Posts Tagged ‘9. November’

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

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

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.

day of mourning and joy

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

The 9th of November is a good date to learn a lesson about German history. This day marks the anniversary of a majority of the historic events of 20th century in Germany. It is day of mourning, as the Night of the Broken Glass, a terrible pogrom and the beginning of the genocide against the Jews, took place 70 years ago. Thus the 9th of November reminds us of the most devastating tragedy in human history.
On the other hand, today marks the 90th anniversary of the abolition of the German monarchy and the foundation of the first German republic. Kaiser Wilhem II abdicated.
Probably the most fantastic event happened 19 years ago: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. After decades of separation, the Germans in the West and the East were now able to meet each other again and the citizens of the GDR got back freedom of movement. This events signifies the highlight of the peaceful revolution and the start of the German reunification.

I don’t want to comment on these events, apart from the point, that this date should be a national holiday, in order to make people aware of these historic events and the lesson to be learned for today.

Da die meisten Deutschen über die ereignisse des 9. November bescheid wissen sollten, habe ich diesen blogeintrag auf englisch verfasst. Aber meine forderung, diesen tag als nationalen trauer-/feiertag (inklusive schul- und arbeitsfrei) zu begehen zeigt, dass mir bewusst ist, dass auch in Deutschland nachholebedarf in sachen erinnerung besteht. Das erstarken der rechtsextremen NPD, steigende ablehnung der demokratischen werte sind deutliche zeichen dafür, dass die Deutschen ihre lektion noch lange nicht gelernt haben.