However... with company chores burning me out I didn't feel much like posting the umpteenth calamity in the field of European dhimmitude, even if there are plenty - believe me. It's just that I feel that we cannot let these assholes lead our lives. And so, I thought I'd share this pic. It's the town of Bouillon in Belgium's south.
I took the pic from a wooden watchtower on a crest overlooking Bouillon, which lies actually in some kind of bowl with the town centre surrounded on three sides by the meandering Semois river. Normally, I shouldn't have been able or rather, allowed, to make this photograph, since the watchtower was partly burnt as a result of arson some three weeks ago. Hence, the entrance to the staircases was blocked by a metal framework. However, after a through look from up close, I concluded that the basic structure of the tower was still intact, and that I could bypass the lowest, completely burnt level without any risk via another staircase (it's a peculiar construction). To my great satisfaction, I could thus show my dad (my parents accompanied our little family on this Ardennes trip) the sight you see now.
Heh. Take a close look to the upper-right hand corner of the photo. There, on a crest that runs over the 'peninsula' of land surrounded on three sides by the Semois, you can make out some roofs and walls that belong to the beautifully preserved and maintained Castle of Godfrey of Bouillon, the 'Belgian Crusader'. It is a must see for any visiting tourist.
And here is a pic - not taken by myself - of that Castle, the 'Chateau de Bouillon'. Notice in the upper left corner the wooden watchtower whence I took the photo above. And in the lower left corner you can see the bridge which is discernible, in the photo above, to the lower right. This bridge leads to the Abbey of Cordemois, IIRC some three to five kilometers further.
In 1096, Godfrey was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, which was set up on the instigation of Pope Urban II. Very short on time, so I will offer only this short Wikipedia exerpt:
"... It was in Jerusalem that the legend of Godfrey of Bouillon was born. The army reached the city in June 1099 and built wooden ladders to climb over the walls. The major attack took place on July 14 and 15, 1099. Godfrey and some of his knights were the first to get over the walls and enter the city. Once inside, the Crusaders killed many of the city's inhabitants. It was an end to three years of fighting by the Crusaders, but they had finally done what they had set out to do in 1096—namely, to recapture the Holy Land and, in particular, the city of Jerusalem and its holy sites, such as the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb of Jesus Christ.
Once the city was captured, some form of government had to be set up. On July 22, a council was held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Raymond of Toulouse at first refused to become king, perhaps attempting to show his piety but probably hoping that the other nobles would insist upon his election anyway. Godfrey, who had become the more popular of the two after Raymond's actions at the siege of Antioch, did no damage to his own piety by accepting a position as secular leader, but with an unknown or ill-defined title (advocatus sancti sepulchri). Raymond was incensed at this development and took his army out into the countryside.
However, perhaps considering the controversy which had surrounded Tancred's seizure of Bethlehem, Godfrey refused to be crowned king in the city where Christ had died. The exact nature and meaning of his title is thus somewhat of a controversy. Although it is widely claimed that he took the title Advocatus Sancti Sepulchri ("advocate" or "defender" of the Holy Sepulchre), this title is only used in a letter which was not written by Godfrey. Instead, Godfrey himself seems to have used the more ambiguous term Princeps, or simply retained his title of dux from back home in Lower Lorraine. Robert the Monk is the only chronicler of the crusade to report that Godfrey took the title "king". During his short reign, Godfrey had to defend the new Kingdom of Jerusalem against Fatimids of Egypt, who were defeated at the Battle of Ascalon in August. He also faced opposition from Dagobert of Pisa, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who was allied with Tancred. Although the Latins came close to capturing Ascalon, Godfrey's attempts to prevent Raymond of St. Gilles from securing the city for himself meant that the town remained in Muslim hands, destined to be a thorn in the new kingdom's side for years to come..."
When in Brussels, do not miss the romantic, 19th-century statue of Godfrey of Bouillon on horseback. It's on the Royal Square, not far from the Royal Palace:
They don't teach our children stuff like that anymore. My eight-year old daughter now learns that girls kissing other girls is cool, tips and trics to reduce her carbon footprint, and how to be sensitive to other cutures, especially a peculiar wife-beating, head-chopping variety.
Oh, and did I mention it was in one of her textbooks last year that "in Afghanistan, soldiers bomb people"? Not kidding. Just like that, a remark out of the blue, no context provided. S'ppose my girl must assume these "soldiers" just drop bombs on people for the fun. I don't think the authors meant by "soldiers" the fellas wearing long beards, robes and turbans.