I couldn’t help contrast JFK’s famous, populist “Ich bin ein Berliner” visit to Germany with Mr Bush’s visit last week to Mainz. The German government basically put the whole town into lock-down. They closed roads, schools and even rivers for the day, as well as imposing a 37 mile exclusion zone for air traffic.
Meanwhile, there was also a “Red Zone” where no unauthorized personnel were admitted. 1500 people who lived there couldn’t have visitors.
There are also rumours that there was a request to close down the mobile phone networks – or have the ability to close them down, if they wanted to.
It’s one thing to protect Mr Bush. It’s another to inconvenience the good burghers of Mainz. But isn’t it another thing altogether to endanger their lives by depriving them access to the emergency services on their mobiles?
But the most striking thing is how different our world today has become since the halcyon days of the 60’s. Or were we just naive then, given Mr Kennedy’s eventual fate?
As a reminder, this is what the JFK gathering looked like
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