Record number of migrating spoonbills

This video from Belgium says about itself:

Migration: spoonbills – Fonteintjes, Zeebrugge, 29/03/14

Group of spoonbills migrating over land, hesitating to land on the pools next to the counting station.

According to Dutch site, on 27 December 2016 844 spoonbills, migrating to the south, passed the Digue de Malo near Dunkirk in France.

This is a record number.

Belgian King Leopold II’s crimes in Congo, statue in Ostend

Statue of King Leopold II in Ostend, Belgium

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

More explanation at controversial statue of King Leopold II

Today, 07:58

Ostend [city in Belgium] has provided a controversial statue of King Leopold II with a plaque with more information about the monarch. The new text now also focuses on his bloody colonization of Congo.

Leopold at the end of the 19th century on his own initiative ordered to colonize an area in Africa, 75 times larger than Belgium. He ran the Congo Free State as a private colony with brute force: the local population was exploited, tortured and maimed.

In Ostend Leopold, however, was honoured with an equestrian statue in 1931, flanked by statues of Belgian fishermen who thanked him for his support of the city and Congolese who honoured him “for the liberation from slavery by the Arabs.”

Raids by Arab slave traders were only in the extreme east of Congo. Similar to today’s ‘humanitarian’ pretexts for inhuman imperialist wars, King Leopold II abused these slave raids in the extreme east of Congo, for a bloody war to conquer the whole country; making the people in all of Congo technically not ‘slaves’, but forced labourers.

A group of residents of Ostend has been conducting action against the statue. Thus, in 2004 they sawed off the hand of a Congolese in the group of statues, a reference to the brutal punishment that was often applied to the indigenous population [under King Leopold II]. Also they repeatedly removed an explanatory plaque.

African's hand cut off, as a protest against King Leopold II's atrocities in Congo


“The colonial policy until today still causes big controversy” the new information board says, which two Congo experts have co-written. The severed hand of the statue is explicitly mentioned, though there is no further explanation of its meaning. However, it is noted that many of the investments at that time in Brussels and Ostend were paid by the profits from the colony.

The Councillor of Culture hopes that the activists will now leave the statue alone. “I especially hope that the plaque this time will stay. That always costs us time and money. We do have bigger problems in our city,” he told VRT TV.

Whether this will actually happen is the question: “I heard that they think the text is not sharp enough, they are only moderately enthusiastic”.

J.P. Coen

The affair is similar to the vicissitudes of the statue of J.P. Coen in Hoorn [town in the Netherlands]. While he was Governor General of the Dutch East Indies he increased his grip on the country with bloody campaigns against the local population.

After protests, the text on the pedestal of the statue was adapted in 2012. Now Coen’s crimes in the East are also mentioned.

This video says about itself:

[Belgium, documentary short film ] Sikitiko, The King’s Hand

26 July 2010

In 2004 a mysterious group abducts the hand of a statue, part of a monument for King Leopold II. This as an act of political activism. They would catalyse a surreal chain of events, in the best Belgian tradition. A little girl reconstructs the story…

Selected for Interfilm KUKI International filmfestival 2011, BCCN Barcelona 2011, FestivalAdiovisual Barranquilla 2011, FestivalAdiovisual Medellin 2011

‘Sikitiko’ is a short by Pieter De Vos, licensed under creative commons.

Belgian racist violence against Turkish women

This English language video says about itself (translated from Dutch):

[Belgian racist party] Vlaams Belang honours war criminals

16 July 2010

Vlaams Belang MEP Philip Claeys together with other European far-right and fascist parties visited a Japanese monument (and graveyard) which is a tribute to many convicted war criminals under the Emperor Hirohito regime. That regime rallied to the side of the Nazis [in World War II] and was responsible for rape, torture, and hundreds of thousands [rather: millions] of deaths.

That was then. Today, a consequence of Vlaams Belang Islamophobic propaganda.

Translated from Belgian (right wing) daily Het Laatste Nieuws:

He spat at us and shouted, “Take that rag off your animal head”


1/09/16 – 05u00

A school in Leopoldsburg has given a pupil’s father an entry ban because he attacked three women of Turkish origin during the enrolment of new pupils. He pushed a disabled woman to the ground, to her sister with a headscarf on he screamed “that she had to get that rag off her animal head.” “We don’t tolerate racism here”, says the headmistress.

“Take that rag off your animal head! And if you do not speak Dutch, then go back to Turkey.” 31 year old told Hilal was told that by another parent, when she went to enroll her son Muhammad (6) in his new school in Leopoldsburg.

That father also pushed Hilal’s disabled sister to the ground, spat on them and kicked anyone who tried to help them. The headmistress, who saw everything happen, intervenes decisively: “This is pure racism. That man is no longer welcome in our school until further notice.”

Belgian soldiers in neonazi paramilitary gang Soldiers of Odin

This video from Britain says about itself:

25 May 2012

World In Action documentary exposing Combat 18.

These two videos are the sequels.

In 2006, there was a scandal in Belgium. Several Belgian army soldiers turned out to be members of the terrorist nazi paramilitary gang Blood and Honour/Combat 18 (aka Bloed, Bodem, Eer & Trouw, BBET, as their magazine was called).

Now, a similar scandal.

Translated from Belga news agency in Belgium today:

Soldiers have to answer to membership of vigilante Soldiers of Odin

03-08-16, 06.40u

Belgian State Security and military intelligence ADIV have since early this year the Belgian branch of Soldiers of Odin in their sight. This write [daily] Het Belang van Limburg and [weekly] Knack today. The extreme right-wing group has international ramifications and is monitored because they have at least four active military men among their members.

Soldiers of Odin was founded by the Finnish neonazi Mika Ranta. The organization has local chapters in various countries, also in Belgium since January. Soldiers of Odin claims to defend Western values and sees itself as an extension of police on the streets.

Asylum seekers

The group opposes the influx of refugees. Four soldiers are members of the organization and have recently been called to account by their commanding officers. The intelligence services also follow two derivative organizations closely: Sons of Odin Antwerp and Warriors of Thor.