9th Nov. 1989: history as a call to action

The fall of the Berlin wall, today 20 years ago, has often been described as a turning point in history. Rightly. Freedom defeated oppression. It was the basis for Germany’s reunification and 15 years later, the enlargement of the European Union into Eastern Europe. With no doubt, this process led to a more peaceful, freer Europe. But the fall of the wall has also been a turn in many personal biographies. Suddenly, millions of people were able to visit old friends or relatives again, to travel (almost) freely within Europe and last but not least, to live without fear of political prosecution. In fact, the 9th of November was the birth of my generation, the Generation Europe. The freedom to live and study in England, Iceland and Sweden gave me so more than my parents generation could ever dream of. I’m incredibly grateful for their successful efforts to overcome separation and suppression.
However, Europe hasn’t learned its lesson. With every stone taken off from walls within Europe, new walls has been built around it. Not to keep inhabitants from leaving, but to protect it from the rest of the world. The freedoms mentioned above, are freedoms of an elite group. The rest of the world, mostly living in Africa, Asia and South America, but also Eastern Europe, has no chance to ever experience them. That is, frankly, a shame for a (group of) people, which often calls itself the avantgarde of democracy, freedom and human rights.
When Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel asks the political class to break down the walls of today, it is up to herself and her fellow heads of state, to open Europe. She owes that our history. The 9th of november 1989 wasn’t just a historical turn, its anniversary is also a call to act today.

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