Archive for April, 2007

Marriage Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, family and many friends, thank you all so much for coming.
As the only son and man of the house… (civilized chuckle) I would like to offer a few words because, as everyone well knows, my father’s wedding leaves no heart untouched. As you can see, it is an opportunity to gather and unite, to celebrate the bond that from this day, ties the Hoet family, and the De Pue’s together, possibly for many generations to come. I am very thrilled to see the family of my late mother here, as you all know we still feel as connected to you as we once were. Our blood is the same, and we are linked by many more things than the central love that perished now 13 years ago.
I still remember it like it was yesterday, how she was taken from us so abruptly, and left us shattered. The home she left soon portrayed our grief, as my father needs a woman to take care of him as much as his children do. Our home had a vacuum, an emptiness.
Fate must have had a hand in it, because not very long after, a caring woman found herself without home. She was invited to move in with us, and things grew from there. Today, many years later, it has come to this day, where the same fate brought all of us together.
I would like to take the moment to reflect on things passed, and bow our heads, if only for a brief moment, to pay respects to my late mother, she who is the cornerstone in this very wedding. Because, as much as she might want to deny the very fact, Katherine here, now smiling so sweetly, in my father’s arms, is marrying my sister and myself, as much as our father. Because if there were a reason, ladies and gentlemen, that she would have refused, it would have been my little sister and me. She dislikes us, in fact she hopes we leave the house very soon so she and our father can spend their time in peace. By this, "mother", you forget one critical factor, and that is the fact that We Got Here First. We Are the Family you just married into. Welcome to your destiny.
Of course, we gladly welcome you in our midst. My sister and I have had long conversations about why that is, exactly. We dislike you as much as you us, and all we wanted was for our dad to notice this. I am sure this won’t be a problem from here on.
Just a few days ago, my sister and myself signed a paper that stated, that we will be put out on the street when my father should perish. We have given away our birthright, the home we grew up in, the place we shared our mother’s love. Now, we have done that a long time ago, as that very home gradually changed so fundamentally that the only reminder of my mom that is still around, I carry in my wallet.
Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen, this is what this marriage is about. No, that is not true, there is also, and I quote my father, "The emotional aspect." You see, Katherine entered our family with great debts. Thanks to my father’s efforts, those have mostly been paid, but it has still lead to Katherine owning next to nothing. If my father would one day leave us, she would end up on the streets. For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, my father gave his all to her. He made his children sign a paper that transfers everything their beloved mother has worked for, on to her. He Sold His Children for this woman, out of love and noble effort that she will be okay when he is no longer here.
Please, I beg you, don’t let this news disturb you. Enjoy your wine very much, because it has my father’s last penny in it. He insisted on this party to show you, he has nothing to hide. This is a happy wedding, only without wedding ring -that’s right, ma’am, none- or white dress. A signature, and the message to his children that they better start looking for a new home, because the day he is gone they will find themselves without. True love, ladies and gentlemen, binds you and I together on this cheerful day. Ahh, the foie gras arrives I see. Have some, it’s delicious. I paid for it. But wait until I finish, or one might choke in it. (civilized chuckle)
Undoubtedly, you have all received this invitation. (show invitation)
As you can see, being a purchases manager for SIDMAR, my father enjoys putting together slogans to promote things. It is a beautiful layout, and look, it reads "Johan, Katherine, yes!" That’s also amusing, because they give each other their ‘yes’ today. Or was it the day before yesterday in the major’s office, I’m unsure. However, what few of you might realize, I noticed another funny thing:
This colorful sheet of paper combines the two lovers’ names with the word ‘yes’, while this very wedding was met with a profound and heartfelt ‘no!’ by many of you present this day. Please, no need to speak up, you know who you are, and now you know you are not alone.
In fact, ladies and gentlemen, you are in the majority today.
However, that may not be entirely true. The Hoet family seems very excited about this event, and they represent the "beau monde" half of this company. Could that be because my father is a wine lover? Or perhaps, that they cling on to anything with a sense of style to raise their own standard? Or possibly, that they are pleased to see someone with no money but a steady income would expropriate his two children to take her in, so that they don’t need to spend the slightest part of there obscene millions? I wonder.
This cheerful day, ladies and gentlemen, on which we are bonded together with this people like a zipper, down and down through many generations to come, is listed as a black day in the history of our family tree. In fact, it is the end of it.
Please, enjoy yourselves. Although very willing, I doubt I will be allowed to continue serving drinks to you, so you might need to undertake a short journey to the bar, yourselves. Telling the truth isn’t appreciated anywhere, but at least I made sure none of it could be killed the way my mother’s memory was.
Thank you. You may commence choking now, especially you, you and you. Goodbye.

Peace Is War

I can’t help but wonder (which is, coincidentally, the subject of this blog site!) what exactly, in a war, makes one party the good guys. I saw an interview on National Geographic the other night, in which a WWI veteran told about the time when a one-day cease fire was held for Christmas. Both parties came out and shook hands, wishing each other the best. While this happened, a British commando noticed the tag on a German uniform: Got Mit Uns. [god with us] He was confused, and asked why it said that, while they, the British, were fighting for god, country and justice. The German looked at him funny and said, "No, we’re the ones fighting for justice." Later in the story, the commando explains that the German was eventually the one who said "Let’s not fight on this day."
Makes you think, doesn’t it? Well at least it made me think, which seems an easily triggered process.
If religion, motives and methods are the exact same or at least comparable, what made the British any different from the Germans? With a strategy of carpet bombing, and full-scale "Take No Prisoners" war they can’t deny having caused similar, unnecessary pain and suffering as the Germans, who incinerated an ethnic minority in concentration camps.
Please, don’t think I’m making up an excuse for the holocaust. I can see the fucking modern Belgian Gestapo barge in here cramming me in jail for it. That’s how justice works, right? Right.
The US today has returned fire after 9/11 with considerable force. And let’s be honest, the difference in force between 4 Boeing 747’s and the United States Defense is at least, considerable. Whatever Iraq had to do with it, even if Iraq itself was the man responsible, it was returned a tenfold. Innocents as well at militants were raped, abused, tortured, and if they’re lucky in some cases, murdered in cold blood. Congratulations, US! You brought peace and democracy to a terrorist nation! I wonder when the laws that forbid you to deny it, will be issued.
The killing of innocent. Torture. Public execution. Both parties are guilty of it. When we compare magnitude, America scores much higher on just about every subject, which by the way isn’t a good thing.
So what makes us right, and them wrong? The way they treat women, even though it is a fact that a woman has a lower status in every existing society that I know of, including ours? The um, atomic bomb program that apparently didn’t exist after all? And if it did, am I stupid to think of America’s rocket shield and the world’s largest atomic bomb arsenal since the birth of mankind (Okay, that was a dozen years ago)? Their religion perhaps, founded before ours and featuring the same stories, of course with differences, than Christianity in which name we destroy theirs, while both preach a tolerant society? Make no mistake, the Islam is theoretically and equally forgiving religion than ours. In fact, Spain’s history reveals that when the Muslims ruled the country, they let other religions thrive openly. A decision which proved to be fatal in the long run.
The only difference even worth considering, is that we’re winning the war. History is always re-written by the winning party, which makes them right. We look back, and are proven right, and encouraged, by the text books we wrote ourselves. We win, they lose. Justice prevails. It is now illegal to claim otherwise.
The funny thing is, I didn’t even get this from myself. I got this from a fundamental christian, who actually said "We’re on the winning side, so obviously they got to be wrong. Compare the standards in our society with theirs, I mean there’s Got to be something they’re doing wrong."
A little insight: We were attacked by a hatred that grew out of the fact that our economy survives by preying on theirs. Our living standard is exactly what would make us wrong, and them right. We are the strongest, and we suppress the weak. Isn’t that ironic, at least a little? I may be wrong, but I thought of that as one of the fundamental characteristics of the bad guy. Destroy lives to raise your own status. Suck them dry, suppress them, silence them while we live and they die.
If you take a step back, it is hard not to conclude that they deserve to win, and we deserve to lose. We deserve to die for the countless lives, You And Me, are responsible for. Not in war, but in a protectionist, centred and pyramid shaped economy with us at the top, and them at the bottom. They need to kill for water, because they can’t pay for it with the wage they get for pumping up our oil. They die at 30 because of the work environments in the factory that makes little toy guns or barbie dolls you discarded so easily when their hair wouldn’t grow back.
We are on the wrong side here. Our very ethics are based upon the fact that we can suppress freely. Two collapsing buildings and people singing in central park ‘give peace a chance’ isn’t going to change even the slightest fraction, because we choose to close our eyes to this. Present this argument to a pro-war republican, and you will see he really doesn’t really care that much if he is wrong or right. Hypocrite as we are, we would all choose the winning side who happens also to use the most gruesome tactics, in less than a heartbeat. If not, try and explain why it is possible for you to read this very word.
Moving right along.
In between load-in/load-out jobs the other day 2 friends/colleagues and myself went to the nearby park. We happened to find a ball there and kicked it around some, passing it around. When two of us happened to be close to each other with the ball coming towards us, we of course couldn’t leave it for the other to have and in the process, Maarten got knee’d in the head.
About the only reaction I got to this was "Not again. How do you manage That?" and honestly, I haven’t got the slightest. I don’t even remember what happened, the only thing I do know is that it took me about 5 seconds to even realize what had occurred, and sink to my knees. It’s 48 hours now and my head is pounding and my stomach does a little turn every 20 minutes. I’m hoping it stops soon because painkillers aren’t helping much. Next time I see that guy he’s going to take a ledger in the face mutter mutter…
Easter is coming up! One more excuse for shops to be closed, factories shut down, and for the Belgians to eat chocolate! I hate holidays, honestly. In my line of work there is no such thing as a sunday or holiday, the only noticeable effect is that everyone stays at home.
I had a brief but interesting discussion about it with an American woman, who says she enjoys Easter because of the symbolism. It gives her the chance to tell her son that while we search for answers every day, beauty can be found in interesting places. This can be candy inside an egg, or the rebirth of Jesus.
Good point and great reason to like Easter, but whoops I have no son and the line of thought itself is little more than a given fact. In the mean time I have to buy my girlfriend’s mother flowers, without getting to search Easter eggs.
So, as far as I’m concerned, we’re stuck with another holiday ripped brutally out of its context as an excuse to do nothing.