Little egret feeding, video

This video is about a little egret, catching small fish.

17-year-old Niels Schild made this video near Kruibeke, along the Scheldt river, not far from Antwerp in Belgium.

Terrorism, open letter to French President

This 16 November video from the USA is called American Ahmadiyya Muslims condemn Paris Shooting.

From in Belgium:

President Hollande, you’ve got mail from Brussels!

Mon 16/11/2015 – 14:27 David Van Reybrouck; translation: Colin Clapson

The celebrated Flemish author David Van Reybrouck has written an open letter to President Hollande of France attacking his choice of language during a speech to the French people following Friday’s unprecedented terrorist attacks in Paris.

Dear Mr President,

That was a rather foolhardy choice of words in your speech on Saturday afternoon when you repeatedly spoke of an “act of war” perpetrated by a “terrorist army”. You said:

“What happened in Paris and Saint-Denis is an act of war and faced with war a country must take the appropriate measures. It was an act committed by a terrorist army, Daesh (IS or Isil), against what we are, a free country that speaks with the entire planet, an act of war that was prepared and plan[n]ed from without with support from within that is now the subject of an investigation. It was an act of total barbarity.”

I am in total agreement with those last words, but the rest of your speech is a horrible, nearly word perfect repetition of the words of GW Bush to the US Congress shortly after the 9/11 attacks: “The enemies of freedom have committed an act of war against our country.”

The consequences of those historic words are well known. A head of state qualifying an event as an act of war is obliged to come up with an appropriate response. … This was followed by the totally mad invasion of Iraq, without UN mandate – for the sole reason that the US suspected it possessed weapons of mass destruction.

That was the main pretext, but not the only pretext.

The other pretext were the lies about Iraq supposedly being involved in the 9/11 atrocities in the USA.

The United States Bush’s administration’s third pretext, turning up when the two other pretexts had turned out to be lies, was ‘Saddam Hussein is a dictator violating human rights’.

True in itself, but NOT a pretext for aggressive war violating international law, as:

1. Saddam Hussein committed his worst crimes when he was still an ally of the United States Reagan-Rumsfeld-Cheney administration.

2. Under George W Bush’s occupation of Iraq, human rights violations became even worse than under Saddam.

3. Recently, Iraq warmongers Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair both confessed that they had never been in favour of democracy in Iraq and the Middle East; contrary to their March 2003 war propaganda lies.

None were found, but the invasion led to the total destabilisation of the region that we witness to this day. When US troops left the country in 2011 a power vacuum ensued. When civil war broke out in neighbouring Syria shortly afterwards as part of the fallout from the Arab Spring it became clear to all how destabilising America’s military intervention had been. In the North West of a dismembered Iraq and in the East of a Syria shot to bits there was room, next to the Syrian army and the FSA for the establishment of a third, major player: Isil, Isis or IS.

In short, without Bush’s idiotic invasion of Iraq there would never have been any talk of IS. Millions of us demonstrated against the invasion in 2003. I was among them. It was a worldwide protest. We were right. Not that we were able to look twelve years ahead into the future. We were not that clairvoyant. But now we do realise it: what happened in Paris on Friday night is an indirect consequence of the war rhetoric that your colleague Bush employed in September 2001.

And what do you do? How do you respond within 24 hours of the attacks? You use exactly the same terminology that your US counterpart at the time employed. You are making wine from the same barrel.

You walked straight into it, with your eyes open, Mr President. You did it because you could feel the hot breath of Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen in your neck. True, you already had a reputation for being a weakling. Elections are on the way on 6 and 13 December, even though these are only regional elections, following the attacks they will be dominated by national security issues. You walked straight into it, because you gave the terrorists what they wanted: a declaration of war. With great pleasure you accepted their invitation for a Jihad. In your attempt to respond in a forthright fashion you are risking an escalation of the spiral of violence. To me this doesn’t seem like a good idea.

You spoke of a “terrorist army”. First of all, no such thing exists. It’s a contradiction in terms. A “terrorist army”, that’s a bit like a bulimic diet. Countries and groups can have armies, when they fail to establish one they can opt for terrorism. This means that they commit incidental actions aimed at a maximum psychological impact instead of a structural, military deployment of power involving geopolitical ambitions.

But an army? Let’s be clear: so far we do not know if the perpetrators are returning Syria fighters or people dispatched from Syria on purpose. We do not know if the attacks were planned in the caliphate or in European suburbs. Even though there are indications for a Syrian master plan (the near coincidence of the attacks in Lebanon and the Russian plane crash), it strikes me that the IS communique came late in the day and hardly contained any elements that had not circulated on the internet. Is this a question of co-ordination or recuperation?

For equal measure, these could be individuals who have simply run amok, probably chiefly French nationals who have returned from Syria where they became experienced in explosives and fire arms and where they were submerged in a totalitarian ideology, crypto-theory and acts of war. They became monsters, but not an army.

The IS communique spoke of locations that had meticulously been chosen, your own services stress the professionalism of the perpetrators. As far as that is concerned you both speak the same language. But the facts beg to differ. The three who went to the Stade de France where you were attending a friendly against Germany seemed amateurs. They clearly wanted to get inside, possibly to launch an attack against your person; it is possible. But whoever blows himself up next to a McDonald’s and only manages to kill one other person is a poor terrorist. People who need three suicide attacks to kill four others, while minutes later a human mass of 80,000 souls sets itself in motion are bunglers. Someone who together with four others wants to exterminate a concert hall but fails to block the emergency exit is no strategic genius. Someone who steps from a car are shoots at unarmed, innocent civilians on pavement cafes isn’t a soldier schooled in tactics, but a coward, a bastard, a loner who has completely gone off the rails and who has aligned his fate with several other completely derailed individuals. It’s a pack of lone wolves.

Your analysis about a “terrorist army” does not hold water. Your term “act of war” is exceptionally biased, even though this bellicose rhetoric has unashamedly also been adopted by the Dutch Premier Mark Rutte in the Netherlands and Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon in Belgium. In your attempt to placate your nation you threaten to make the world less safe. In your attempt to use forceful language, you have shown your weakness.

Other forms of firmness to bellicose language do exit. Immediately after the attacks in Norway Prime Minister Stoltenberg unreservedly called for “greater democracy, greater openness and greater participation”. In your speech you spoke of freedom. You should also have pointed to two other values of the French Republic: equality and fraternity. I believe there is greater need of these at this minute than of your questionable war rhetoric.

David Van Reybrouck is the author of the award-winning “Congo. A History”. He is a writer of prose, poetry and drama as well as an essayist.

David Van Reybrouck also wrote Dear rest of the world on the Paris crimes and politicians’reactions to it.

Guests at the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel in Antwerp because suspicious on Tuesday night and called the police. They thought that one of the hotel’s guests had been acting suspiciously, but the suspicious person turned out to be no one other than the Red Devils’ [Belgian international football team] star Radja Nainggolan: here.

Radja Nainggolan is of Christian Flemish and Christian Indonesian ancestry.

Governments against refugees

Pro-refugee demonstration

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Belgium restricts residence rights of refugees

Today, 15:08

Recognised refugees will no longer have permanent residents’ rights in Belgium. They may be returned to their homeland in the future if the situation improves there.

According to the theory of NATO governments, the situation in, eg, Afghanistan, supposedly ‘improves’ when NATO soldiers invade that country. No matter what the practice of these NATO armed forces in Afghanistan etc. is.

For the first five years the refugees will get a temporary status. They will get an unlimited residency status when the situation in their home country within five years will not have changed.

Until now, recognized refugees were given permanent status in Belgium. That meant they no longer had to return to their countries of origin.

New statement

Newcomers now also have to sign a ‘Declaration to respect the European rights, duties, values and freedoms’. Anyone who refuses this loses immediately the possibility to become Belgian.

In the statement are included fundamental rights such as equality between men and women and freedom of speech.

Belgian bosses, with the complicity of the Belgian government, again and again violate equality between men and women by paying women less than men. But I don’t expect the Belgian government politicians will now deprive these bosses, or themselves, of their Belgian passports.

Belgian racist party Vlaams Belang propagates anti-women sexism. However, probably the government will not take Vlaams Belang people‘s Belgian passports away from them.

The Belgian government violates free speech by arresting hundreds of anti-nuclear weapons demonstrators near NATO headquarters or military bases. Again, don’t expect these politicians to deprive themselves of their passports.

Refugees living in tents in the Maximilianpark in Brussels, Belgium, photo: AFP

According to Dutch NOS TV today, the Swedish government has decided to make the situation worse for refugees as well. A cowardly reaction to pressure by racists; like the school sword murderer of Trollhättan.

By Martin Kreikenbaum and Andre Damon:

Germany to deport refugees in military cargo planes

23 October 2015

As growing numbers of refugees seek asylum from the wars raging in Syria and Iraq, governments throughout Europe are moving to seal their borders, slash social assistance for migrants, and carry out mass deportations.

This week, the Bild newspaper reported that the German government plans to use military aircraft to deport tens of thousands of refugees whose requests for asylum have been denied. According to the newspaper, the government is planning to use C-160 military transport planes to deport nearly 200,000 people who have been declared by the German state to be “economic migrants” and ineligible for asylum.

Pied wheatear on Shetland islands

This video says about itself:

Pied Wheatear – Oenanthe pleschanka – Bonte tapuit / Mortsel – Belgium / 11-11-2014

Catching flies in the evening sun, on a pile of manure.

Shetland Wildlife in Scotland reports on Twitter that yesterday at Vaylie they saw a first winter female pied wheatear.

This species, breeding in Asia and the southeast of Europe, is rare in western Europe.

Belgian police arrest Muslim student for joking

Mohamed Ouaamari

Translated from Nathalie De Bisschop in Belgium:

Student who was arrested for tweet: “People are so afraid of Islam that they don’t see humour”

October 1, 2015

“I still really do not good feel good about it,” says Mohamed Ouaamari to newsmonkey. The 24-year-old student Digital Design was arrested in Antwerp yesterday because he was suspected of terrorism after a tweet that was meant to be funny. “I regret that it has caused so much rumour and that people became scared, but my tweet really had nothing to do with terrorism”, says the young Muslim. “Sometimes we need a bit more perspective.”

A practical joke with hidden cameras, it seemed at first sight. “I did not quite understand what was happening. I really thought it was a joke,” Mohamed Ouaamari tells newsmonkey. “At the moment they handcuff you, you realize quickly that it is not a joke.”

It all began with a playful remark on Twitter. The young Muslim of Moroccan ancestry was at a student event about networking and started to tweet. He asked for some advice from his followers: “Has anyone any networking tips? To call loudly “Allahu akbar” probably is not a good way to break the ice” he joked.

“Allahu akbar” (God is the greatest) is a phrase often used by all kinds of Muslims. It has nothing to do with terrorism. Just like if people from Christian backgrounds uses phrases like “Good Lord” or “God bless you” that does not make them terrorists.

Also, Mohamed Ouaamari’s tweet did not advocate using “Allahu akbar”.

One of his followers challenged the young man, all smiling and joking, to try. “Tomorrow in the news: 25 dead and 93 injured after mass hysteria in the ING building,” Ouaamari tweeted back.

Some concerned citizens called the emergency services, which caused police intervention to evacuate the building. Ouaamari had to come to the police station where he was interrogated for hours and then he was allowed to leave without charges.

Context and regret

A joke can be misinterpreted, the student fully understands. Quite apart from the fact that the tweet was humorous, there is, according to the student also nothing wrong with that. “When I posted my tweet, I did not suspect for a second that it could be interpreted as a terrorist attack,” responds Ouaamari. “I actually had Mecca in mind, where this year many pilgrims died.”

“I regret that it has caused so much fuss,” Ouaamari adds. ” … I wish I could have avoided that.” The ambitious Antwerp young man has still not completely recovered from what happened to him. “It seems like a cool story, but that it is absolutely not.”


Meanwhile, the hashtag #JeSuisMohamed is eagerly used on social media to express support for the young Muslim. “I think that’s far too focused on sensation and my situation has absolutely nothing to do with that of Charlie Hebdo“, he emphasized.

Yet there is some irony in the hashtag. “Once people talked about complete freedom of opinion and it was said that any humour should be allowed. It appears now that there surely are limits,” Ouaamari explains. “Do not get me wrong, of course I understand that limits must exist, but sometimes we need a bit more perspective. People are so fearful when it comes to Islam that they lose sight of humour,” he says to newsmonkey.

The young man does not let his head hang down. “I will continue to seize opportunities. I will continue to fight for my dreams and my ideals. We are young, we are the future and we must join in improving this country. I’m always going to keep doing my best,” he concludes.

Also here is his blog post after the recent events.

Don’t take wildcats home

This video is called European Wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris).

Translated from the Dutch ARK conservationists:

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Whoever finds a young cat in the forests of the south of Limburg province should not just take that animal home. It could be a wildcat. Just over the border in Belgium, in Opglabbeek, last weekend, at a shelter for sick and injured wild animals, a young wildcat was brought which earlier had been found in the woods.

Wildcat in shelter

The young cat which arrived in the Natuurhulpcentrum in Opglabbeek two weeks ago had been found by people in the east of Liège province, the transition between the Ardennes and the Eifel mountains, in the center of a forest. The young animal was taken home in the belief that it was a dumped or escaped domestic cat. Because it continued to be aggressive and skittish specialists were contacted who are pretty sure it is a wildcat.