Fear of Losing Estonian-ness

As part of being in Berlin this week I attended a lovely hacker conference-party by the name of PH-Neutral. Perhaps the best part of this get together was that I met two very fun new friends, K and F. (maybe they dont want their names used, who knows)

K recognized me from the talk I gave at the congress back in December, she gave me a big smile and told me how much she enjoyed my talk. Turns out K is Estonian but has moved her life to Berlin. She and her boyfriend took me out on the town last night, exposing me to some of the nightspots where other revolutionaries gather. And throughout the evening we discussed education, culture, the internets, and much more.

One very interesting thing I learned from K about what is going on in Estonia, was about how fearful Estonians are that their culture will disappear. With only around 1 million citizens, she explained that the very common political and social discussion is about how things like culture, language, and especially music, must be preserved and passed on. This is, of course, while Estonia also has a very significant Russian minority that has lived in the country for several decades. The conflict she pointed out was that Russia being so huge and right next door, is seen as a force that could erode Estonian culture… and as an extension of that.. there becomes a struggle between the Estonians and the Russians in Estonia regarding language, culture, and from what Ive read – rights.

So then comes the very typical discussion that you here in various countries… the classic question of how minority groups should interact with the so-called national majority.

K and I agreed that neither of us supports the forcing of anyone to be anything. But I understood that the average citizen in Estonia doesn’t share our opinion. Instead it sounds like typical rhetoric about how minority groups must do this and that in order to be good citizens and get “intigrated”. Still it is hard to compare what happens in Estonia to say.. the US or even Germany. Small place. Few people. Unique situation.

Kitchen Radio Berlin

I wandered over a few blocks from where Im staying here in Prenzlauerberg (Berlin), to take part in the latest eipisode of Küchen Radio. The people sitting around the kitchen table were great fun and I loved answering questions and observing their style of running a show.

By all means click and give a listen, you’ll here me talk about media, money, growing up Portuguese-American, some very personal issues, and much more… if you can stand one hour of me and the Küchen friends.. go for it.

Otherwise all is well in Berlin. Many stories to tell and issues to bring up. Also if certain organizations would please return my dam emails, I could continue doing my crusading journalist work!

Off to Berlin

I have a few hours to sleep before catching my internet-hitchhike to Berlin. Two podcasts in the can after two great interviews today, but for tonight I leave you with a photo.

More once Im safely at my friend Tim’s in the city that I so love to visit.

They Want Me In Berlin

Lots of people. I’m serious.

As I’ve made my way around town, and had such unforgetable evenings, my good friends here in Berlin have more than hinted that I should move here. Not that I’m looking for a place to move, but no matter, it frequently comes up that this town and I would go well together. Which I find interesting and somewhat true.

When you consider how cities around the world have become, especially in the western world, with their skyrocketing property values, corporate chain stores everywhere you turn, and alternative culture being pushed into oblivion.. Berlin is a wonderful exception.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… this is a city for creative people. Sure the economy is shit. And the german language is not always a walk in the park. Plus if you’re me, it is really far from any immediate family members..

Butif you’re sitting there in Brooklyn watching your new neighbors pay triple your rent in their newly renovated lofto-condo, or if you’re in Amsterdam sitting in your closet of an apartment, or perhaps you’re even in London where everytime you breathe I think it costs money… this place may just represent relief and joy.

Just a thought.

I’m staying in Amsterdam. But nothing will keep me from frequently visiting or boasting about this town.

New Year in the Berlin

ITs anti social of me to blog from a party… but what the hell… its a party of computer loving germans.. they understand.

WE’re watching dinner for one.. which Tim tells me.. is a tradition on New Years in Germany.

So Im off to watch and put this computer away. Tomorrow Ill get back to journalism, commentary, and who knows what… for tonight.. I wish you all, in whatever time zone you’re in, dear readers… happy new year. May it be a more peaceful and interesting one.

bmtv33 Glimpse of the 23C3

Click To Play

Most of the time it feels odd to take any photos or video of such a special event. But naturally I couldn’t help but take some video and make this montage of how I saw this years Chaos Communications Congress. Suffice to say, from now on.. I know where I will be between xmas and new years. The Congress Website