PDA

View Full Version : Someone Tries to Sell Belgium on EBay


*JR*
Sep 19th, 2007, 11:56 PM
By PAUL AMES (Sept. 18)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at eBay.be this week was an unusual item: "For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts ... free premium: the king and his court (costs not included)."

The odd ad was posted by one disgruntled Belgian in protest at his country's political crisis which reached a 100-day landmark Tuesday with no end in sight to the squabbling between Flemish and Walloon politicians.

"I wanted to attract attention," said Gerrit Six, the teacher and former journalist who posted the ad. "You almost have to throw rock through a window to get attention for Belgium."

Six placed the advertisement on Saturday, offering free delivery, but pointing out that the country was coming secondhand and that potential buyers would have to take on over $300 billion (euro220 billion) in national debt.

Like many of Belgium's 10 million citizens, Six is exasperated that the power struggle between the county's French- or Dutch-speaking political parties has left Belgium in political limbo since June 10 elections.

Demands for more autonomy from the Dutch-speaking Flemish are resisted by the French-speaking Walloons, making it impossible to form a government coalition and triggering concern the kingdom is on the verge of a breakup.

Six decided to vent his frustration through the Internet ad.

"My proposal was to make it clear that Belgium was valuable, it's a masterpiece and we have to keep it," he told Associated Press Television News. "It's my country and I'm taking care of it, and with me are millions of Belgians."

Six' idea got a mixed reaction on the streets of Brussels.

"Very funny, typical Belgian humor," said Anne Graux. "It's ridiculous," snapped Nathalie Ginot, a Brussels resident who had her own pragmatic solution to Belgium's woes. "We think it would be good to split Belgium into the three and make Brussels a tax-haven, a capital exempt from all taxes," she said hopefully.

Six vaunted Belgium's attractions to potential buyers from art nouveau architecture to the headquarters of NATO and the European Union and some great beers. But he also warned of the pitfalls of taking on the cacophonous mix of Flemish nationalists, Walloon Socialists and the mayors of all 19 Brussels' boroughs.

EBay was happy to take Six' advertisement.

"It was a really fun listing made by a Belgian," Peter Burin, PR manager of eBay Belgium. "This person, in a very funny way, reminded the Belgians what a great country Belgium actually is and it would be a shame to sell it."

However, the company decided to pull the add Tuesday after receiving a bid of euro10 million ($14 million)

"We decided to take it down, just to avoid confusion," he told APTN.

(Not sure if Justine was included). :scratch:

Willam
Sep 20th, 2007, 12:03 AM
:lol:.... i guess..! :p

-Ph51-
Sep 20th, 2007, 07:58 AM
:rolleyes:

Paule22
Sep 20th, 2007, 08:55 AM
Another interesting article on that topic:

http://www.economist.com/images/20070908/D3607LD1.jpg
Time to call it a day

Sep 6th 2007
From The Economist print edition
Sometimes it is right for a country to recognise that its job is done

Illustration by Claudio Munoz

A RECENT glance at the Low Countries revealed that, nearly three months after its latest general election, Belgium was still without a new government. It may have acquired one by now. But, if so, will anyone notice? And, if not, will anyone mind? Even the Belgians appear indifferent. And what they think of the government they may well think of the country. If Belgium did not already exist, would anyone nowadays take the trouble to invent it?

Such questions could be asked of many countries. Belgium's problem, if such it is, is that they are being asked by the inhabitants themselves. True, in opinion polls most Belgians say they want to keep the show on the road. But when they vote, as they did on June 10th, they do so along linguistic lines, the French-speaking Walloons in the south for French-speaking parties, the Dutch-speaking Flemings in the north for Dutch-speaking parties. The two groups do not get on—hence the inability to form a government. They lead parallel lives, largely in ignorance of each other. They do, however, think they know themselves: when a French-language television programme was interrupted last December with a spoof news flash announcing that the Flemish parliament had declared independence, the king had fled and Belgium had dissolved, it was widely believed.

No wonder. The prime minister designate thinks Belgians have nothing in common except “the king, the football team, some beers”, and he describes their country as an “accident of history”. In truth, it isn't. When it was created in 1831, it served more than one purpose. It relieved its people of various discriminatory practices imposed on them by their Dutch rulers. And it suited Britain and France to have a new, neutral state rather than a source of instability that might, so soon after the Napoleonic wars, set off more turbulence in Europe.

The upshot was neither an unmitigated success nor an unmitigated failure. Belgium industrialised fast; grabbed a large part of Africa and ruled it particularly rapaciously; was itself invaded and occupied by Germany, not once but twice; and then cleverly secured the headquarters of what is now the European Union. Along the way it produced Magritte, Simenon, Tintin, the saxophone and a lot of chocolate. Also frites. No doubt more good things can come out of the swathe of territory once occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Belgae. For that, though, they do not need Belgium: they can emerge just as readily from two or three new mini-states, or perhaps from an enlarged France and Netherlands.

Brussels can devote itself to becoming the bureaucratic capital of Europe. It no longer enjoys the heady atmosphere of liberty that swirled outside its opera house in 1830, intoxicating the demonstrators whose protests set the Belgians on the road to independence. The air today is more fetid. With freedom now taken for granted, the old animosities are ill suppressed. Rancour is ever-present and the country has become a freak of nature, a state in which power is so devolved that government is an abhorred vacuum. In short, Belgium has served its purpose. A praline divorce is in order.

Belgians need not feel too sad. Countries come and go. And perhaps a way can be found to keep the king, if he is still wanted. Since he has never had a country—he has always just been king of the Belgians—he will not miss Belgium. Maybe he can rule a new-old country called Gaul. But king of the Gauloises doesn't sound quite right, does it?

Just Do It
Sep 20th, 2007, 10:58 AM
That is gold. Well if Kosovo becomes independent then every country will have to face with the same problem Serbia is facing now ;)

Sam L
Sep 20th, 2007, 11:35 AM
How much? :p Can I leave out Kim and get a refund?

Josh
Sep 20th, 2007, 11:43 AM
That is gold. Well if Kosovo becomes independent then every country will have to face with the same problem Serbia is facing now ;)

It's not exactly the same, Belgium is more like the former Czechoslovakia where two different regions decided to part peacefully.

Geertvg
Sep 20th, 2007, 01:07 PM
Seems like the "specialists" outside Belgium are more convinced about the ending of Belgium than specialists in Belgium are. It's still very unlikely we will split, we've been in these situations before, it's not the first time a government needed more than 100 days to come to an agreement :)

*JR*
Sep 20th, 2007, 02:46 PM
How much? :p Can I leave out Kim and get a refund?
I don't know, but with her and Elke both retired, maybe Bob Verbeeck can sell maindraw WC's into Antwerp on EBay. :tape:

Barrie_Dude
Sep 20th, 2007, 03:28 PM
Why would anyone want Belgium?

M2k
Sep 20th, 2007, 04:04 PM
...kinda sad in a way.

Kart
Sep 20th, 2007, 05:11 PM
I'd have bid on it.

Maybe not quite as much as 10 million euros though.

Yasmine
Sep 20th, 2007, 05:26 PM
I'd have bid on it.

Maybe not quite as much as 10 million euros though.
would you have been ready to take care of Belgium when coming on this board makes you lost your temper? :lol:

Kart
Sep 20th, 2007, 05:40 PM
Who said anything about taking care of it ?

I just want the chocolate and maybe the diamonds, though they wouldn't be much fun to eat.

After that I'd just flog it on eBay as third hand.

Just Do It
Sep 20th, 2007, 05:41 PM
Why would anyone want Belgium?

:sobbing:

Yasmine
Sep 20th, 2007, 05:48 PM
Who said anything about taking care of it ?

I just want the chocolate and maybe the diamonds, though they wouldn't be much fun to eat.

After that I'd just flog it on eBay as third hand.
and you would actually hope to make money on it? :cuckoo: :lol:

oh btw you forgot the waffles :drool:

Kart
Sep 20th, 2007, 05:52 PM
and you would actually hope to make money on it? :cuckoo: :lol:

oh btw you forgot the waffles :drool:

I'm not really into the waffles actually, I think they're overrated.

You can have them though if you like - for about ten million euros.

Yasmine
Sep 20th, 2007, 05:58 PM
I'm not really into the waffles actually, I think they're overrated.

You can have them though if you like - for about ten million euros.
Belgian waffles aren't overrated :armed:
And as if I was gonna pay 10 million euros for waffles, even if I could afford it :cuckoo:

alfajeffster
Sep 20th, 2007, 06:22 PM
Speaking strictly from an ark point of view, I think the EU should build a great big tower right smack dab in the middle of Brussels, the biggest that's ever been built anywhere by anyone, and dedicate it in an international language, and decree that only that language shall permeate its virus through the air ducts and HVAC systems, and at the top of the tower, the very apex of creation, place a mobile telephone tower, one of great beauty and colour, such that no one on the planet would ever question it's status among the greatest of accomplishments.

woosey
Sep 20th, 2007, 06:32 PM
i'd like to bid on the flemish part. they make the good beer right?

Josh
Sep 20th, 2007, 07:11 PM
i'd like to bid on the flemish part. they make the good beer right?

Both parts make good beer but the best beer in the world, according to a poll, is brewed in Westvleteren in Flanders.