Coca-Cola apologizes for indigenous people ad intended as ‘message of unity’3 days ago
The ad, in which fair-skinned people bring soda to a local town, is not the first time countrys lax advertising regulations permitted offensive stereotyping
Coca-Cola issued a rare apology and was necessary to pull an online advert which was deemed offensive to Mexicos indigenous people by customers, media and advocacy groups in the country.
The ad demonstrates fair-skinned, attractive, young people turning up at an indigenous township bearing gifts of sugary fizzy drinks and a Christmas tree for the overawed locals. The company said its ad, set in the Mixe town of Totontepec in the state of Oaxaca, was meant to convey a message of unity and joy. Instead, it reproduction and reinforced stereotypes of indigenous people as culturally and racially subordinate, according to activists, who want the company sanctioned by the governments anti-discrimination committee.
But this was not the first time Mexicos relaxed attitude to advertising regulation and uncouth stereotypes have triggered an online backlash against a multinational company.
Aeromexico, the national airline, had to apologise in 2013 after a casting call invited only fair-skinned actors to apply for a new Tv commercial.
Mexicos population is largely dark-skinned, but few are ever casting in positive roles on television.
Amid widespread fury at the flagrantly racist ad, Aeromexico tried to deflect the blame by pointing the finger at the ag bureau.
Earlier this year, McDonalds made a huge culture faux pas when it decided to disparage a popular traditional breakfast dish in hope of boosting its own sales.
A Facebook campaign to promote McBurritos claimed tamales a popular steamed savoury maize dish stuffed with spiced meat or cheese which dates back to pre-Hispanic cultures were a thing of the past( Tamales son del pasado ).
The ad caused such a ruckus that it was withdrawn within hours.
Last year, carmaker Renault Mexico was shamed into submission after its YouTube ad for the SUV Koleos was detonation as racist, sexist and classist by Spanish-language media.
In the ad, a sophisticated driver listening to classical music while stuck at a traffic light is ambushed by some street musicians looking for a few pesos. Local media noted that while such scenes are common in Mexican adverts, they are considered belittling by countries which regulate ad content.
Amid an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, the coming week retreat by Coca-Cola was not the first time its ad tactics have prompted criticism in Mexico which is the biggest consumer of sugary fizzy beverages in the world.
The company ended its 149 calories of happiness campaign after customer groups announced threatened to lodge a formal complaint with regulators alleging deliberate deception. At the time, Coca-Cola told the Guardian that the timing was coincidental, as the campaign was due to end anyway.
Not even the government itself isimmune from advertising boo-boos. In October, a video campaign to publicize government reforms was withdrawn within 24 hours after its endeavor at humorous irony predictably backfired.
The video in which the government complained about the publics objections – triggered a wave of anti-government sentiments causing the hashtag #YaCholeConTusQuejas( enough of your objections) to swiftly trend on Twitter.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
She could have been a top US soccer player. Problem was, she was undocumented3 days ago
Allyson Duarte was good, worked hard, and dreamed of playing soccer at a top US college. But she soon learned talent means nothing when you dont have papers
She came to America to chase a soccer career only to learn that talent means nothing here when you are undocumented. Now 25 -year-old Allyson Duarte sits inside an airport named Reagan, gazing at a city called Washington, and wonders which politicians will ruin their own lives next.
Through a giant window at Reagan national airport she can see the US Capitol gleaming in the late-day sun. The day before she had been inside under its dome with 1,000 other Dreamer- undocumented high school graduates brought here as children like her- asking Congress to pass a Dream Act that protects high school and college graduates without criminal records.
But as she waits for a flight back to Texas, where she has lived since eighth grade, she worries that supportive words from representatives and senators might not be enough, a legislative solution won’t be reached for Dreamer and he will be shipped back to Mexico.
What is the American Dream any more? Once she thought she knew. That was back when she was 13 in Veracruz, Mexico, wanted nothing more than to access the US soccer system, go to college and play professionally. She believed the American Dream all the way through high school in McAllen, Texas, where she had a 3.8 grade point average and an ability to play almost stanceon the field. She thought those things alone would get her into almost any top soccer school, until she realise those colleges sometimes flew to away matches and because she had no government ID she wouldn’t be able to get on the planes. If she couldn’t fly, she couldn’t play college soccer.
By the time Barack Obama generated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012 letting her to procure a work permit( that lets her fly) her chance to play college football had passed.
” I was this close ,” she says, leaning forward in her seat, pinching her thumb and index fingers virtually together.” That’s how I started questioning meritocracy and the American Dream. I had to grapple with their own problems of not having access to the American Dream .”
Then she slumps back in the chair, sighs heavily and gazes in silence at the city that has reduced people like her to a television talking point.
As a child, Duarte loved soccer, playing it every day on the street outside her mothers’ home in Veracruz. She didn’t care the other players were all boys. She could play rough. She could play fast. When she was 12 she joined a local women’s club. The players were all 18 and essentially adults. But playing with them stimulated her realize how good she could be. She was convinced she could play professionally.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘A useful punching bag’: why Hungary’s Viktor Orban has turned on George Soros5 days ago
There are fears that the far right could be emboldened by a campaign against the Hungarian-born American billionaire. Shaun Walker reports from Budapest
In 1989 the American-Hungarian financier George Soros pay money Viktor Orbn to study in Britain. Two decades later, he donated$ 1m to Orbns government to help the cleanup after the red sludge environmental disaster .
Over the years, the billionaire has spent hundreds of millions of dollars financing education and civil society projects in Hungary, the country of his birth, through his Open Society Foundations( OSF ).
But now Soros has become the Hungarian prime ministers No 1 political target.
On billboards across Budapest Soros stands accused of being a political marionette master. Last week, in a move seen as directly targeting Soros, Hungarys parliament passed legislation necessitating NGOs to declare themselves as foreign agents on their websites and documentation if they receive funding from political sources abroad.
How did it get to this?
Soross reputation in Hungary took a specific made during the course of its 2015 migrant crisis, when his advocacy for the humane therapy for refugees ran up against Hungarys ultra-conservative government, led by Orbn, a rightwing nationalist.
In recent months, the dispute has intensified. The “ministers ” has described the billionaire as someone who had ruined the lives of tens of millions of people with currency speculation.
Soros hit back with a speech in Brussels this month in which he referred to the Hungarian government as a mafia nation and said: He[ Orbn] sought to frame his policies as a personal conflict between the two of us and has constructed me the target of his unrelenting propaganda campaign.
Orbns spokesman, Zoltn Kovcs, told the Guardian that the Brussels speech was a declaration of political war on Hungary. Soros-funded organisations, Kovcs said, were engaged in political activism camouflaged as NGO work.
Goran Buldioski, director of the OSFs Budapest-based Europe office, told Soross funding for Hungary had been dramatically scaled back since the country joined the EU in 2004. Much of the previous funding was for growth and education, with Orbn the recipient of a Soros-funded scholarship to study at the University of Oxford in 1989. Soros also set up the Central European University, based in Budapest, which has been targeted by Orbns government of late.
But Soross foundations spent only $3.6 m in Hungary in 2016, told Buldioski, a tiny fraction of what the government spent on promoting a referendum last October aimed at barring refugees from the country.
On his desk at the OSF offices in Budapest, Buldioski keeps a copy of a recent edition of a popular local newspaper, which featured a full-page photo of Soros on page two, accompanied by the caption Outrageous.
A video recently produced by Orbns ruling Fidesz alliance also uses the Outrageous slogan and complains that the EU wants to change Hungarys tough migration policy, and then tells: An organisation shall be financed by George Soros is launching lawsuits against our homeland in support of Brussels.
The video refers to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, partially funded by OSF, which provided free legal assistance to about 3,000 people last year, including many asylum seekers, taking 70 examples to the European tribunal of human rights.
The organisation said it would not comply with the new demands to brand itself a foreign agent, calling the law unconstitutional.
Some government critics said the attacks on Soros were merely an exploitative method of harnessing popular support in the run-up to elections next spring.
Hes a very useful punch bag, because hes both the insider and the outsider, the meddling foreigner and the Hungarian Jew, said Heather Grabbe, director of the Open Society European Policy Institute, which is the EU policy arm of the OSF. She added that there were clear antisemitic overtones to the campaign against Soros by Fidesz.
Soros was born Gyrgy Schwartz to a family of Hungarian Jews in 1930, but his father changed their surname to make it more Hungarian. As a young son in the 1930 s, Soros lived in an apartment on Budapests Kossuth tr, the square overlooking the parliament build, until his family was forced to split up and are living in assumed identities to escape the Holocaust. He left Hungary in 1947 to study in London, and later emigrated to the US, constructing billions as an investor and hedge fund manager.
Hungarys Jewish community is split over the question of whether antisemitism plays a role in Orbns grievance with Soros. Adam Schonberger, director of a Jewish organisation that runs the Aurora community centre in Budapest, said he believed the governmental forces campaign was not antisemitic, but had the potential to empower others who were.
The Aurora centre was set up in 2014 and acts as a kind of coalition of the vulnerable, housing the offices of NGOs that work on Jewish issues, Roma issues, LGBT rights, migrants, drug use and homelessness. The proceeds from an on-site bar and regular concerts go to support the running of the space, and the centres initial funding arrived partially from Soros.
Last month, a group of far-right activists defaced the outside of the building, spray-painting Stop Operation Soros on the pavement and plastering photographs of his face with a red cross struck through it on the doorway. Time permitting, we will say hello again, said an article about the two attacks posted on a far-right website. The centre appealed to police, but authorities claimed there was nothing they could do about it.
One of the reasons theyre behaving more brazenly now is that they have a sense that their hour has come. Their mission to save Hungary has become mainstream political ideology, said Schonberger, sitting in Auroras courtyard, which turns into a bar in the evenings.
Buldioski said: In the past, Soros was criticised by the political fringe, rightwing nationalists and some radical leftists. But now, the criticism is moving more mainstream.
Not simply in Hungary. In Romania, the chairman of the ruling Social Democratic party, Liviu Dragnea, told Soros and his organisations have fed evil in the country; while a Polish MP from the ruling conservative government has referred to Soros as the most hazardous human in the world. The US right has also joined in: in a semi-coherent rant, radio host and Donald Trump supporter Alex Jones claimed Soros heads a Jewish mafia.
But while Jones is on the edge of the debate, in Hungary, the anti-Soros discourse has become mainstream, feeding into the populist anti-migrant discourse. Andrs Bencsik, editor of the rightwing monthly publication Demokrata, described Soros as a dangerous man who was destabilising Hungary, first and foremost through his attitude to migration. We said: Thank you very much but we want to close our doors, and Soros told: No, I want you to open the gates.
Benscik, a Fidesz member whose office is decorated with swords, daggers and portraits of Hungarian statesmen, indicated darkly that Soros may have some secret plan to destroy the country, but struggled to explain what this secret conspiracy might be.
Behind his mask there is another person with a objective, we just dont know what it is. He has a special programme in his intellect, but nobody knows what it is, he said.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Ted Cruz Twitter account ‘likes’ pornographic tweet8 days ago
Married Texas senator, who once defended a ban on sex dolls, asked to explain how his account came to like the graphic post
Texas senator Ted Cruz has been asked to explain himself after his official account “liked” a pornographic tweet.
Although liking a Twitter post does not necessarily share it, the tweet became available to view on Cruz’s confirmed profile, leading to series of awkward screenshots.
Manchester City’s plan for global dominance12 days ago
The long read: Football has already been transformed by big money but the businessmen behind Man City are trying to build a global corporation that will change the game for ever
On 19 December 2009, Pep Guardiola stood and wept in the middle of Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The 38-year-old Barcelona manager clasped a hand across his face as his body gave way to huge, shoulder-heaving sobs. Zlatan Ibrahimović, the club’s towering Swedish striker, wrapped a tattooed arm around Guardiola’s neck and then gave him a vigorous push in order to jolt him out of it. But Guardiola could not stop. It was a strange place for the world’s most celebrated football coach to break down: Barcelona had just won a game that few people watched on television to secure one of football’s most obscure titles, the Fifa Club World Cup. But the victory secured an unbreakable record: Barcelona had won all six titles available to any club in a single year. That is why Pep was sobbing.
Back at home in Barcelona, it was a bittersweet moment for Ferran Soriano. A hairdresser’s son from the city’s working-class district of Poblenou, Soriano had become one of FC Barcelona’s top executives – and had helped build what could now claim to be the greatest football team the world had ever seen. “I was happy, but it was also painful not to be there when the team reached its pinnacle,” he told me. Instead, he picked up the phone and called Guardiola.
Soriano had overseen Barcelona’s finances for five years until 2008, and the club’s record owed much to the ideas he had developed after running a US-style political campaign to bring a group of swashbuckling, sharp-suited young men to power at elections for a new board of directors in 2003. He had even written a book, La Pelota no entra por azar (“The ball doesn’t go in by chance”), in which he argued that Barcelona’s success – and, by inference, that record – was the result of good, creative business management. Vicious political infighting had driven him to resign from the club the previous year. But even before that, he had seen one of his more ambitious ideas – to set up franchise clubs in other countries – thwarted at Barcelona. This was a step too far for a club owned by 143,000 voting fans, firmly rooted in their city and Catalonia.
But Soriano’s big idea has now been brought to life by two men who were watching very closely on the night Guardiola wept in Abu Dhabi: one is a member of the United Arab Emirates’ ruling family, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and the other is Khaldoon al-Mubarak, a youthful executive and adviser to the royal family. With their backing, Soriano is now upending football’s established order by building its first true multinational corporation – a Coca-Cola of soccer.
That corporation is City Football Group (CFG). It already owns, or co-owns, six clubs on four continents, and the contracts of 240 male professional players and two dozen women. Hundreds more carefully picked teenagers and younger children who aspire to greatness play in CFG’s lower teams. The longterm ambition is huge. The company will trawl the world for players – shaping and polishing them in state-of-the-art academies and training facilities across several continents, selling them on or sending the best to the clubs it will own (and improve) in a dozen or so countries. Supplied and shielded by the vessels around it, the flagship of this new football flotilla – Manchester City FC – will continue its already startling rise to become the world’s greatest club.
That is the Soriano idea – or at least, a simplified version of a complex plan. The corporation is only four years old, but it is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful forces in the world’s favourite sport – watched with awe, envy and fear by those who wonder if it could become football’s own Google or Facebook.
In a game where top players cost £200m, televised matches attract audiences of hundreds of millions and club owners are among the wealthiest potentates on the planet, no expense is spared in seeking any competitive edge. Once upon a time, money alone was enough to make the difference (if it was spent wisely), but that is no longer the case, in part because there is so much of it sloshing around the game.
When Manchester City won the Premier League in 2012, Sheikh Mansour was widely accused of “buying the title for £1bn” – the amount of money he had poured into City since purchasing the club four years earlier. It was City’s first major trophy in 36 years, and grown men cried when Sergio Agüero’s goal in the penultimate minute of the season’s final game secured the title. Mansour watched it on television: he had only ever been to one match at City’s Etihad stadium, and did not enjoy the fuss his visit caused. In the hours that followed, his phone hummed, filling up with 2,500 messages.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Trump in Moscow: what happened at Miss Universe in 201318 days ago
The pageant and the presidents attempts to get close to Putin have become a focus of the investigation into Trumps links to Russian interference in the US election
Sitting in a makeshift studio overlooking the Moscow river on a crisp day in November 2013, Donald Trump pouted, stared down the lens of a television camera and said something he would come to regret.
Asked by an interviewer whether he had a relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, the brash New York businessman could not resist boasting.” I do have a relationship with him ,” Trump said.
Russia’s strongman had” done a rather brilliant task “, Trump told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts, before declaring that Putin had bested Barack Obama.” He’s done an amazing undertaking- he’s put himself actually at the forefront of the world as a leader in a short period of time .”
Trump, a teetotaler, seemed intoxicated by the buzz surrounding the glitzy event that had brought him back to Moscow: that year’s instalment of the Miss Universe contest that he then owned.
Four years later, he is struggling to shake off the hangover.
The 2013 pageant has become a focal point for the simultaneous investigations, led by special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees, into whether associates of Trump colluded with Russian officials to help them win the 2016 US presidential election.
Investigators are examining closely endeavours apparently made by the Russian government to pass Trump’s team damaging information on Hillary Clinton, using Trump’s politically connected Miss Universe business partners as couriers.
They are also looking into the $20 m fee that Trump collected for putting on the pageantry from those same business partners- along with extraordinary allegations about Trump’s private conduct behind closed doors at the Ritz-Carlton hotel during his 2013 stay in Moscow.
The Guardian has learned of additional, previously unreported, the linkages between Trump’s business partners on the pageantry and Russia’s government. The ties are likely to attract further scrutiny by researchers who are already biting at the heels of Trump associates.
A full accounting of Trump’s actions in the Russian capital as that autumn turned to winter may be critical to resolving a controversy that has already devoured the first eight months of his presidency.
” Our committee’s investigation will not be complete unless we fully understand who President Trump met with when he was over in Russia for Miss Universe, and what follow-up contacts resulted ,” Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in an interview.
Trump’s attorney, John Dowd, declined to answer when asked whether the president’s team accepts that the Miss Universe contest is a legitimate area of inquiry for investigators.” Fake news ,” Dowd said in an email.
‘Gunsplaining’ and conspiracy hypothesis: how rightwing pundits assured the Las Vegas shooting19 days ago
Conservative novelists have established a situated of standard responses to each new mass shooting. Jason Wilson looks at those much in evidence this week
Some differences of opinion are permissible in conservative media. Not everyone agrees about wars, foreign powers, terror, or narcotics. Some are not fans of the current president. Some even risk unconventional “pro-choice” opinions.
But the second amendment- virtually unrestricted access to guns- is sacrosanct. Across the spectrum of rightwing sentiment, from libertarians to the Christian right, pretty much everyone agrees that Americans’ unique access to firearms should continue. We can put this down to any number of things, from the country’s history of frontier settler violence to the influence of the NRA. But there it is.
When a carnage happens, rightwing pundits have work to do: they need to convince any waverers that easy access to semi-automatic weapons has nothing to do with mass-casualty shootings. They also need Republican legislators to remain aware that any moves to restrict access to handguns will ruin their career.
Accordingly, rightwing pundits have evolved a series of standard responses to mass murder. Today we’ll look at five of them, all of which have been in evidence this week.
The conspiracy hypothesi
Conspiracy theory is now an ingrained response to mass shootings. If it was once a marginal pursuing, the “alt-right” upsurge and the election of a chairwoman who is himself an inveterate conspiracy theorist mean that these beliefs have a large audience and a new quasi-legitimacy.
As you would expect from highly influential radio prove host Alex Jones, his website and radio show are canvassing the full gamut of conspiracy theories about the event. So far, Jones and his reporters have put forth a number of hypothesis: that the shooter was targeting conservatives; that he was connected to Islamic extremism; that he was in league with anti-fascists.
Stars welcome Academy move to expel Weinstein over sexual assault claims1 month, 1 day ago
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science kickings mogul out over allegations including rape from more than two dozen women
Hollywood superstars have welcomed the expulsion of shamed movie producer Harvey Weinstein from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In an unprecedented move after a special session held in Los Angeles on Saturday morning, the Academy board said:” We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the epoch of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.
” What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in national societies. The committee continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify .”
Among those who supported the decision was actor Mia Farrow, whose son Ronan write a New Yorker article in which three women alleged Weinstein raped them. She tweeted:” Proud of TheAcademy! Harvey Weinstein is out .”
Emmy Rossum, the starring of Shameless, wrote” Amen, the academy !!!” while Hellboy actor Ron Perlman tweeted:” As the states members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science I am proud of their decision to expel Harvey Weinstein .”
Weinstein, 65, faces allegations of sexual misconduct from more than two dozen women and three of rape. He has apologized for having” caused a lot of pain” but has forcefully denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. It is believed he is currently in Arizona, receiving “treatment” related to his behavior.
In its 90 -year history, the Academy has expelled merely one other member, and merely because 83 -year-old Carmine Caridi, an actor, transgressed specific written regulations about sharing screener copies of cinemas in 2004. No member has been expelled for unethical or potentially criminal behavior, including figures such as Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and Mel Gibson, who have had high-profile sex or domestic assault accusations made against them.
The academy’s 54 -member board of governors needed a two-thirds referendum to trigger an expulsion, according to its bylaws. It voted” well in excess” of that requirement, according to the Academy statement.
The Academy’s UK counterpart, Bafta, suspended Weinstein on Wednesday morning , calling his alleged behavior” completely unacceptable and incompatible with Bafta’s values “.
In an emotional interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Saturday, even Weinstein’s fucking brother advocated his suspension.” I have a brother that’s indefensible and crazy ,” told Bob Weinstein, 62 and an executive at The Weinstein Company( TWC ).” I find myself in a waking nightmare. My brother has caused unconscionable suffering. As a father of three daughters I say this with every bone in my body- I am heartbroken for the women that he has harmed .”
Prior to the decision others were less sure, arguing that pushing Weinstein out might define a difficult precedent.
” For the Academy to treat Harvey as if he is the only creep in the business is wrong ,” Mitchell Block, a member of the short cinemas and feature animation branch, told the Hollywood Reporter .” The problem is far larger than just Mr Weinstein. The silence about the other sociopaths is deafening. I think the Academy should not move hurriedly and take action until it fully understands the scope of the problem and devises a clear policy .”
Weinstein has a complicated relationship with the Academy. On the one hand, according to a Quartz analysis, he is the second most-thanked person in Oscar award speeches over the past quarter-century, just behind Steven Spielberg and tied with God. His movies have been nominated for more than 300 Academy Awards. He won an Oscar himself as producer of the 1999 made Shakespeare in Love.
On the other hand, some Hollywood insiders tell Weinstein was more tolerated than loved- he has long been known for a gruff, abrasive demeanor.” He’s never been an insider with them ,” one anonymous member told Daily Variety .” They’ve never really liked him .”
Many of the Academy rules around award-season lobbying were put in place in response to the type of aggressive campaigns Weinstein was famous for mounting.
The New York Times first reported accusations against Weinstein this month. More than 30 women have now accused the mega-producer of inappropriate sexual behavior, including four who have alleged that he raped them. The most recent rape allegation was levied by performer Rose McGowan on Twitter. In a string of tweets directed at Amazon Studios late on Thursday, she wrote:” HW raped me .”
Police forces-out in the US and the UK are investigating. In a statement issued after the New Yorker detailed allegations of rape, the TWC board said it was ” shocked and dismayed” and” committed to assisting with our full energies in all criminal or other investigations of these alleged acts “.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
‘ I hopped up on the wall and got my sax out ‘: the autumn of the Berlin Wall1 month, 1 day ago
Stephen Ellery plays the saxophone on the Berlin Wall, 10 November 1989
My obsession with the Eastern bloc, particularly the Soviet Union, started when I was doing my -Alevels; inspired by cold war snoop narratives, I wanted to be a nuclear physicist in Moscow. In the end, I examined composition at Birmingham Conservatoire. When the distinguished Polish composer Marek Stachowski visited government departments, we got talking and I managed to persuade him to let me study with him. Thats how I aimed up, aged 23, living in Krakow, analyzing composition and conducting.
To make ends meet during my two and a half years there, I played saxophone in Hamburg. With merely two lessons a week at college, I had long weekends, so Id catch the sleeper train to East Berlin, cross the city, then hitch to Hamburg it was easy and encouraged, and you never had to wait more than 10 minutes. Id find a jam session in a jazz club, and join in with the hope of being asked to gig with them. Id often earn 200 DM, which was a fortune.
Id sometimes spend time in East Berlin on the way back; my Krakow residents permit allowed me to stay longer than western tourists. It was very neat and orderly. The official exchange rate was one East German DM to one West German DM, but nobody paid that. If you bought them in the west, it was 11:1. So Id stuff my pocket with notes and live like a king ballet, opera, champagne, caviar, nice dinners. East Berlin eateries were really good compared with the rest of the country.
I was aware of the changes afoot in the region for a few months: traveling limiteds easing in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, mass protests. But no one would have predicted what happened on the night of 9 November.
I was in West Berlin the following morning; I went to Checkpoint Charlie, my usual crossing phase into East Berlin, to catch the develop back to Krakow. Instead of orderly queues of people indicating their papers at the border, East Germans were streaming through, hugging and crying.
People were sitting on the wall, drinking champagne and brews, so I hopped up to join them. I always had my sax with me, so it seemed natural to get it out. I played Misty, In The Mood, Autumn Leaves, and a few blues and rock numbers. I climbed down when I started to get chilly, and caught the sleeper develop back to Poland.
I usually slept with my saxophone, but that night, after a few too many brews, I set it on the empty bunk above me. When I woke up, it used to go. It was funny, because Id been thinking of donating it to someone( a young student, say) when I got back to Krakow, so I could focus on my conducting. It was my papas saxophone.
A few months later, at the end of December, he called to say this photograph was in the Independent, part of a huge supplement on the momentous events a few months earlier.
I did eventually get to the Soviet Union, just as it was collapsing, and remained for four years, analyzing and running as a conductor, which I still do today. I never did make it as a nuclear physicist.
Are you in a notable photo? Email thatsme @theguardian. com
Pain is political- we’re unequal even when we’re suffering | Arwa Mahdawi1 month, 1 day ago
Arwa Mahdawi: The style we talk about the US opioid crisis speaks volumes about whose pain get taken most seriously