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Year in review: The world becomes one big Belgium


        The flag of Belgium and the new world order

Music was blaring from the car parked in front of the driveway. The driver was  waiting impassively for somebody or something while windows up and down the block were rattling. When asked to turn the volume down, he gave a look of incomprehension. He was asked again in high-school Spanish and it must have sounded to him like, “The music is strong. It very much molests me,” because he gave a look as if to say, “Whatever flips your switch.” Southwest Denver is becoming Belgium.

Belgium is divided between French speakers and Flemish speakers and Belgians are reluctant to learn the other’s language. The country is led by a dysfunctional royal family and a goofball prime minister. When asked to sing the Belgian national anthem, “La Brabanconne,” Prime Minister Yves Leterme belted out the French “La Marseillaise.” When asked why July 21 is the Belgian national holiday, he could not come up with correct answer. Imagine the outrage if an American politician, Joe Biden for example, sang ”O Canada” and said July 4th commemorates the day the Constitution was ratified. Belgians weren’t terribly bothered by it. Belgium was born as a result of an insurrection against Dutch rule in 1830 and the great European powers guaranteed Belgian independence as it was convenient for them to have a buffer state in a strategic location. Belgians see themselves as Flemish (speakers of a dialect of Dutch) or Walloons (French speakers) and few have a national identity. The little country with two languages is breaking apart.

But while Belgium disintegrates, paradoxically, it is conquering the world. The road to world dominance began in the seventeenth century when Belgians cut potatoes into thin strips and deep fried them. The artery-clogging, life-shortening delicacy is now consumed worldwide. Typical of Belgian stealth, they named their potato treat “French Fries” so that the world would blame neighboring France for poor health. A plot to weaken resistance?

And then there is beer. The world’s finest beer is brewed in the Trappist monasteries of Belgium. Not content with brewing quality, Belgians want quantity as in cornering the global market. Stella Artois, not a Trappist beer, is everywhere. In fact, it is becoming as common as Budweiser. Speaking of Budweiser, the King of Beers is now a vassal of InBev of Brussels. Another American institution in foreign hands.

Did your mother make you eat brussel sprouts when you were a kid? Did she threaten to withhold Godiva chocolate until the sprouts were gone?

Belgium came one step closer to world domination in 2009 when former Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy became the first semi-elected President of the European Union. Sort of like the George Washington of Europe. A low-key guy, Van Rompuy was an under-the-radar candidate and beat out better known candidates such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The same method Belgians used with fries and beer, low key and under the radar.

What’s next? One-world government with Brussels as the capital city?

Maybe we can emulate the Belgian model in Southwest Denver. Why not? We have two languages. We can re-brand chicharrones as “Canadian Treats” and learn to brew beer. Then the world will be ours!

Hasta la victoria and have a happy new year!

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