Touring and finding inspiration in Berlin
Being a hostess for PokerStars.tv, I have had the privilege of visiting some of the most glamorous cities in the world. There are a few things outside of poker (and vast sums of money being thrown around, of course) that connect all the stops on the European Poker Tour. Every stop on the tour opens the door to an entirely unique culture that is shaped by their specific past.
With such a dramatic and controversial history, I was eager to explore Berlin for the Season 9 stop of the EPT.
The first must-see stop on my list was the Brandenburg Gate. As I approached the gate, I could hear the sounds of drumming and chanting. When I got closer, I realized there was a protest heading right through the gate. Protesting is one of the essential ways for citizens to exercise their voices and make known their desires to the policy makers of their area. Not only did it energize me to see residents actively pursuing their cause, but it was a cause I totally support. These German people were protesting the torture of animals for experimentation. I was tempted to just skip making my video and join the parade of animals and people onward!
Not far from the Gate was the site I was most looking forward to seeing: the Reichstag building. In 1933, a fire in the Reichstag nearly burned it to the ground. This fire was pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany. In modern times, it has been widely accepted that the Nazis may have started the fire themselves because it gave a pretext to suspend citizens' rights and increase state security throughout Germany. As the world is acutely aware, it did not stop there. Since then, a large glass dome has been added to the center of the building to represent transparency in government.
My last stop was the Berlin Wall. After seeing the actual wall, I went to visit some bits of it that have been erected as sort of statues in Potsdamer Platz. One of the craziest things I have ever seen on a historical monument was graffiti that read: "Next Wall to Fall Wall Street." Regardless of what your political position is, it is so refreshing to see people that use their graffiti to talk about the state of the world economy and not to tag some meaningless gang sign or something.
An understanding of a poignant and tumultuous past, a consciousness of the ease and swiftness that often birth tyranny, has made the German people engaged and involved in their country and in the world. Every monument of the past that I visited contained elements of a future that is ripe with mindfulness and rooted deeply in an active participation in culture, government and the political landscape.
The history of the German people is not a black mark but a guide to the present. In my opinion, we could all take note. I am grateful for the opportunity to see a great history in the form of famous landmarks but even more grateful for the strength and courage of the German people who have re-instilled my faith in the awareness and activism of the world population.