Merkel receives our Voices Against Poverty
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Claudia Warning (R) and Ulla Mikota (L), both members of the NGO VENRO, hold a banner that reads “8 world leaders, 1 million voices, one message: end poverty now” during a press conference on June 03, 2007 in Berlin, Germany. The two politicians were given signatures that were part of the campaign “Global Call to Action against Poverty”. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images).
Our friend Kel Currah from GCAP (the world movement to make poverty history) was lucky enough to go to Merkel and Blair’s meeting yesterday, where they accepted our Voices Against Poverty petition. Here’s his firsthand account of what happened…
”Sunday morning and I thought it was time to head south back to Berlin. But it seemed that Tony Blair had planned a surprise visit to see Chancellor Merkel prior to the G8 and they agreed to meet with GCAP in Germany for a symbolic presentation of the Voices Against Poverty petition. This led to a hectic 24 hours for us GCAP campaigners preparing two large ‘speech bubbles’ to give to Blair and Merkel when they arrived.
My two colleagues from the German coalition, Claudia and Ulla, were officially to present the bubbles to the leaders and then pose for photos. But it was all a little confusing and it was me holding the speech bubbles when the leaders came in. Chancellor Merkel spotted the bubble and headed towards me asking very politely “have you something to present to me?” I was confused and I panicked and before I knew it I had said to her quite sternly “No”. Here followed a painfully embarrassing moment where poor Merkel was left wondering why this strange man would not give her the bubble. Luckily Ulla hurried over and saved the situation and made the presentation. I turned a rather nice shade of crimson.
After the presentation, Claudia made a short speech, asking the leaders to make urgent steps this week on behalf of the poor. In the end it all went really well. More than a million people signed this petition and this meeting gave them the chance to tell the G8 to do what they committed to in 2005.
I think it goes without saying that this was not my finest hour (but at least I can say I said ‘no’ to the Chancellor!) It was amazing to be there and to see our message delivered. And it’s good to know that these two leaders received our message on ending poverty before the G8 Summit this week. The real work starts now as the rest of the leaders arrive and the discussions begin.”
Good work Kel! And good to know our voices are being heard. And even better that the number of people adding their voice is still growing, to be handed over on Thursday at the GCAP concert in Rostock. We can’t wait…
June 2. A group of active volunteers in front of the cathedral in the center of St.Petersburg delivering the GCAP message to G8 leaders. Credit: Oxfam International.
Japanese campaigners give their voices in a party in tokyo. Credit: Hottokenai.
Entry filed under: G8 2007 - Germany.