The standard’s symbol of a maiden comes a 1388 poem by Bouden or Baudouin van der Loore, De maghet of Ghend (The Maiden of Ghent), a poem of 240-odd verses, which allegorically describes a war between the city of Ghent and Lodewijk van Maele, Count of Flanders fought between 1379 and 1385.
In a dream, the poet sees a beautiful arbor, located in the middle of a wilderness where two rivers come together: an allusion to the city of Ghent. In the arbor is seated a graceful lady, resplendent in black fur and wearing on her right arm fine gems spelling out the letters: G, H, E, N and D. The maiden is accompanied by a silver lion with golden crown and necklace—the defender of the city. In a clear voice, the maiden sings a heavenly song. But the maiden is soon threatened by a gang of soldiers who covet her purity and her freedom. Across the river appears the leader of the army who turns out to be none other than the father of the beleaguered virgin, i.e., the Count of Flanders. On his banner, he bears a black lion rampant on gold. The poet now warns the lady that they are surprised and surrounded by many enemies. She replies that she has much good company which can come to the rescue if necessary. And when the poet looks around he sees emerging out of the mists from the North East, Christ, St. Jacob, St. Bavo, St. Macharius, and from the East came Saint George and Saint John, and from all directions, all the saints to whom were dedicated in Ghent churches from their exact geographical directions. With the protection of this heavenly host, the maiden has nothing to fear. Still, she hopes for a peaceful end to the conflict with her father. The poet, now awakened, closes with a short prayer to God and the Virgin and all the saints to save the maiden and reconcile her with her father.
The election of Islamic Party municipal councilors in several towns in Belgian is provoking controversy, as the newly elected officials do not bother to conceal their intentions to use democratic means to overthrow democracy and turn Belgium into an Islamic state operating on the basis of Sharia law.
The embarrassing little accidents of life afflict even royal persons. Above, King Albert II of Belgium finds his sword stuck in drain cover on his way to attend mass at St. Gudule-Cathedral in Brussels.
A hobbyist with a metal detector has found a cache of ancient Celtic and Germanic coins in a cornfield in the southern city of Maastricht. The city says the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins are dated to the middle of the first century B.C. The hobbyist, Paul Curfs, 47, found several coins this spring and called attention to the find, which eventually led to an archaeological investigation by Amsterdam’s Free University. ..
Nico Roymans, the archaeologist who led the academic investigation of the find, believes the gold coins in the cache were minted by a tribe called the Eburones that Caesar claimed to have wiped out in 53 B.C. after they conspired with other groups in an attack that killed 6,000 Roman soldiers.
The Eburones “put up strong resistance to Caesar’s journeys of conquest,” Roymans said.
The silver coins were made by tribes further to the north – possible evidence of cooperation against Caesar, he said.
Both coin types have triple spirals on the front, a common Celtic symbol.
The cover of the 7th edition of Politieke Geschiedenis van Belgie [Political History of Belgium] features an illustration of a merged Lion and Cock. This graphic representation of an animal with two aspects: the head, arms and a leg of the Flemish lion, and the tail, wing, and claw of the Walloon cock symbolizes the Federation of Belgium: a country divided by language.
100 days have gone by since the general election on June 10th and rival French and Flemish-speaking parties have remained unable to form a government.
The Economist has already editorialized in favor of dissolving the Belgian Federation. September 6th:
The prime minister designate thinks Belgians have nothing in common except “the king, the football team, some beers”, and he describes their country as an “accident of history”. In truth, it isn’t. When it was created in 1831, it served more than one purpose. It relieved its people of various discriminatory practices imposed on them by their Dutch rulers. And it suited Britain and France to have a new, neutral state rather than a source of instability that might, so soon after the Napoleonic wars, set off more turbulence in Europe.
The upshot was neither an unmitigated success nor an unmitigated failure. Belgium industrialised fast; grabbed a large part of Africa and ruled it particularly rapaciously; was itself invaded and occupied by Germany, not once but twice; and then cleverly secured the headquarters of what is now the European Union. Along the way it produced Magritte, Simenon, Tintin, the saxophone and a lot of chocolate. Also frites. No doubt more good things can come out of the swathe of territory once occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Belgae. For that, though, they do not need Belgium: they can emerge just as readily from two or three new mini-states, or perhaps from an enlarged France and Netherlands.
Brussels can devote itself to becoming the bureaucratic capital of Europe. It no longer enjoys the heady atmosphere of liberty that swirled outside its opera house in 1830, intoxicating the demonstrators whose protests set the Belgians on the road to independence. The air today is more fetid. With freedom now taken for granted, the old animosities are ill suppressed. Rancour is ever-present and the country has become a freak of nature, a state in which power is so devolved that government is an abhorred vacuum. In short, Belgium has served its purpose. A praline divorce is in order.
And AP reports that this week, someone tried to sell Belgium on Ebay:
Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at eBay.be this week was an unusual item: “For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts … free premium: the king and his court (costs not included).”
The odd ad was posted by one disgruntled Belgian in protest at his country’s political crisis which reached a 100-day landmark Tuesday with no end in sight to the squabbling between Flemish and Walloon politicians.
“I wanted to attract attention,” said Gerrit Six, the teacher and former journalist who posted the ad. “You almost have to throw rock through a window to get attention for Belgium.”
Six placed the advertisement on Saturday, offering free delivery, but pointing out that the country was coming secondhand and that potential buyers would have to take on over $300 billion (euro220 billion) in national debt.
Like many of Belgium’s 10 million citizens, Six is exasperated that the power struggle between the county’s French- or Dutch-speaking political parties has left Belgium in political limbo since June 10 elections.
Demands for more autonomy from the Dutch-speaking Flemish are resisted by the French-speaking Walloons, making it impossible to form a government coalition and triggering concern the kingdom is on the verge of a breakup.
Six decided to vent his frustration through the Internet ad.
“My proposal was to make it clear that Belgium was valuable, it’s a masterpiece and we have to keep it,” he told Associated Press Television News. “It’s my country and I’m taking care of it, and with me are millions of Belgians.”
Barcepundit reports a pretty spectacular election promise made by Tania Derveaux, a protest candidate for the Belgian senate running on behalf of the NEE (I think that translates as: “No!” -JDZ) Party. She is pledging to deliver 40,000 oral sexual services, either in person, or in the computer game Second Life.
The young lady’s campaign promise is clearly intended as a response to what her party believes are exaggerated promises of new jobs by other Belgian parties, so I would not necessarily count on receiving that promised service from Tania (live or on-line) if I were you.
She will probably get Bill Clinton’s endorsement though.