Wednesday, April 21, 2021


The jury in Minneapolis ruled that the death of George Floyd was murder. The agony and heartless pain inflicted in plain view became part of history, an apex of humiliation in the repeated injustice inflicted upon some, in America and worldwide. Floyd stood for all black Americans but he looms even larger, carrying the pain of all persons who are bludgeoned because of race, creed, gender or sexual indentity.

This death en direct by the hands of one single police officer will not end the violence. The fire is not extinguished. It continues to be stoked by ignorance, hate, prejudice and social misery, for all to see. Derek Chauvin is one of the many self- programmed individuals who look unable to control their self-loathing.

What is certain is that George Floyd has shattered an American mindset still alive in a minority which strives in  a permanent state of loser's frustration

The shroud of  impunity can no longer cover a scandal . "Black Lives Matter" is once and forever written in marble. Too bad it needed the horror of the slow, methodical execution of one man, being killed "in public" on an unfriendly slab of asphalt. His death is another tombstone for the inumerable injustices which befall too many everywhere, who refuse once and for ever to be forgotten.

Saturday, April 17, 2021


The last rites for Prince Philip in Saint Georges chapel were grand. The austerity and restraint made the pomp approachable.

The image of the dispassionate Queen, impenetrable in her chosen and obligatory distance, will have staying-power for the ages.

I wonder if she realized that her very personal grief was appropriated as soon as it appeared by the thousands who lost loved ones in the pandemic and were deprived of their own heartsick goodbye.

Willingly or not, her Majesty assumed both her personal sorrow and the bereavement the world ended up in.

Some of the clueless attendants yesterday ignored that they also took part in what is so much larger and depressing:  the obsequities of too large a part of humanity.

Thursday, April 15, 2021


La Belgique a en la personne d'Alexander De Croo un Premier Ministre qui commande le respect. Tout indique qu'il fait une analyse correcte et courageuse des moyens et des etapes pour arriver a bout de la pandemie.

Helas la mosaique belge s'oppose a la consideration de mesures rationnelles, des lors que les interets et susceptibilites minables se sentent marginalises. 

La demi mesure devient la regle. Le risque est reel qu'elle conduise a des situations incontrolables des lors que la demagogie chasse la raison. 

Le Premier Ministre essaye de maintenir un front uni mais il est oblige a lacher du lest en chemin. Il faut esperer que le ballast ne l'emporte. Il a raison d'en appeler au civisme mais il doit auusi se preparer aune "guerre des terrasses", pour laquelle aucune strategie ne semble envisagee a ce jour. Monsieur De Croo a de la classe mais il risque l'affrontement avec des debordements qui n'obeissent pas a la bienseance.

Si les incidents passes au bois de la Cambre peuvent etre consideres comme premonitoires, le Premier Ministre peut s'attendre a des lendemains inquietants. Lui et son Ministre de la Sante apparaissent isoles au sein meme de leur propre gouvernement.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


Wellington was the Iron Duke. Prince Philip might well be remembered as the irrepressible one.

He was able to hold rank and place, while keeping his sardonic wit and temper intact.

There is a dull lot of monarchs around (including the Windsors) who never tire of filling their occupational questionable bona fide with absurd visits and awkward handshakes, more out of duty than personal commitment or empathy.

Prince Philip was never one of them, risking the faux pas rather than staying bored.

Belgians remember him at the very "popist" funeral of King Baudouin, wearing some sash from Zaire, instead of the Order of Leopold.  Involuntary gaffe for sure, but of a supreme irony given the historical parameters of the situation.


Monday, April 12, 2021


Flashpoints worldwide are in abundant supply. 

The Biden administration takes its time. It avoids the trappings of early grotesque operatic gestures which were Trump's hallmark. The Chaplinesque grand game with the world orbit is a thing of the past.

Returning to reliable diplomatic ways is not easy. Problems piled up in the last four years and it is an uphill battle trying to dislodge them from neglect or stalemate. The Blinken touch is being tested in i.a. Taiwan, Ukraine and the Middle East.

The US is trying to bring Iran back to the nuclear agreement that was shelved under the previous administration. The Vienna talks are supposed to give an indication of Tehran's mood. Iran doesn't change, whoever is the White House's occupant. It is basically a malign power.  It can be reigned in but it cannot be confided in for an unforeseeable future. Israel is right in distrusting the Iranians. So are most American allies, by the way, who share an identical scepticism. That Obama was able to rally China and Russia behind his nuclear "quarantaine" was an achievement, which looks almost unthinkable now. 

It was to be expected that Iran--like others--would be curious about the intentions of the Biden administration. The American side is equally interested in a form of renewed diplomatic contact. The new American defense secretary is in the region where he met with the arch rivals the Isreali P.M. and his defense minister.  Almost simultaneously, the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility suffered a total blackout after a massive cyberattack. All fingers point to Israel which is, by the way, rightly concerned about the new centrifuges that are being activated by Tehran.

Questions are asked if the US was informed (and when?) and if PM Netanyahu  might also have another dual purpose on his mind:  distract from his sordid personal affairs and boycott American efforts to convince Iran to reenter the nuclear agreement. The Isreali P.M. is a very cynical politician who can easily evolve into a role of saboteur, as he did before (with Trump's blessings).

Israel under this P.M. is often turning out like one of those dates that turn sour after aperitif. 

Friday, April 9, 2021


Under the Ottomans the Divan hold a kind of fascination.

Today's sofa was booby-trapped.

The presidents of the EU Commission and of the Council of Ministers were given their alloted seats during their audience with the Turkish president last Tuesday.

Against expectations, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen got a second tier sofa assignment, while the president of the Council sat next to President Erdogan. It has happened in the past.

Here it looked bad, it felt wrong, it was a diplomatic snub and appeared also like a sexist statement. Coming from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, nothing unusual, but would he have dared to stage a similar offence to, inter alia Chancellor Merkel?

The relations between the EU and Turkey are frosty. Probably Turkey might have intended to signify the lack of esteem it felt for the EU as such. It has a lot of cards to play since it could unleash a flood of refugees into Europe. It plays similar tricks in NATO which were left unansered under the Trump "regime".

Charles Michel, president of the Council should have politely stood up and invite Ms. von der Leyen to occupy the seat of honour.  He didn't, and showed no discomfort. His post facto explanation sounds fabricated by some jet-lagged underling.   Mr. Michel gave proof that to be tall is not enough to give you stature. The smallish Ms. von der Leyen came out the winner, whatever Michel's spindoctors might come up with. The Turks have the last laugh and word, saying that it was all the EU's doing.

Friday, April 2, 2021


Everything has been said about COVID, ad nauseam .

All the multi-lateral organizations, forums and ad hoc partnerships in various social, economic and other related issues should have pooled their knowhow, but it is too late for that.

The situation is dire. It looks as if the panic button might have to be pushed if there is still a glimmer of hope that a formula could be found to delay a further descent into hell.

The available numbers of Covid cases are in many cases totally unreliable. The cheating is spread all over like a gigantic shroud. Besides, this situation requires more of a qualitative therapy than a quantitative stroke of the pen.

The UN (WHO) look poweless. The EU acts like a scoundrel. Individual leaders look even worse than usual, framed in unflattering Skype or Zoom windows. There is not a single one worth listening to. The vaccination needs have become a war, setting multinational against multinational, country agains country, science against politicians.  All countries suffer from Covid fatigue which creates perverse consquences like the ones we have seen i.a. in the USA, France or Belgium. One doesn't mention China or Russia of course, where the sun always shines. 

The smallish mindset of too many might cause a disastrous breaking point, insofar as all that which was stored in the fake news/conspiracy-theory column might have its day(s). Europe got Trump's and Brexit's death wish and sees, for now, how its most daring ambitions might be for other, happier (?) future generations to unearth from under the Covid debris.  Actually this modest ray of hope could be overstated since climate change might intervene before.

We arrive in a season unknown. The socio-economic debacle ahead should breed fear into the calculus of leaders everywhere. Unfortunately, they appear too small minded to be able to approach the magnitude of the incoming hurricane.

The sick will continue to be parked in lots (Covid, cancer, others). The generations will be stuck in mutual loathing. The world is being divided in the near and far abroad, only sharing resentment. Uncertainty is the norm. Too many are to blame.