Two groups of antiwar Americans marching from opposite ends of Berlin’s biggest Iraq demonstration on February 15, 2003, got wind of each other and arranged to meet in the middle. Needless to say, this proved to be an impossible endeavor in the crowd of 500,000 people – but find each other we did, if not that afternoon. And here we are today.
The anniversaries of the start of this senseless war have been profoundly sobering. Nevertheless, as time passes, we celebrate our years of activism. Friendships have formed, minds have been broadened, barricades have been stormed, balloon permits have been obtained, the dogs of peace have been loosed…. And the “radically” critical positions which we have held all these years have come to dominate the mainstream. That, at least, is some cause for celebration.
Originally we called ourselves “Americans in Berlin Against the War”; conversations and meetings then led to the creation of “American Voices Abroad” in Berlin. The Mission Statement (see below) and an archive of our activities are available on this site (via the menu above).
Our main regular activity with and for US Americans in Berlin and their friends is our Stammtisch, or Jour Fixe, every first Thursday of every month, starting around 8 p.m. We gather informally for conversations, with good food available.
We also maintain an e-mail list (hopefully, intentionally, low volume) to announce our activities and events – for those who may want to participate or just want a sense of what various other civic-minded Americans are doing in Berlin.
We have one business meeting annually, usually in December, preferring to make projects rather than meetings the basis of our group’s activities. So, every year in October, about two months in advance, everyone on our mailing list will receive notification of a business meeting to be held on a mid-December Sunday, hopefully for brunch for about 3 hours. The items on the agenda will include election of new officers for their one year term to the Executive Committee (EC), a taking stock of the past year (including a report from the chair) and a discussion of plans for the coming year.
All other planning, year-round, is project-based. ANYONE who has an idea for an activity should email someone on the EC with just a few explanatory sentences. We are not bureaucratic. We have seven EC members so that even if three are out-of-town, a quorum of four can make a quick decision. In the past, almost all ideas have been good ones and have been approved immediately.