Monitor: Has anything really changed? Ten years after The Wall
All the News of the World
Saturday 13 November 1999
THE WALL fell 10 years ago and people rejoiced in the new freedom. Freedom? Another concept has dominated politics in unified Germany: social justice. In the name of social justice the Federal Republic is paralysed, clings to old institutions and regulations. It is high time to talk about freedom again. A change of perspective is necessary. Where is freedom?
The Jerusalem Post
TEN YEARS after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many Jews and Israelis still view these events with mixed emotions. Jews still cannot identify with or share in the celebrations of the Germans. The anniversary of these events coincides with the date of Kristallnacht. This marked the beginning of the horror of the Holocaust. The occupation and division of Germany was a disproportionately small punishment for the terrible sins committed during the Nazi era, but it was symbolic. Now, the punishment has ended and Germany has fully recovered. In contrast, the Jewish people will never fully recover from the murder of the Six Million. More than any other nation, the Jewish people, with thousands of years of history to ponder, cannot ignore the continued dangers. For us, the walls of hatred and violence have not yet crumbled. (Gerald M Steinberg)
THE REUNIFICATION of Germany, soon followed by the caving in of Soviet regimes, touched off the 21st century. To believe George Bush a new world order was near. Ten years later, the promised new order gave birth to great disorder and new dangers, in Russia and its periphery, but also in Asia. Let's not dream anymore: the harmonious concert of nations will not come tomorrow. But each country should find its reasons for making it happen. That should be Europe's mission - not putting on a show.
IT IS difficult to realise that, with the fall of the Wall, at the end of the Cold War, the times of a satiated life are over. Those who consider the more than DM 1.5 trillion that were pumped into the east to help the east German economy recover as a reason for the problems in west Germany, have not comprehended that the changes in the world have an effect on everybody. The west Germans wanted everything to remain as it was after the end of the Wall, while the east Germans wanted the development that prevailed in the west for the past 40 years. We arrived in the 21st century long ago, but nobody wants to accept it.
THE FALL of the Wall was an event that exposed the moral and economic bankruptcy of communism once and for all. Today there is a misplaced nostalgia growing in former communist countries for the certainties of tyranny. But the events of 9 November 1989 were a true example of a people refusing to be ruled in that way and taking freedom back with their own hands. What happened on those days and nights in the streets of Berlin 10 years ago will defy any attempts at revisionist history.
EVERY SEVENTH German is wishing for the Wall to come back. This is an unexpected but understandable reaction. Those who had lived for more than four decades in totally different social systems are unable to cope with such a transformation process overnight. The talk about "inner-unity" is only a catchphrase. The people in the east and the west will keep their peculiarities, and this is desirable and stimulating. But what we do not have are politicians who act in an overall German way, especially in west Germany.
SELDOM HAS the move from one historical phase to another been represented in such a grand and spectacular manner as the fall of the Berlin Wall. As always, as time goes by, initial enthusiasm wanes. Wars have not disappeared. The evil empire is no more, but evil still remains. The new century therefore risks resembling the old. So what is there to celebrate? Maybe an answer will come from Europe. Because the goals it has achieved in these 10 years are no mean feat. But mostly for those small walls that are being broken down daily within Europe itself.
IN THE autumn of 1989, freedom had the effect of a drug. The Germans wanted to achieve unstoppable economic recovery, but in reality the markets in eastern Europe collapsed. The second economic miracle is still a long time in coming. It is certainly true that nobody can achieve miracles, but we could have expected greater political commitment from quite a few politicians for problems in the east.
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