30 years ago the Berlin Wall came tumbling down
Oh, so wonderful. People dancing on the Wall that divided the world. Tears of Happiness. The empire of Evil was finally gone.
So easy to take sides, as if there ever where sides to be taken.
Good versus Evil and the Good one won.
Before it even starts, my nerves get slightly frayed. I am tired of being asked how I celebrate what must have been the most fateful day of my life. I must have been so happy. Me, the unfortunate victim, finally let out of jail, rejoicing the free world.
Some people still have tears in their eyes when talking about the Berlin Wall coming down. I don’t. I lived beside it. On the wrong side, historically speaking.
The BBC just wrote about the anti-communist demonstration that brought down the East German government.
The demonstrations were not anti-communist per see. Many people in the civil rights movement in East Germany, in the opposition, wanted a better East Germany, socialism with a “Human Face.” The people who wished for capitalism left after Hungary opened the Wall. Many people who emigrate earlier, people who got kicked out, people who got jailed wanted to reform the system.
I know you want to tell me that this system was not reformable. Rich coming from you, who claims a tradition of Christian values and European heritage.The same Christians who supported the killing of pageants and indigenous people all over the world. The same people who invented races to slave and discriminate people of colour and last but not least the same who subordinated women for centuries. Though many members of the East German opposition were Christians and they believed in changes.
The slogans at that earlier demonstrations, before it got easy to demonstrate, were — “We Are The People.” (not we are one people — like in ‘fans of reunification’). Many supported the Resolution: “We ill stay here.” ( as in you will not make us leave this country through your pettiness and evilness).
Many who left around this time were tired of being patronized and had stopped believing that things could change. Some just wanted the freedom of travel, btw. That was more important than freedom of speech. Some wanted to shop.
Some protesters were anti-communist, and some were not. Many wanted to protect the environment better from industries. So many different ideas and motives. Until, the writers of History reduced everything to their black and white world view, with the notion that maybe some believed that capitalism would be better with that. The good thing was back then that there seemed to be alternatives.
Some years ago, the ‘Now Magazine’ wrote a film critic about the documentary “Karl-Marx-City,” calling it a chilling….
To drive her point home, the author mentioned that in Karl Marx Stadt alone, there were 250 000 Stasi (state security) informers, spying on their neighbours. My letter to the editor, stating the fact that during the GDR times, the whole city had just 300 000 inhabitants did neither receive an answer nor a mentioning. Maybe there were some 20000–30000 informers for the Stasi. Far too many, and I am not making light of the crimes of the Stasi, I do remember fear. I remember as well how helpless we felt, after the Wall came down, with the rumour that about every 5th adult in East Germany had been an informer. Questioning, full of distrust, did we look at each other, asking ourselves how we would react when we figured out our best friends were telling on us. Later this number disappeared altogether, meanwhile, the number got correct to maybe one person in 90. It does make a big difference.
Hollywood picked up early on the black and white world of communism-versus anticommunism, mostly treating everybody living there as a backdrop for their idiotic “based on a true story” movies. North-Americans often imagine my country as hell, with special bred Stasi-Monsters, gene manipulated evil giant female athletes/guards and helpless starving victims. Some years ago, Tom Hanks played an ordinary, brave American lawyer travelling to East Germany, helping innocent victims while confronting evildoers. Casually, while on a train, he witnesses a mass execution. This was so stupid that I had to turn off the TV.
North-Americans often feel pity for me. Rather than for their population of still heavily policed black communities, discriminated and abused indigenous people and other people of colour.
The confusing lessons for me from this convoluted business of Freedom and Bureocraty — Building Walls is only useful if built in the name of Freedom and Democracy. Democracy only exists together with Free Markets, and as Eduardo Galeano put it so nicely: People have to go to jail so that the markets can be free.