Monday, August 15, 2011

Postcard from the Berlin Wall

Saturday was the 50th anniversary of the erecting of the Berlin Wall. I was very surprised when I went on the Christian Science Monitor website last night and found an article saying that some Germans wanted at least some of the wall reproduced.

 At first blush, the idea seemed like an asinine fantasy of nostalgic communists. I mentioned my problem with structures like the Berlin Wall in a post entitled “When has partition Ever Been a Good Idea? Available in the July Archive.

 I described the Berlin Wall as family breaking, among other notable words. I couldn’t believe anyone would want the Wall back because it would just serve as a relic of repression that would bring back bad memories…then I read the article, and the logic made sense.

Most people who advocate rebuilding the wall are not nostalgia communists, but rather people who wish to remember the repression that the Berlin Wall represented for a generation of Germans. This was not an idea that I had considered.

 But the Berlin Wall was a powerful symbol of mass repression of humanity. As time passes for the first post-wall generation of unified Germans, the idea that they would forget the lessons of the wall is indeed a possibility, and before my German readers scoff, history is lined with instances where political leaders have rehashed history against populations who had forgotten or were ignorant towards it.

Therefore, I think the Berlin Wall should be returned to Germany as a teaching tool to illustrate what cruelties humans can unleash against each other.

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