My wife and I have just returned from Belgium where, courtesy of the hotel TV, we acquired a new perspective on the Iraq war. The difference between BBC, ITV and CNN on the one hand and the channels from Belgium, Germany and France on the other was stark and disturbing. The 'coalition' output, which strongly influences public opinion in Britain, comprises reports from 'embedded' reporters telling us about the mud and dust, press conferences by generals describing the tip of the iceberg they wanted us to see and studio debates among armchair pundits.
We wouldn't even have wars, if adults followed the rules they learned as children. A four-year old would be able to see how foolish grown men are behaving if you explained the war in child's terms. A boy named Germany started causing problems all over the playground that included beating up a girl named Belgium on his way to hurt a kid named France. Then England tried to beat up Germany to help France and Belgium, and when that didn't work, they called over a kid named America, and people started pounding on him, too.
Belgium! name unromantic and unpoetic, yet name that whenever uttered has in my ear a sound, in my heart an echo, such as no other assemblage of syllables, however sweet or classic, can produce. Belgium! I repeat the word, now as I sit alone near midnight. It stirs my world of the past like a summons to resurrection; the graves unclose, the dead are raised; thoughts, feelings, memories that slept, are seen by me ascending from the clods-haloed most of them-but while I gaze on their vapoury forms, and strive to ascertain definitely their outline, the sound which wakened them dies, and they sink, each and all, like a light wreath of mist, absorbed in the mould, recalled to urns, resealed in monuments.
In 2003, my mom actually gave me a call, which is funny because she works at the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, and let me know that there's a cool competition with robots across the desert. And I thought this was definitely something I wanted to be a part of. This was the first DARPA Grand Challenge.
I'm a first - I was the first person in my family born in the United States. My mom is from Croatia, and my dad is from Iran. They met at music school in Belgium. I grew up as a pianist. I was really interested in piano and sort of discovered that I was a writer when I was about 13 and started writing.
At a time in their lives when their days and nights should have been filled with innocent adventure, love, and the lessons of the workaday world, they were fighting in the most primitive conditions possible across the bloodied landscape of France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and the coral islands of the Pacific,
By the same right under which France took Flanders, Lorraine and Alsace, and will sooner or later take Belgium -- by that same right Germany takes over Schleswig; it is the right of civilization as against barbarism, of progress as against stability. Even if the agreements were in Denmark's favor -- which is very doubtful-this right carries more weight than all the agreements, for it is the right of historical evolution.
For the jihadists, Muslim women who embrace Western mores, and wear tight jeans or mini skirts, are hated symbols of corruption that need to be eradicated. For the ideological mentors of Breivik, a similar disturbance comes from the burqa, which is banned in France and Belgium, partly thanks to their efforts.
There are ... other business societies - England, Holland, Belgium and France, for instance. But ours [the United States] is the only culture now extant in which business so completely dominates the national scene that sports, crime, sex, death, philanthropy and Easter Sunday are money-making propositions.
Feminism was recognized by the average man as a conflict in which it was impossible for a man, as a chivalrous gentleman, as a respecter of the rights of little nations (like little Belgium), as a highly evolved citizen of a highly civilized community, to refuse the claim of this better half to self-determination.
God has chosen little nations as the vessels by which He carries His choicest wines to the lips of humanity to rejoice their hearts, to exalt their vision, to strengthen their faith, and if we had stood by when two little nations (Belgium and Serbia) were being crushed and broken by the brutal hands of barbarians, our shame would have rung down the everlasting ages.
David Lloyd George
WhatsApp provides phone-number-based messaging, and people asked, 'Isn't that what SMS is?' Yes, but SMS is expensive, antiquated, and what WhatsApp did was modernize and level that playing field. For example, in Europe, if France wants to talk to Belgium, it's extraordinary costly because of border and telecom charges.
With the sort of power these new processes granted them, the members of the brotherhood were in the perfect position to seize power. In any other country, a massive, bloody war would have ensued. Horrors would have stalked the land, unholy amalgamations of flesh would have fought on the fields, and the nights would have new, unspeakable terrors. Fortunately, this is Belgium we're talking about.
Someday, I have no doubt, the dead from today's wars will be seen with a similar sense of sorrow at needless loss and folly as those millions of men who lie in the cemeteries of France and Belgium - and tens of millions of Americans will feel a similar revulsion for the politicians and generals who were so spendthrift with others' lives.
If you look at the Oscars and look at the Best Foreign Language series, you see that the films are coming from everywhere - from Quebec, Israel, Poland, and Belgium. It's not the usual French, German, etc. This category is opening up to socially engaged and political films. I think we're going to see a cross over to the main categories also. It's part of this global environment now and I'm grateful that the Academy is having this window on world cinema.
My parents, of Belgian-German extraction, were Belgian nationals who had taken refuge in England during the war. They returned to Belgium in 1920, and I grew up in the cosmopolitan harbour city of Antwerp, at a time when education in the Flemish part of the country was still half French and half Flemish.
Christian de Duve
Remember back then we thought about al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan and a few other places? well, we've seen al Qaeda metastasize. It is now a global scourge. And you have the ascendancy of ISIL. The combination of those two groups -- their appeal to the lone wolfs and we see them acting in Belgium and in France and in Canada and the United States so the threat factors and the nature of the threats are far more complicated and far more serious today than on September 12, 2001.
As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the "capital of the free world." But it seems to me that this great city (Brussels), which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.
The French army had crowned a campaign of extraordinary successes by defeating the Austrians at Jemappes and pressing on to occupy a large swathe of Belgium and threaten Holland. For Britain, this changed everything: a French republic that spread across the North Sea coast meant the entire coastline facing Britain would be in Republican hands.
Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, the (Rothschild) brothers conducted important transactions on behalf of the governments of England, France, Prussia, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Naples, Portugal, Brazil, various German states and smaller countries. They were the personal bankers of many of the crowned heads of Europe. They made large investments, through agents, in markets as distant as the United States, India, Cuba and Australia.
G. Edward Griffin
One of the most bitter complaints of craft brewers is that big beer wins consumers by introducing beers whose names resemble the names of actual independent beers. After New Belgium came out with a popular beer called Sunshine Wheat, MillerCoors, through its Leinenkugel brand, came out with a beer called Sunset Wheat.
There was a sound of revelry by night, And Belgium's capital had gathered then Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men. A thousand hearts beat happily; and when Music arose with its voluptuous swell, Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again, And all went merry as a marriage bell. But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!
The large, gaping flaws in the construction of the stories-mad wives in the attic, strange apparitions in Belgium-are a representation of the life she could not face; these gothic subterfuges represent the mind at a breaking point, frantic to find any way out. If the flaws are only to be attributed to the practicce of popular fiction of the time, we cannot then explain the large amount of genuine feeling that goes into them. They stand for the hidden wishes of an intolerable life.
After a short period spent in Brussels as a guest of a neurological institute, I returned to Turin on the verge of the invasion of Belgium by the German army, Spring 1940, to join my family. The two alternatives left then to us were either to emigrate to the United States, or to pursue some activity that needed neither support nor connection with the outside Aryan world where we lived. My family chose this second alternative. I then decided to build a small research unit at home and installed it in my bedroom.
It was a heavenly summer, the summer in which France fell and the British Expeditionary Force was evacuated from Dunkirk. Leaves were never such an intense and iridescent green; sunlight glinted on flower-studded meadows as the Germans encircled the Maginot Line and overran not only France but Belgium and Holland. Birdsong filled the air in the lull between bursts of gunfire and accompanied the fleeing refugees who blocked the roads. It was as though the weather was preparing a glorious requiem for the death of Europe.
Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on earth. According to the United Nations' Human Development Report (2005), they are also the healthiest, as indicated by life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality. . . . Conversely, the fifty nations now ranked lowest in terms of the United Nations' human development index are unwaveringly religious.
SHE GO TO SCHOOL AND SHE WORK OUT, I TOLD HER RUN THAT DIPPIN', TIRES RIPPIN' THROUGH THE GROUND AND I'LL BE RIGHT BACK GETTIN' DOUGH, SHE'S TRYNA FIGURE OUT WHAT I'M INVOLVED WITH SHE ACTIN' LIKE SHE SAD, ATTITUDE CLOGGED, SO I PIPED THAT MAN, I'M SIPPIN' ON SOME SHIT THAT IS VERY STRONG AND IT GAVE THE KID HICCUPS AIN'T NOTHIN' WRONG WITH THESE GIRLS GETTIN' PICKED UP DAMN, I CAN'T KEEP UP MY ZIPPER COZY IN MY SLIPPERS, KILLIN' SHIT OFF, DO IT OFF THE RICHTER GO AND TAKE A PICTURE IF YOU NEED A VISUAL GOT THE TYPE OF GRIND SOMETHING YOU CAN LIVE FOR SCREAMIN' SO LOUD IN HOPES THAT YOU HEAR, THOUGH I GET IT BACK-TO-BACK LIKE CAP SPARROW YOUNG BOY SO RAW, CAN'T HAVE KIDS THOUGH OUT IN BELGIUM, MADE SOME EUROS GO THE WRONG WAY, MAY SEE AN ARROW BUT ON THE WRONG DAY, THINGS COULD GET TERRIBLE THEN THE ROAD BECAME SO NARROW I CAN'T THINK WHO THE FUCK MY HERO
I shall pledge myself to the Abolitionist cause, because I owe my life to a self-freed slave and because I must begin somewhere. I hear my father-in-law's response: 'Oho, fine, Whiggish sentiments, Adam. But don't tell me about justice! Ride to Tennessee on an ass and convince the rednecks that they are merely white-washed negroes and their negroes that they are black-washed Whites! Sail to the Old World, tell 'em their imperial slaves' rights are as inalienable as the Queen of Belgium's! Oh, you'll grow hoarse, poor and gray in caucuses! You'll be spat on, shot at, lynched, pacified with medals, spurned by backwoodsmen! Crucified! Naive, dreaming Adam. He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain and his family must pay along with him! and only as you gasp your dying breath shall you understand, your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean!' Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?
Europe was not born in the early Middle Ages. No common identity in 1000 linked Spain to Russia, Ireland to the Byzantine empire (in what is now the Balkans, Greece and Turkey), except the very weak sense of community that linked Christian polities together. There was no common European culture, and certainly not any Europe-wide economy. There was no sign whatsoever that Europe would, in a still rather distant future, develop economically and militarily, so as to be able to dominate the world. Anyone in 1000 looking for future industrialization would have put bets on the economy of Egypt, not of the Rhineland and Low Countries, and that of Lancashire would have seemed like a joke. In politico-military terms, the far south-east and south-west of Europe, Byzantium and al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), provided the dominant states of the Continent, whereas in western Europe the Carolingian experiment (see below, Chapters 16 and 17) had ended with the break-up of Francia (modern France, Belgium and western Germany), the hegemonic polity for the previous four hundred years. The most coherent western state in 1000, southern England, was tiny. In fact, weak political systems dominated most of the Continent at the end of our period, and the active and aggressive political systems of later on in the Middle Ages were hardly visible. National identities, too, were not widely prominent in 1000, even if one rejects the association between nationalism and modernity made in much contemporary scholarship.
People walk the paths of the gardens below, and the wind sings anthems in the hedges, and the big old cedars at the entrance to the maze creak. Marie-Laure imagines the electromagnetic waves traveling into and out of Michel's machine, bending around them, just as Etienne used to describe, except now a thousand times more crisscross the air than when he lived - maybe a million times more. Torrents of text conversations, tides of cell conversations, of televisions programs, of e-mails, vast networks of fiber and wire interlaced above and beneath the city, passing through buildings, arcing between transmitters in Metro tunnels, between antennas atop buildings, from lampposts with cellular transmitters in them, commercials for Carrefour and Evian and prebaked toaster pastries flashing into space and back to earth again, I am going to be late and Maybe we should get reservations? and Pick up avocados and What did he say? and ten thousand I miss yous, fifty thousand I love yous, hate mail and appointment reminders and market updates, jewelry ads, coffee ads, furniture ads flying invisibly over the warrens of Paris, over the battlefields and tombs, over the Ardennes, over the Rhine, over Belgium and Denmark, over the scarred and ever-shifting landscape we call nations. And is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel those paths? That her father and Etienne and Madame Manec and the German boy named Werner Pfennig might harry the sky in flocks, like egrets, like terns, like starlings? That great shuttles of souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough? They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it. Every hour, she thinks, someone for whom the war was memory falls out of the world. We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.