18 June 2015 will mark the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo, and already there are tensions and disagreements between the different factions and countries involved, according to a very interesting article in Belgian newspaper "De Standaard" and the Dutch "NRC Handelsblad" today...
Many people know that 18 June 1815 was the unfortunate day of Napoleon Bonaparte's final defeat at the hands of the Seventh Coalition, led by Great Britain and Prussia. The British are clearly planning a triumphant commemoration of how their Duke of Wellington gloriously struck down the "tyranny" of the "Terrible Corsican" and won "freedom" for Europe on the plains of Waterloo (all LIES!)... They forget one thing, though: Waterloo is not in Britain, Germany or the Netherlands but in BELGIUM.
Last week was the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Nations, which took place near Leipzig, Germany between 16-19 October 1813. The battle was a considerable victory for the Coalition forces and ultimately led to Napoleon's first exile to the island of Elba. The commemoration was impressive, but nonetheless a pro-Coalition party from start to finish, with little consideration for the legacy or dignity of Napoleonic France or what Napoleon did for the German people. Still, the Germans can commemorate the battle however they want because it took place in Germany.
HOWEVER... If the British, the Germans and the Dutch expect an even bigger example of misplaced triumphalism in 2015, they can think again! The Battle of Waterloo took place on the soil of modern-day Belgium, quite a Napoleonic bastion. Many Belgians fought for Napoleon at Waterloo, Napoleon's rule continues to be remembered as a prosperous period (despite the wars forced upon him) and Napoleon is still very popular in modern-day Belgium...
Since 1830, Waterloo has been gradually turned into a de facto Napoleonic place of pilgrimage. If you are an admirer of Napoleon and you are hesitant about coming to Waterloo because it is the place where the Emperor met his final defeat, I can tell you: DON'T WORRY! There are statues of Napoleon and his soldiers, his HQ has become a museum, there are shrines, plaques and dedications in the places where Napoleonic forces continued fighting after everything was lost, the French and Belgian tricolours wave together in many places, hotels are very proud to say "this place is where Napoleon stayed one night, this is where he stayed on his way to the battle, this is where he had his final breakfast/lunch/dinner" and there are streets and squares named after him. By comparison, the locals despise the Lion's Mound as a symbol of Allied victory, there is no statue of the Duke of Wellington, nobody is proud to say "this is where the Duke had dinner", the Union Jack is nowhere to be seen, let alone the Prussian or Dutch flag... In short, and this is NO lie (!), most tourists leave thinking that Napoleon won the battle, and not Wellington or Von Blücher!
France has already expressed hopes that "the honour of Napoleon will be upheld in 1815", and I sincerely hope Belgium will do everything in its power to accomplish that. Belgium and France must stand together to rid history of the British propaganda which has disgraced the legacy of the great Napoleon for too long. Let us, together with our French friends, work to present the truth of the Battle of Waterloo: a military victory for reactionary absolutism and tyranny which can never erase the revolutionary accomplishments and ideals of the Sun of Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte!
Tremblez ennemis de la France
Rois ivres de sang et d'orgueil
Le Peuple souverain s'avance
Tyrans, descendez au cercueil!
! ! ! VIVE L' EMPEREUR, NAPOLÉON BONAPARTE ! ! !
Listening to: Chant du Départ