Angola, Iran… and Poof Its Over.

by bicyclemark

I’ve been slow to post because life in Berlin was like a vacuum of time. No matter what time it was, I was supposed to be going somewhere to see something or someone.

Not that I’m complaining; it so happens that I have some of the finest friends a guy could have waiting for me in Berlin whenever I’m up for a visit. They’re so influencial, I now have a new city I might one day like to live in. (I can hear my mom gasping already)

But summaries and additional stories will come soon, as well as getting back to real issues instead of the world cup distraction from reality. First I want to talk briefly of my visit to Leipzig to see Angola take on Iran.

My intention is not to talk about the game itself. You can read sports blogs for that crap. But I do want to talk about the people… fans.. as some call them. It was already exciting to be seeing a world cup match, in Germany, in a city was part of old East Germany. But to be seated amongst so many Iranian supporters, and a few sections over from a huge crowd of Angolans… it was quite the experience.

In both cases, it is unlikely any of these fans had actually flown in from the home countries. Most were probably immigrants living in Germany, perhaps even second or third generation. They didn’t sing the songs I think you’d hear at a stadium back in Luanda or Tehran, because they probably haven’t been in a stadium in either city in a long time. Instead they dawned the colors, joined with friends, and filled the stadium. They also cursed their players when they messed up, and shouted their favorite player names, over and over.

As I sat there thinking to myself…this is not a matter of nationalism for one’s country. This is about culture… roots.. and remembering. To cheer for a miracle or at least, a good day, for the idea of a noble and admirable nation that at that moment.. in that stadium… becomes a reality.

On the way out of the stadium, I was happy to hear Portuguese. Angolan Portuguese of course, the sweetest of all the accents, as far as I’m concerned. I listened and watched, as families and neighbors joked with each other about the failures of their team. Flag trading and handshakes were also a common sight between the two groups of fans.

At this point, lots of sports writers these days would praise this is the key to world peace and a sign of how great the world is. But I disagree. As nice as it was, both these groups have sufferred greatly to arrive where they are today. Entire lives were uprooted because of overwhelming and complicated circumstances.

A world cup match may provide some nice stories and some unforgettably sweet moments, but it should not mask the truth about the kind of world we live in and helped create.

bm136 The Process of Creating 1 Berlin

by bicyclemark

(fixed because I am an idiot and it is 200 degrees centiheit in here. )

This apartment is like a furnace. My first impressions of being in Berlin will always be how dam hot it is. By second impression will be that of Alexanderplatz, as good friends from the Chaos Computer Club berlin took me to see some “Leftover shit from the East Berlin Days”. It was a fascinating walk just as it’s a fascinating city, especially with the very insane world cup being in full swing. As inept France stumbled to another tie, this podcast was recorded, focusing on just where we are in terms of uniting the east and west Berlin of old.


Got Any Flags

by bicyclemark

I have indeed arrived safe and sound though constantly hungry… here in Berlin. (watch this video for proof) The famous Tim is sitting to my right and most of the blog house has gone to sleep. I’ve no clue where I’m sleeping, so I’ll wait for everyone else to go to bed. Cept that some people are drinking like it’s 1999 and some teenagers just showed up at the door… so who knows when that will be.

Nevermind the shallow details, this blog is still about issues, regardless of how good the US plays or how awesome Ghana is.

I just pointed to an article in the Spiegel, about there being a run on German flags at all the shops. There have been quite a few podcasts recently covering the issue of the world cup and german nationalism. Interesting listening, for example, at Radio Open Source. Tim says this sort of thing was unheard of before this year. Normally someone running around with a German flag attached to their car would be socially cut-off… or scowled at.. or some sort of ostracizing.

A few berliner guests at the party tonight talked about this subject. They said it is pretty strange. Lots of mixed feelings about this new trend of being proud. I’ve heard Americans say its fine and good. But Americans are the last nationality I want to listen to about how much national pride is acceptable.

Naked Fussball

I digress. I’m in berlin for the first time in my life. Some of my favorite vloggers made the trip with me from Amsterdam and that makes it extra nice. Meanwhile, outside.. people drive around with flags attached to their cars. Beep beep beep.

bmtv10 Twas the Night Before Berlin

by bicyclemark

Click on the Photo below to be directed to my vlog about the journey that is about to begin. (this one is not in my feed for all those who hate video in my regular rss feed.)

More when I arrive in Berlin at some point tomorrow. Yeehaw.