Monday, November 09, 2009

20 Years Ago Today

.


The Wall fell. With no bombs or violence, though the crash was heard around the world.

Günter Schabowski
of the East German ministry of Information announced at the end of a press conference devoted to something else altogether that people would now be allowed to cross without hassle into West Germany.

"When? ", asked the journalists

"Immediately " ("sofort, unverzüglich"), he replied

No one really believed it, apparently, until a few hardy souls went to a border crossing and tried.

And the wall fell - if only metaphorically. It fell physically the next day.


It was a heady time. Everything seemed possible. There was hope. Everything was going change. 

It didn't obviously; the wall may have fallen but human nature being what it is, pretty much everything else stayed the same or worsened.

My moments of naivete and idealism are few and far between. I should have known better.

.

11 comments:

geewits said...

When I was in D.C. in 2002, I saw a great big chunk of it. I stood there and thought about all the people who had died trying to cross it. I stood there for quite some time.

VioletSky said...

I listen to CBC overnight and the BBC World Service has been highlighting stories from people who were there, or who lived through the Communist era. Some of their reminisces and stories about the change in their lives have been very interesting.

mrwriteon said...

There was hope. Whatever happened to that? I miss it.

Guillaume said...

I can't believe that was twenty years ago already. I remember when it felt down, reality changed overnight. It is funny to look back at how we were thinking during the Cold War, the fears we had especially.

Maddy said...

Indeed. I was listening to snippets on the radio whilst I was walking Thatcher in the park this morning. I try to remain optimistic.
Cheers

secret agent woman said...

Wow, has it been 20 years? It doesn't seem nearllyy that long ago.

ticknart said...

I remember wondering, when I finally understood what had happened, who James Bond would be fighting against now that there were no more bad guys.

Everyone in the world would probably have been happy if I had been right and all the bad guys had disappeared that November.

Jeaux said...

...Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play! But I digress.

It was more like 30 years ago today that I was in Berlin with my German Friend Kurt. The Wall was alive and well. I thought it would be cute to try to climb to the top and peek over. Ah, youth! Before Kurt could warn me, I was shot at by a tower guard on the East side of the wall. A warning shot, of course, well over anybody's head. But there it was. My Berlin adventure. He didn't think it was that cute, apparently. Scared the hell out of my mother when she heard about it. And we got the hell out of there in a hurry.

As for the wall coming down, I'd say it was two steps forward, one step back. But definitely progress, and the kind of watershed that has immense value as an emblem in the collective consciousness.

Jocelyn said...

Last night, I listened to the radio show called "The Story." An East German woman who was at university when the wall fell recalls that time. If you have an Ipod or do podcasts, I think you can download it with the link at the bottom of this page:

http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_901_Birgit_Lindemann.mp3/view

Jocelyn said...

Last night, I listened to the radio show called "The Story." An East German woman who was at university when the wall fell recalls that time. If you have an Ipod or do podcasts, I think you can download it with the link at the bottom of this page:

http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_901_Birgit_Lindemann.mp3/view

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