Hold Tight to Avoid Beer Spillage

I’m in Hungary right now, so I won’t be watching the Turkey-Germany match.  I pass on a State Department warning to Americans living in Germany, as an email entitled "Hold Tight to Avoid Beer Spillage."  The pedant in me couldn’t help noting the misspelling of a certain Berlin public monument:

On Wednesday evening, June 25, Germany and Turkey will meet in the semifinal round of the 2008 European Football Championship in Basel, Switzerland. Various cities in Germany have set up viewing areas for the public to watch the live broadcast of this game. The "Fan Mile" in front of the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin is expected to draw up to 500,000 German and Turkish fans, Frankfurt am Main will host a public viewing area at the Rossmarkt, and Munich is setting up a large public viewing area at the Olympic Stadium where 30,000 fans are anticipated. Similar events are planned in other cities and spontaneous celebrations or demonstrations related to the match may occur throughout Germany.

Because of the high fan interest in this prestigious semi-final elimination game between Germany and Turkey, there exists the possibility that disturbances, including violent disturbances may occur before, during or after the match, which begins at 20:45. At a minimum, post-game celebrations will likely result in traffic congestion in larger cities. Crowds celebrating previous German and/or Turkish victories have blocked streets and rocked vehicles attempting to pass through them.

I’ll be pretty busy the next few days, but my hotel has Internet access, so I’ll try to post a picture or two.  I can tell you one thing about Hungarian already — it out-umlauts German by 8 to 1!

7 thoughts on “Hold Tight to Avoid Beer Spillage

  1. State Department warnings? For Germany? Really?

    I didn’t know that the sticky tentacles of The Paranoid Style in American Politics reached that far.

    BTW: Would you use the formulation “there exists the possibility that ….”? Whenever I come across this kind of writing in student essays I tend to mark it as (at least) bad style.

    Have fun in Hungary!

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  2. State Department warnings? For Germany? Really?

    No, it’s a so-called Warden Message. And a very useful one, I should say. The outbreak of the celebration last night was quite sudden and spectacular, at least where I was. A hapless foreigner who didn’t know about the game might easily have been confused or even frightened. Why should the American embassy not inform the American citizens?

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  3. Americans, one might think, are used to more than the occasional bit of, shall we say, enthusiastic celebrations following sporting events.

    Of the style noted here.

    In a couple of places I lived in the US, victory for the local team meant an evening of looting and, in some cases, celebratory gunfire.

    Now that’s a real party….

    Confused and hapless foreigners may consider themselves warned.

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  4. Are American ‘celebrations’ quite so bad? Not compared to certain locales in Europe, specifically the UK and Italy. UK football fans (soccer to us ignorant Yanks) have resulted in dead bodies, on one or two occasions major tragedies.

    Visiting football fans from the UK are frequently cordoned off in part of the stadium and even tear-gassed or bludgeoned to reduce their enthusiasm. In fact when Man United visited Lyons for a Champion League match last year les Gendarmes stuffed 20,000 Brits into a space designed for half that many, then enthusiastically clubbed and gassed when they tried to escape the confinement. The fans weren’t the problem on this occasion – the police were! In Italy football vendettas have resulted in murder during the games, to the point where Serie A matches were played in empty stadiums for a period last season.

    Then there is the Celtic-Rangers rivalry in Glasgow, perhaps the most pronouncedly violent clash anywhere. Celtic is the Catholic team, and Rangers the Protestants – think Northern Ireland. You do NOT want to walk into the wrong neighborhood in Glasgow or environs wearing the wrong team colors – it might be the last mistake you ever make! More likely not – possibly just a long spell in hospital recovering from being severely beaten; but murders aren’t that uncommon.

    Smashing a few windows is really nothing by comparison

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  5. I know, Don. Was merely pointing out that Americans are not totally unfamiliar with a little sports-related mayhem. The warning in question, in any case, was issued specifically for Germany and — as we know — the English aren’t around this time….

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  6. I know, Don. Was merely pointing out that Americans are not totally unfamiliar with a little sports-related mayhem. The warning in question, in any case, was issued specifically for Germany and — as we know — the English aren’t around this time….

    Like

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