Freitag, 9. November 2007

The wall fell 18 years ago!

I still remember the moment. 18 years ago I came home to a very unusual sight. My dad was watching television! That never happened - and hence seemed odd. Being preoccupied with matters of the heart, I tried to head to my room anyway. Fat chance. I was - for the first and only time in my life, I believe - ordered to watch TV. Ordered to witness history. What I had ridiculed my dad for even dreaming of a year before - when we visited East Germany together - had in fact happened. The Wall was open. The Iron Curtain had fallen! - By now I know many stories of what people did or thought that day. From East and West (though many Eastern stories are laced with justified bitterness, that the day itself rather than the demonstrations that lead to it are the focus of our historic imaginations). From all walks fo life. Just like everybody who was conscious remembers where they were when they learned of JFK's assassination or 9/11 - everyone (in Germany at least) has a story to tell on how they experienced that 9th of November. In 2002, I was discussing the World Summit on Sustainable Development with business and government representatives at the German House in New York, for example. We could not agree on anything that night. But we all enjoyed sharing stories of that one historic moment. - Meanwhile, I admit that it made me feel old last year when I interviewed people who wanted to attend a United World College who had not been born when the wall came down. The vivid memories I have of that night make me feel that it surely can't be that long....

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