I’ve been on a wild journey through the German city of Bonn the past few weeks. If you’re yet to take part you can look at part 1, part 2. One of the highlights was the Rhine River seen below with a photo taken by my friend Jördis.
Bonn turned out to be a great city. The weather on the other hand was something to behold sometimes rising to over 34 degrees celsius. A true summer indeed. A lovely thing to note was that the Deutsche Welle building had a very large thermometer on one side of the building to tell us just how cold or blisteringly hot the city is at any given time.
The digital storytelling program I was part of that you can read about here was a place I made great new colleagues from every continent. However it was the conference their Global Media Forum that was what took me to Bonn. And in particular one keynote speaker who everyone anticipated – Noam Chomsky.
Regarded as the father of the modern “Occupy” movement – the equivalent of which we’ve seen most recently with some of the Kenyan protests and marches to parliament buildings. He had some great thoughts to share which I’ll excerpt below.
“The commons have been steadily dismantled by the principle that everything has to be privately owned.”
“Widely regarded as the intellectual father of the Occupy Movement, Chomsky spoke about the current conflict in Gezi Park in Istanbul, saying that “the protesters are trying to save the last part of the commons in Istanbul from the wrecking ball of commercial destruction.” The renowned 85-year-old linguist and philosopher gave a lecture at the Global Media Forum entitled “Roadmap to a Just World – People Reanimating Democracy.“
You can see his remarks in the video below.
He said one thing in particular that was prior to the big NSA debacle and that strikes me as a very telling statement.
“The US must retain the right of first strike even against non-nuclear states, furthermore, nuclear weapons must always be available at the ready, because they cast the shadow over any crisis economic conflict that frightens advisories. The United States may become irrational and vindictive if their national interests are attacked.”
In the wake of Moscow and Snowden, who knows where that could lead if it plays out to be true. He certainly gave the entire audience food for thought.
Besides the conference there were several post-conference activities that included a lovely cruise down the Rhine river with the participants and each level of the cruise ship had something different. From the rooftop where German lagers flowed freely with meat and other treats to the deck below for those who wanted to dine in a 3 course meal.With the sun setting at past 10pm this makes for people being out much later than they expect! 🙂
Apart from the cruise there was the Best of Blogs ceremony happening on one of the evenings. Little did I know, I was also going to take part in the BoBs (Best of Blogs – an award ceremony where they had a life-size version of me by the main stage. A pleasant surprise as I’d previously shared some thoughts on online activism and what the web does for mobilising members of society in the previous month. AfricanDigitalArt.com and Afrinnovator.com were nominees respectively in 2012 for the BoBs awards.
I was on a panel at the conference – so expect that and some more in the next instalment of gallivanting in Bonn!