Author: Mary Ellen Synon (Mary Ellen Synon)

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Die, Belgium, Die!

Most English schoolboys learn this quip: Belgium is a country invented by the British to annoy the French. Which is just about true.  And if you don’t understand why and how Belgium was invented, you won’t understand the significance of the elections in Belgium earlier this summer. In 1795 the revolutionary French occupied what were...


The Fainting Irish

Yes, the Irish caved in and reversed their vote against the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty.  Gutless?  Of course.  But I’ve spent too many years in Dublin and Cork to be surprised.  The Irish did the same thing when they voted no to an earlier treaty in June 2001.  The next year they gave in to...


Dissolving Britain

I have a picture pinned over my desk here in Brussels, a 1929 photograph—“obtained under great difficulty,” the caption says—of a man being executed by guillotine at 5 a.m. on an open street in France. The title of the picture is “Legacy of the French Revolution.”  I keep it because it is a modern link with...


Aids, Condoms, and Liberals

Since I’ve just finished reading a two-page spread in the Wall Street Journal on sexual assault among staff at the United Nations, I hesitate to refer to a U.N. report in support of what I am about to say on sexual incontinence and AIDS.  Still, here it is, as quoted by Edward C. Green, a...