Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wall and Ostalgia

Today was the anniversary of the Berlin Wall. The Wall had been built fifty years ago, basically overnight, and the anniversary was a huge event — actually, it still is, there is stuff going on all over town, and I will leave for a movie in Mauerpark any time soon. In the morning, Angela Merkel and Christian Wulff, the President of Germany showed up, together with Klaus Wowereit, the Mayor of Berlin, to dedicate the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Street. I missed all the speeches, but the memorial is very touching. It includes a window with transparent, black-and-white pictures of some of the victims. If you want to know more, as always, check out The Berlin Wall Today

In the meantime, everybody is quibbling about whose fault the Wall was; actually, a moot point. The Wall was build because the Allies had a fallout after 1945, and both sides wanted to protect their loot. But even among Berliners there seems to be some nostalgia, or, as it is called, Ostalgia for the Wall; albeit not the real Wall. From what I‘m gathering, people want the job protection and rent regulations of the East, and the currency, the flat-screen TVs, and the vacation opportunities of the West.

Also, the left-wing party Die Linke, the successors of the SED, misses the Wall; they boycotted a minute of silence today for the victims. On second thought, the Wall kept those people out, so maybe Wall-nostalgia has a point. Some Berliners even compare the Berlin Wall with the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, but I am fairly sure you could not climb the Berlin Wall with a 51-foot-ladder.

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