Today, I was excited to be on a United Nations panel at the International Peace Institute with such luminaries (and registered audience members/participants) as are often not seen around my parts. Because I have a photocopied list of all the speakers and participants, and because it is sitting right next to me, I will produce it now.
These, indeed, were the fine folks I sat and drank milky warm tea with as we talked to the group (all links are to their Twitter handles, because they are all on Twitter):
- Jonas Gahr Store, Foreign Minister of Norway
- Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister of Sweden
- Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
- Wisaam Tarif, Former Director of INSAN (human rights in MENA)
- Nora Younis, Human Rights Activist and Egyptian blogger
I was, in short, sufficiently in awe of their work beforehand that I wanted to arrive promptly and sufficiently un-disheveled. Google maps showed me that I was approximately .1 miles from my target location (read: United Nations building around the corner) and I left 30 minutes to arrive on time given my heels and week-old jet lag. It was, I might say, a fine moment in planning and preparation when I left my hotel room with all necessary items in hand with a full 30 minutes to make a 2 minute walk.
And yet, magically, I was still late.
Because it is a big week for the United Nations, because my Singaporean diplomat friend Diana is sitting next to Paul Kagame and within yards of Cristina Kirchner and sending me emails about it, and because Obama was giving a speech this morning, security was on a bit of a lock down.
A lock down against me. (And others, but I can’t speak for them).
Indeed, every attempt I made to enter the secure location within a three block radius failed. I was, sadly, not on a list I was supposed to be and without a blue badge I was supposed to have. Finally (and this is only relevant for reality TV show fans), I felt a bit like The Real Housewife of DC’s Mikael Salahi without a paper copy of my “invitation”.
After I trying several entrances and flashing my dazzling (and noticeably unused in normal life) smile, nothing happened. So I got out my pathetic, breaking blackberry and made phone calls that didn’t work. When I gave up with that, I started taking pictures of myself, and eventually took this photo of my evil eye as minute #20 of me standing at the barricades passed.
Then, with all the magic of Twitter, something changed.
A friendly policewoman appeared out of the blue and kindly confided that I needed to “hurry! sneak in now!” behind some dapper man who apparently did have access. It was, quite simply, a beautiful display of American law force efforts at work.
I think you’ll agree that the connection between said kind policewoman acting illegally and Twitter, of course, is unmistakable.
The panel, of course, went off without a hitch. (See the UStream here.)