Monday, November 9, 2009

Personal Memories about the Berlin wall and it's fall in 1989

On November 1989 I was in front of the tv set like every other German citizen who could not be in Berlin that day.
Even though many East Germans had already left the Iron curtain through Hungary it still seemed a miracle that the symbol of division between East and West would actually be torn down by the ordinary citizens who had lived in a divided Germany since the sixties when the wall was built.
Germany was elated. History was taking place.
Pedestrians for the first time came from the Eastern part of Berlin to take a stroll on Western shopping avenues like the famous Ku'damm.
Trabant cars with their blue smog emissions soon filled German autobahns.

As someone who had grown up with the ever present threat of a communist block close to home, I was so happy for the East Germans and East Europeans to gain freedom.
My home town is very close to the former border to the Czech Republic.
It was not Marx's communism theory, but the reality of failed approach of communism and socialism that had made them prisoners of their own country.

As the unification became reality and the 2 German states became one, some enthusiasm quickly
vanished as reality set in.
In the Eastern federal states of Germany unemployment became a big problem. The old DDR gave way to BRD life style, In social, educational and financial sectors the East was forced to adapt to the economical strong West.

Out of frustration, disorientation or plain envy over "hand-outs to non Germans" many former East Germans turned to Neo-nazi groups.
Homes for asylum seeking people from Africa started burning.
Non-white German citizens got attacked as well and grew very uneasy over this right extremism displayed by former communistic Germans who had once demonstrated brotherhood with Communistic states on the African and Asian continent.

It was a disturbing time for any German citizen who hated racism, nazi ideology and senseless violence.
I would not let my own daughter who has a dark complexion, travel into the former East. The threat was real and I grew ashamed of being German at that time. This overshadowed a lot of the events in the early 1990s.

20 years have passed, it's history and most young Germans cannot even imagine how it was before 1989.
When I listen to the Scorpio's "Wind of Change" it brings tears to my was such a hope filled time, and we believed all wars may have come to an end. When we saw the Leningrad Cowboys play their punky rock we thought the world had moved so much closer. Not only in music, but as a whole.

We didn't know back then that new conflicts would arise with countries we hardly had ever heard of...Afghanistan was a remote place somewhere, it's location on the map unknown to most of us.

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