Brussels against Trump, NATO militarism, report


This video is about the big demonstration in Brussels, Belgium against Donald Trump and NATO militarism on 24 May 2017.

As I blogged on this blog, about 17:30 our bus arrived at Brussel Noord railway station; where a big rally against the visit of Donald Trump to the Brussels NATO headquarters was going on.

Brussels photography, 24 May 2017

At the crowded rally around a big pond, we soon found out we were not the only people who had brought photo cameras. We also saw the first of many pussy hats; a symbol of the anti-Trump movement ever since Trump’s infamous anti-women saying ‘Grab them by the pussy’.

Polar bear hats, 24 May 2017

There were not only pussy hats. Critics of Trump’s anti-climate policies on our side of the station pond wore polar bear hats.

Girls bite back, 24 May 2017

On the other side of the pond, people with signs saying things like Girls bite back; Exit Trump, enter Bernie; and Trump and Pence fuck the world.

From the rostrum, a female Belgian speaker denounced the Belgian government’s plans to buy expensive dodgy Joint Strike Fighter military aircraft. A plan denounced on banners in the crowd as well.

NATO game over, 24 May 2017

A slogan on a sign said NATO: game over.

There were flags of the Dutch Socialist Party. And of the leftist Workers Party of Belgium. I saw one flag of the ‘center left’ SP.a party; a sister party of British Labour, German SPD, Dutch PvdA, Greek PASOK, etc. A Workers Party of Belgium member, dressed up like a parody Donald Trump, told me that the Belgian SP.a were ‘little copies of [Dutch Blairite Eurogroup boss] Dijsselbloem‘.

There were also people in jackets of the FTGB trade union federation. And Kurdish flags as well. And flags of the Walloon green party Ecolo and the Flemish green party Groen.

Trump climate criminal, 24 May 2017

A sign denounced Trump as a ‘climate criminal‘.

Trump climate criminal, on 24 May 2017

On the rostrum, a Standing Rock Native American activist against Trump’s support for the anti-climate DAPL oil pipeline. She said, to much applause, that the struggle would continue.

The Young Friends of the Earth were present as well, with their banner.

A Dutch language Belgian speaker spoke about solidarity with people in the USA, to whom bad things happen, like the ‘Trumpcare’ health ‘reform’.

Pussy grabs back, 24 May 2017

A French language Belgian speaker spoke about Trump’s anti-women policies. Which this sign criticized as well. The other sign ‘Grab ’em by the facts’ was also inspired by Trump’s misogyny; and alluded to the Trump administration’s preference for ‘alternative facts’ over facts.

Unfortunately, one weak point in the Belgian’s good speech: she referred to Trump as a ‘populist’; a word that should not be used for racist politicians like Trump, Marine Le Pen in France, etc.

Then came a woman speaker from the USA: Colonel Ann Wright. A former United States soldier, then a diplomat, now a peace activist. To loud applause, she denounced the militarism of Donald Trump and NATO.

There was a sign in her audience, saying: ‘You say NATO/I say potato/Let;s call the whole thing off’. A parody of a song by George and Ira Gershwin, from 1937: “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off“.

Dinosaur, 24 May 2017

Another sign, in German compared NATO to a dinosaur. With a picture of a dinosaur on a tank ‘caterpillar’, firing bullets from its mouth, with the caption ‘NATO-saurus. Too much armour (or: too many tanks), not enough brains. Wanted: extinction‘.

There were people of the German left party Die Linke present as well.

Latin Americans, 24 May 2017

A bit further were Latin American participants in the demonstration. Cubans with Cuban flags (in the center of the photo), Venezuelans, Colombians, Chileans with Chilean flags (on the left of the photo). The banners on the ground were calling for the closing of US American military bases in Colombia, and for stopping United States Trump administration interference in Venezuela.

The rally was over. The march through Brussels city center started. Stay tuned for more reports about that on this blog!

Against nuclear weapons, on our way to Trump in Brussels


This video says about itself:

Thousands protest Trump’s Brussels visit

24 May 2017

Thousands of demonstrators holding marches in Brussels, Belgium under the slogan ‘Trump not Welcome‘ held anti-NATO and antiwar signs to protest the US president attending a NATO summit on Thursday. RT’s Anastasia Churkina reports from the protest.

That video is one of various videos on that big demonstration in Brussels. There will be more videos, and photos in my blog posts to come on the Brussels demonstration.

However, before arriving there, we had to travel by bus on that 24 May.

In the bus to the anti-Trump demonstration were people from various parts of the Netherlands, from, eg, the peace movement Oorlog is geen Oplossing (war is not a solution), who have a report and photos on their blog, and the Socialist Party. There was Socialist Party MP Ms Sadet Karabulut, the daughter of Kurdish Turkish immigrant workers. There was a refugee from Somalia, now chairman of the Deventer branch of the Socialist Party. He said this demonstration was important, as wars don’t bring solutions. Eg, in his native Somalia, where the United States armed forces invaded in 1993, proclaiming good intentions; but the results were a chain reaction of bloodbaths in Somalia. He said Bernie Sanders should have won the presidential elections in the USA.

There was a member of the Socialist Party’s young people’s organisation from Zeist town. There was a Socialist Party man from Oldeberkoop village in Friesland province. And two women from Sneek town, also in Friesland. There was someone with a T shirt, saying ‘Stop arming Saudi Arabia‘.

The bus crossed the Lek river bridge. At 12:35, it crossed the Maas river bridge.

We picked up some fellow demonstrators in Den Bosch city. We passed a fountain with dragon sculptures in the city center; and a <a href=”https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/giraffes-on-video/”>giraffe statue, modeled on the way famous local painter Hieronymus Bosch depicted that animal, in a city park.

Then, we arrived at the gate of United States nuclear weapons are there; many times there have been protests against them.

These weapons have always been dangerous. Now that Trump is president, they have become even more dangerous.

Our protest that day involved wool (a bit like similar anti-nuclear weapons protests in Britain).

We made a a woolly colourful ‘spider’s web‘ across the access road to the base, blocking the gate.

Volkel, 24 May 2017

This photo shows the woolly spider’s web, with a sign saying ‘Make peace! No war!’, and banners saying ‘Take these nuclear weapons away’ and ‘War is no solution’.

Volkel spider's web, 24 May 2017

Police was present, but did not arrest anyone.

We also hung the banner saying ‘Take these nuclear weapons away’ and other pro-peace banners on the base’s fences.

A women with a Trump face mask on held a spoof ‘Trump‘ speech.

Our bus rode on. Near Eindhoven city there was graffiti about local football club PSV on viaducts. Near Antwerp in Belgium was graffiti depicting ladybugs on viaducts. And also a big traffic jam.

Finally south of Antwerp, we passed Breendonk, during World War II a nazi concentration camp.

We arrived at Brussel Noord railway station, where the demonstration would start. Stay tuned!

Cuban flowers and birds, bye bye!


This 2014 video is called Landing on Varadero Airport, Cuba with beautiful views on Varadero.

On 16 March 2017, the day after 15 March in Havana, our plane did not land at, but left Varadero airport in Cuba.

Before we went to the airport, early in the morning house sparrow sound.

We stopped at the lake we still knew from our first day in Cuba.

Brown pelicans. Ring-necked ducks.

A great egret on the opposite bank. A night heron a bit further on that bank.

An American coot, and two shoveler ducks swimming.

A common gallinule, and a ruddy duck as well.

A Neotropic cormorant.

A palm warbler in a bush.

We continued our journey. 11:39: cattle egrets in a meadow in Matanzas province.

Turkey vultures.

When we arrive at Varadero airport, we hear about delay, like the day we arrived at Varadero. Then, the plane made an unexpected detour because a passenger had heart problems. Now, we hear that the plane has not arrived at the airport yet, so is not flying yet. Outside the airport terminal, three cattle egrets do fly. And three northern mockingbirds sing.

Flowers, on 16 March 2017

And beautiful Cuban flowers are still there.

Flowers, on 16 March 2017

We won’t forget Cuba and its wildlife!

Cuba, Havana flowers and street photographs


Flowers, 15 March 2017

This photo shows beautiful flowers on a tree on the hill in Casablanca, a suburb of the Cuban capital Havana; where we were on 15 March 2017. As I wrote, after Casablanca we went to the old city center.

This video says about itself:

La Habana Vieja is the proper name for the central neighborhood Old Havana in Havana, Cuba. If you visit Havana for the first time, this is where need to go. If you’ve visited before, you probably still want to return – even if only to sip a cold beer in the shade and watch the hustle and bustle of the streets.

Everything was filmed in April 2016.

Major sights in this video:

Castillo del Morro Castle and Lighthouse (seen from our balcony)

La Cabaña Fortress (seen from La Habana Vieja)

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

El Templete

Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis on Plaza de San Francisco

Catedral de San Cristobal

Plaza Vieja (including Factoria Plaza Vieja, Cervezas y Maltas)

Hotel Ambos Mundos (Hemingway Hotel) on Calle Obispo

Plaza de Armas (where I got the Obama poster for my birthday)

La Floridita (where Hemingway and us had delicious daiquiris)

La Bodeguita del Medio (where Hemingway hung out, but we didn’t)

Parque Central

Payret Cinema and Capitolio

Prado (Paseo de Marti) street

Museo de la Revolucion

Memorial Granma

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana

The song in the video is “El Pescador” by Bruno Bassi of Los Hermanos – from the royalty-free music website http://GoSoundtrack.com. Their collection is available via a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Havana sign, 15 March 2017

This photo from the city center shows a sign, celebrating Havana’s 497th birthday. Still three years until the big 500 years celebration.

Havana car and bike taxi, 15 March 2017

In old Havana, there are several means of transport.

Havana cars, 15 March 2017

From these vintage cars …

Havana cars, on 15 March 2017

Havana bike taxi, 15 March 2017

to these bike taxis…

Havana empty bike taxi, 15 March 2017

Havana bike taxi, on 15 March 2017

Havana boats, 15 March 2017

to these boats.

This video says about itself:

26 August 2014

In this film you will get an impression of what there is to see in the Calle Obispo.

It`s the number one shopping street of Havana Vieja. This is the place where girls are shopping and meet their friends. You can buy a lot of things here, eat something or go to the hairdresser. … The street has dilapidated buildings but also well maintained and beautifully decorated houses.

Havana clothes, 15 March 2017

Clothes hang out to dry from various windows in old Havana.

Havana clothes, on 15 March 2017

Havana drainpipes, 15 March 2017

People are at work putting new drainpipes underground.

Havana children, 15 March 2017

While the pipes are still above ground, Havana children use them in play.

Havana children, on 15 March 2017

Cuban birds and Havana buildings


Turkey vulture, 15 March 2017

15 March 2017. After seeing hummingbirds and doves on the Zapata peninsula in Cuba, we left that day for Havana. This photo shows a turkey vulture flying near a lake providing drinking water for Havana.

We had arrived there at 13:30. Cattle egrets, snowy egrets and great egrets.

Common gallinule. House sparrow.

Two ospreys flying. One lands on a small tree in the water.

Havana, 15 March 2017

We arrive in Havana, and go first to Casablanca suburb. From the hill, there is a fine view of Havana harbour and the old city centre behind it.

Havana, on 15 March 2017

Havana, Cuba, 15 March 2017

On the Casablanca hill, a singing northern mockingbird. A cattle egret flying past.

We went downhill, to the city centre.

Stay tuned!

Cuban doves and smallest hummingbird


This video says about itself:

Zapata Wren – Ferminia cerverai

A bird singing. Zapata Peninsula, Cuba (Monotypic species).

Recorded 1 August 2004.

15 March 2017, at the Zapata peninsula; the day after 14 March, the day I had seen the Zapata wren; we went to a Zapata peninsula forest edge where many doves were present.

Zenaida dove, 15 March 2017

Including Zenaida doves.

Zenaida dove, on 15 March 2017

Zenaida dove, Cuba, 15 March 2017

Blue-headed quail dove, 15 March 2017

And blue-headed quail doves. They live only in Cuba.

Blue-headed quail dove, on 15 March 2017

Grey-headed quail dove, 15 March 2017

And grey-headed quail doves. Also only in Cuba.

Grey-headed quail dove, on 15 March 2017

There were also other birds: ovenbirds. And Greater Antillean grackles.

A bit further, along the road, was a red-shouldered blackbird. Another Cuban endemic species.

Bee hummingbird, 15 March 2017

Then, we went to see the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird, again.

Cuban emerald hummingbirds were present too.

A northern mockingbird sang from the top of an electricity pole.

We continued our journey to Havana.

So, stay tuned!

Cuban flowers, owls, woodpeckers, crabs


This video from Cuba says about itself:

4 April 2013

Zapata swamp is the natural habitat of the Cuban Crocodile, considered as a national symbol after its resemblance with the geography of the island.

On 14 March 2017, the day after 13 March on Cuba, we were at the Zapata peninsula.

Early in the morning, we went aboard a rowing boat.

Flower, Zapata swamp, 14 March 2017

Many beautiful flowers on the banks.

A Greater Antillean grackle on a bush. A yellow-headed warbler.

The main aim this morning is to see the Zapata wren. When the boat stops, we don’t see it where it is supposed to be.

Flowering grass, 14 March 2017

We do see this flowering grass.

After a walk on a muddy path, we do see the Zapata wren.

As the boat goes back, we see a belted kingfisher.

Turkey vulture, 14 March 2016

And this turkey vulture.

A limpkin flies overhead.

After landing, a flock of Cuban parakeets. They live only in Cuba.

Killdeer, 14 March 2016

And a killdeer plover. Probably, a migrant from North America.

In the afternoon, again a boat: a motorboat this time.

Brown pelican, 14 March 2017

On a lake bank, a brown pelican.

Also, an anhinga, drying it wings. A double-crested cormorant.

A great blue heron.

An osprey sits in a tree.

An Antillean palm swift flying.

A belted kingfisher sits on a bridge.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker on a palm tree.

Later that afternoon, not by boat, but a forest walk.

A blue-headed quail dove.

Stygian owl, 14 March 2017

A bit further, a big owl on a big tree; a Stygian owl.

Greater Antillean nightjar, 14 March 2017

On another tree, a Greater Antillean nightjar: endemic to Cuba and Hispaniola.

Cuban screech-owl, 14 March 2017

Then, in a hole in yet another tree, a smaller owl: a Cuban screech owl, endemic to Cuba.

This video says about itself:

A Fernandina’s Flicker (Colaptes fernandinae) and brief footage of a West Indian Woodpecker (Melanerpes superciliaris) at Hacienda La Cortina, Cuba, on 07 April 2013. The flicker was interested in a cavity in what may have been a royal palm.

Fernandina's flicker, 14 March 2017

On the forest edge, we also saw a Fernandina’s flicker: this male at its nest.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker, 14 March 2017

A bit further, another woodpecker: this yellow-bellied sapsucker.

Cardisoma guanhumi, 14 March 2017

Finally, we see crabs crossing a road. It is their mating season, and it has rained, sending them on migration. They are two crab species: Geocarcinus ruricola; and Cardisoma guanhumi (pictured).

Also about birds in Cuba: here.