A year’s post

First World War cemetery at St. Pol, France

It’s one year ago since I started this blog. Curious that it happens to be November 11. A year ago I looked back fleetingly to Armentières from the First World War (I had recently passed through the small town in northern France). This year I remember the partner of a friend killed a few days ago in Afghanistan. A mind-numbing personal tragedy. However, November 11 means something different here in Maastricht: it’s the traditional start to the new carnival season. Twenty thousand people crammed onto the Vrijthof square to celebrate (it seems impossible to believe that so many could get onto the Vrijthof). Moreover, it was said that 32 couples marrying here on this auspicious day would also be ‘blessed’ by the carnival spirits on the Vrijthof (or is that ‘carnal’?). However, the 20,000 revellers pale in comparison to the 20,000 dead and the nearly 60,000 casualties on just the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

11e van de 11e, Vrijthof, Maastricht 2010

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