Sunday, July 27, 2008

I went to 'barrack' Obama in Berlin

Last Thursday I took a trip out the Tiergarten with K to watch US Presidential candidate Barack Obama deliver a speech to the German public in front of the Siegessäule (he wasn't important enough to speak in fron t of the Brandenburg Gates).

I do like good public speaking and was not let down by Obama who gave an excellent performance technically though he did not really say anything very earth shattering.

We couldn't get any nearer than about 300m away, so never actually saw him. However, there was a huge screen less than 15 metres away and the sound and pictue was excellent. The first thing I realised was that here was a person speaking a foreign language - using complicated language and ideas and expecting to be understood. Hardly any German (due to false pride) would admit they could not understand him and that is possiblly why his speech did not go down as well as he might have liked. There were a few ripples of applause when he mentioned key phrases but it was not spontaneous.

It seemed to me he had come to get Germany to send more troops to Afghanistan and attempted to use the Berlin airlifts to engender some guilt. The crowd was mostly apathetic and drifted off at the end a little confused. Nobody was really talking about it and it appeared many people were there just for the curiosity factor.

Anyway, there was plenty of booze and cheap food for sale as there always is for any public gathering in Germany. I didn't barrack him during the speech but shouted my annoyance (much to the confusion of peope) that he turned up late.



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