europeans for all problems.

Congo Foreign Minister Alexis Mwamba, said it correctly: “fifty years later we cannot say if things are not going well it’s the fault of Belgium or Leopold II.” It is time African leaders assumed responsibility for their mistakes. It is time to put on trial African leaders who rob their own people. It is time to cease blaming “colonialism” for the thief in your home.

Sad Times For Belgian Catholic Church

Thee is a sadness in each new report concerning allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. One is sometimes left with the impression that each and every priest has been engaged in sexual abuse. As in any organization, a minority has created an image. Police raided headquarters of the Catholic Church in Belgium, seized computers and files and left with the sense a new story of sexual abuse is about to emerge. A police spokesperson said: “the police have received accusations of connected with sexual abuse of children.” As one who worked in a Catholic college with some wonderful people, the tragedy is failure to be open concerning those who abused children which only resulted in greater harm than good.

The real question is when will the church develop a strategy that enables this issue to be addressed and resolved once and for all.