Bush in Belgium
I think everybody knows that Europe and more specific Belgium was delighted to have a big visitor: i.e. as he is called "the most powerful man of the world", G.W. Bush.
The main purpose of this visit was to re-establish the "sour" relationships between Europe and the US.
In this column, I won't bring up the several meetings he had, what decisions were made, or even the fact he admitted he used marijuana. I'm sure you'll find this information in a lot of other sources. What I want to do is, go into the consequences this visit has for a small country as Belgium.
First of all, thousands of people came to Brussels to protest against the current policy of the US: not signing the Kyoto-pact; assail the civil rights at home and abroad; playing a negative role as regards world peace. The demonstrators don't want that Europe follows the example of the US. About 90 organisations and several polictical parties took part in these manifestations. Also the holebi-federation was present. They protested against the fact the US does not allow homosexual weddings. Participants came from all over the world: Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and the States.
Surprisingly, there was also a demonstration PRO Bush. Kurds (Iraq) wanted to thank Bush for liberating their country from Saddam Hoessein, who suppressed the Kurds for many, many years. They wanted to give him flowers, but they did not manage to go through the security services.
Indeed, a lot of safety measures were taken to protect the president: e.g. garbage cans were removed or welded, airplanes were diverted, sharpshooters were presented on roofs, police choppers were circulating above the place where the president was at that time, etc. Noticing this, I wondered whether the US is always like a "guarded stronghold"…
To conclude, something about the mysterious words of the president during an interview with our Belgian correspondent in the US, Greet De Keyser. At the end of the interview, he said to her "you have great eyes". In the biography of Bill Clinton there is written that at the end of an application interview with the at-that-time applicant Monica Lewinsky, he also said "you have great eyes". Should we worry…?