Monday, July 21, 2008

Welcome to Berlin Barrack!

I am back in Berlin after working at the U.N. in NYC in the last months. And Berlin is exactly where I want to be this week. After many “famous people”-sightings at the U.N. and in NYC – I met/saw Ban Ki-Moon, Jeffrey Sachs, Bill Clinton, Jim Kim, and the Pope – this week holds the biggest price of them all: My friend Obama is coming to Berlin on Thursday!

After our chancellor Angela Merkel asked him not to speak in front of the Brandenburg Gate, he is now speaking in front of the so called Siegessäule (The Victory Column) which is surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks I know, the Tiergarten, and faces the Brandenburg Gate (the picture shows the view from the top of the column looking at the Brandenburg Gate last winter).

Even though I can sort of understand Angela’s reservations, I still think it was the wrong decision not to let him have his speech in front of the gate. After they announced the new sight of the speech, American and German newspapers are full with reservations about a speech in front of the Siegessäule today (because of its history that I won’t try to describe here … see the NYT OP-ED if you’re interested).

All I can say is: Just let him talk wherever! Everything in Berlin – with the exception of my living room - has some weird history to it…

No one knows how many people will show up. Estimates are in between 10.000 and 1 million. In Portland he drew a crowd of 75.000 people. I hope it will be more next Thursday. I’ll definitely be there. It’s the sight of the public viewing areas during the World Cup in 2006. There was talk about putting up big screens for public viewing so that everyone who wants to see him can get a glimpse. Two years after I watched the World Championship in a public viewing area at the same sight, I hope to see a killer speech of one of the – hopefully – new world champions in politics. Go Obama!

I’ll keep you updated!


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