Since moving to the corner of Hoosierland ensconced in “Greater Chicago” – I’ve been fascinated by the news reports of plans for the NATO Summit this weekend. Much of the coverage has been about protecting the city from terrorists and activists, ranging from members of Al Queda to pie-throwing clowns. Security forces, business, residents are planning for the worst. Finally, this week I’m hearing about the significance of this particular international assembly. It’s big folks, really big.
In fact, it’s being heralded as the “biggest NATO Summit ever,” according to NATO’s Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, with 60 world leaders – including Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Their agenda includes a long-term partnership with Afghanistan, strengthening NATO partnerships, funding. With a shift in focus from the north Atlantic, perhaps in 2020 NATO will stand for the New Asian Treaty Organization.
Even Senator Palpatine from Naboo is in town. Star Wars fans will remember his underlying character, Darth Sidious. Okay, the Sith Lord is not in town. It’s actor Ian McDiamid, who brought Sidious to the screen, appearing in “Timon of Athens” at Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre.) I wonder about the ” real characters” underlying the faces of our world leaders. Putin’s not coming. Apparently he
thinks the world is against him. It is all about you after all, Vladimir.
Last night, Chicago Tonight reported Chicago is a great place to host this summit because many of its residents come from the NATO countries and most likely from all 60 participating countries.
Later, in my 2 a.m. wakefulness, I heard a good-size helicopter flying through the night sky from east to west. I imagined some dignitary or his advance double secret security team heading in for the big show. It’s all becoming real to me, and I live 60 miles away. But it brings me back to the security surrounding Chicago this weekend.
The news last fall wasn’t about the significance of the NATO Summit (and at that time, the G8 meeting) in Chicago. It was about security plans. Over the past few weeks we’ve heard even more about activists clamoring for marching space to get up close and personal with NATO leaders. They, too, are traveling from all over the world, or traveling by bus from both coasts, to Chicago to march for peace and against poverty, starvation and persecution.
Some of it I understand: get out of Afghanistan, spend money on food not weapons. Occupy protestors will be there, National Nurses United, some folks are protesting against Rush Limbaugh. I understand that too. But clowns throwing pies? Can anyone enlighten us on that one?