Issue #4: Day Late, Euro Short
Sam discusses the policy outcomes of the 2022 elections, Jesse recommends a must-see play and Matt reviews a must-see movie
Good Evening Y’all -
I’m writing you from a Deutsche Bahn train travelling through the Black Forest in Germany. Throughout the trip, the train will regularly reach speeds of 250 km/h (155 mph). Every time I’m in Europe, I can’t help but wonder what the States would be like if we had this level of public transportation infrastructure.
On the other hand, the Americanization of Europe continues. Yesterday in Bavaria, the NFL played its first-ever regular season football game in Germany. 60,000 fans watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Seattle Seahawks in Munich, and many fans from the United States made the trip, including the person in front of me when I cleared customs on Friday.
Ever the contrarian, I opted for another type of football last night and saw my Bundesliga (soccer) team lose 4:1 in Freiburg im Breisgau. It wasn’t all bad, however, as I joined the famously raucous Union Berlin supporters in a chorus of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Despite our exuberance in the face of defeat, the match started with a pointed, political moment. Thousands of fans raised signs that said “Boycott Qatar,” in reference to the country hosting the Men’s World Cup next week. A larger fan-made tifo (soccer banner) said the same, and banners circling the stadium on the second level made pointed critiques of Qatar’s record on women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.
One of the biggest reasons driving protests against Qatar is their treatment of the estimated 30,000 foreign workers brought in to build the stadiums, and the appalling death toll. The Guardian estimated 6,500 migrant worker deaths at the beginning of last year. The human cost of the 2022 Men’s World Cup is appalling, such that it necessitates inclusion in any soccer content over the next month.
Unfortunately, after what happened to Colin Kaepernick and others I can’t imagine the same sort of protest at an NFL game, even in Germany. On the other hand, if the U.S. Women’s Soccer team had been scheduled to play in Qatar, I’m sure we would have been proud of how they showed up.
The tifo is another reminder that politics is everywhere, and Qatar isn’t the only place where politics has a real impact on our lives. With that in mind, for this week’s issue of Y’all Weekly I wrote a summary of what this year’s elections may mean on the policy side, and the real threats to democracy that are a direct consequence of North Carolina’s elections.
Additionally, Jesse has a review of Three Bone Theatre’s production of Sanctuary City, a play about how questions of politics, nationality, identity, and more intersect. Sanctuary City is a must-see if you’re in Charlotte, as is The Banshees of Inisherin, the most recent film offering at the Independent Movie House. Our “Matt at the Movies” column has the review.
This issue is shorter and a day late due to travel, but I hope y’all still enjoy what we wrote this week.
This Week’s Stories
Congratulations to Nancy Carter and Barbara Bleiweis, who will continue to serve on Mecklenburg County’s Soil & Water Board, and a big shoutout to all of the overworked and underpaid political campaign staff across the country.
The City of Charlotte is coming up with an Arts & Culture Plan to guide the future of the arts in our city and region. You can learn more about the project, and contribute to the project by taking the survey to shape the kind of arts environment you want in Charlotte.
Additionally, if you would be interested in participating in a community conversation about the arts to give feedback and input for the plan, please shoot us an email and let us know.
Last week was the 84th anniversary of the Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass in Nazi Germany that caused hundreds if not thousands of deaths, damage to thousands of Jewish shops and the destruction of 267 synagogues, including one in Freiburg.
As I learned this week, Freiburg im Breisgau’s Old Synagogue was built in 1869. On November 9, 1938 the Nazi SS set fire to the building as stormtroopers sealed off the area, and the town’s firefighters stood ready to protect the buildings around the synagogue as it burned.
The memorial to the synagogue is a reflecting pool in the shape of the building at full scale. I’ll let the historical marker tell the rest of the story:
This reproduction of the floorplan of the Old Synagogue, in the form of a reflection water surface, is a reminder of those fellow citizens who were persecuted, deported and murdered during the National Socialist period (1933-1945), victims of the terror and violence of the NS regime.
Their fate obliges us to oppose anti-Semitism and racism, to stand up for peace and freedom and staunchly defend these values.
I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for reading.