20 jahre mauerfall

9 11 2009

As the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, that momentous event in history that spurred the collapse of communism and the demise of the Cold War, I can’t help but reminisce on the few days that I spent in Berlin during this summer. I’ve been staring at my photos all day…

Walking around the Brandenburg Gate, the East Side Gallery, or Checkpoint Charlie, I remember trying to imagine what it must have felt like to live during those times. Picturing this massive wall just running all throughout the city…it was surreal and as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t fathom it.

A couple of my friends and I took a trip down to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and we spent half the day just reading all these clippings and staring at these old artifacts and photos depicting the times and how people tried so hard to escape. I’ll never forget this one plan where a West German man attached two or three suitcases together in which his East German girlfriend would hide as he tried to smuggle her across the border. I remember standing there thinking, “are you for real?!”…to think that someone would even have to think of something like that  is just beyond me.

Then there was the time we were walking on the East German side of the Brandenburg Gate and there was this little area.. I forget what it’s called now, but it was a little kind of memorial for the many people who tried to cross the borders but failed. A bunch of white crosses lined up one after another with the names of so many ill-fated young East Germans.

At the East Side Gallery, Sylwia (who you see below) and I walked the 1.3 km strip of the remaining wall staring at the artwork of the many artists who painted it after it had fallen. So many symbols of peace and hope and change. So much color and life and optimism…I couldn’t help but think, “how many people died here?..at this very spot where a rosy painting of the world lies? Who was shot here? What guard stood in the way of his fellow man?”. I remember being overtaken by this overwhelming  feeling of disbelief that I was standing in front of the Iron Curtain…unable to fully know or even understand what went on during that time but still incredibly moved by it all…

I was born in October 1989, a month before the fall. I grew up in Canada for the majority of my life, the True North strong and free. I’ve never known communism or division or oppression. I’ve never had to go through the struggles and sufferings of that day. I’ve never known fear…never had so great a longing to escape something or somewhere. And so I look at these photos of the people who have lived through it all and I listen to their stories, and I’m just filled with so much awe and I am simply moved by all that they have endured…

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin Wall's East Side Gallery

Berlin Wall's East Side Gallery

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