Friday, May 27, 2011
Belgium: Natural NOT Artificial
Back to the point, Belgium is not “artificial” or “invented”. How do people think this? I know, part is because of the quarreling between the French and Dutch speakers communities but do they really think these two were just put together in 1830? Do they think before that the space on the map was empty? The two regions had been together when we were part of the United Netherlands Kingdom, when we were the Austrian Netherlands before that, when we were in the larger Spanish Netherlands before that and when we were Burgundy before that. There had always been this area, not always an independent country, but always definitely not French, not German and not Dutch. Even in those days people still called the whole area “Belgium” and it was Belgium even all the way back in Roman times. So, why don’t people understand? No one “invented” Belgium! Belgium has always been here, right where it is today! There has always been Belgium, there have always been Belgians. This is not disputable, this is a fact of history.
Look at the brief period between the first effort for independence (United States of Belgium we talked about) and the country being taken over by France and Napoleon. That was when we were, again, the Austrian Netherlands but war was already about to happen with France so military forces had to be ready and they formed a unit, part of the Austrian Imperial Army, with green and yellow uniforms with cool crested helmets that had the big letters “LB” on them. What did that stood for? “Legion Belge” or the BELGIAN Legion. This was going back before 1814, so how could there be a Belgian Legion when these people keep saying Belgium was just invented in 1830 by a bunch of countries? Why do I have maps from back to the Renaissance period and the Roman Empire with a big area labeled “Belgium” on them if the country was only “invented” in 1830? So why do they keep saying that? It is ridiculous and I do not understand them!
The people always had different languages and different customs, not just in the regions, but town to town. However, in the past most everyone also had a common language if it was Latin or later French and everyone always had the same religion. Today it is more rigid and one area is for speaking Dutch, the other French and a little bit German and no changing! That has hardened feelings I think, not like the way it was in the past. In the past there were language issues also, no denying that, but there were also more things that all Belgians had in common in those days and today there is less of that. But artificial or invented we are not. The area of the country has been a distinct unit since hundreds of years and the people living there knew they were not French or Dutch or Germans, but Belgians!