BERLIN - THE CITY THAT BROUGHT ABOUT WORLD CHANGE AND CONTINUES TO THIS DAY (10/26/12)
I remember well as if it was yesterday - my journey to West Berlin in the early 1970s. I travelled by car from Nuremberg to West Berlin and had to cross an important check point in East Berlin Potsdam - and did it with no problem.
Once in West Berlin I stayed in the City and thoroughly enjoyed myself. West Berlin had some great museums, landmarks, and of course Berlin wall which then was intact.
I made it a point to cross Check Point Charlie at that time and did so with much humility and fortitude. It was such an experience that I will not ever forget. West Berlin was so sunny and bright and when we reached East Berlin it was cloudy and there seemed something in the air - that was not pleasing to the senses. An invisible burden on your shoulders and an eye that was watching you like a hawk; you knew you were free, just a tourist visiting for a couple of hours; but; still this invisible hand made things unpleasing to your senses.
We paused at one site and there was this poor East Berlin woman with a child. I went up to her and handed her some German marks. In less than 30 seconds a plain clothes Security person - asked the woman to return the money to me. She did and I was told by our tour guide not to do that again.
However, I was not told about this before - most everyone presupposed about the ploys and machination of the then East Germany government. On reaching West Berlin the tour guide apologized to me; understanding the circumstance - and I remember that occurrence in East Berlin, as if it was - yesterday.
This time around I stayed in East Berlin which is now under the control of the free Germany. What a difference. Even the sun seems to sun equally and there are drastic changes in East Berlin. You can travel in less than 20 minutes by Public Transportation to West Berlin - and I could see that dividing gap - getting narrow.
Closer to East Berlin and paradoxically very close to where I stayed there still stands the Berlin Wall - some four hundred feet - the last intact wall vying for justice. I have taken some photographs with murals painted by artists from all over the world.
I never, ever thought I would stand by this historic Berlin wall again - but I did.
Life if not for the living dead and that is what I saw the last time around in East Berlin.
Innocent people suppressed and a dictatorial government doing as they deemed what they thought served their own selfish purposes. Today, freedom reigns supreme; and there is joy - few remember the horrific past.
Immigrants especially the Turks are everywhere working hard, running their restaurants and everyone trying to make a living with no one to bother them. Folks from Bangladesh, Sudan, others trying to survive while East Berliners and East Germans understand their - plight, better.
Kudos; to the West German government for taking upon themselves to restructure East Germany as a whole; and East Berlin in particular; taking the entire historic area to a better place. Investing millions to make it better for the former East Germans who today enjoy a superior living standard; the Seniors, epically.
You can see the photographs for yourself and gauge for yourself the tremendous amount of improvements made. East Berlin is thriving today and those that lived under the Communist Regime are happy they were freed.
West Germans who had a head start with help by the United States and other free countries after World War II - especially the Baby Boomers of that era have seen it all. Most of them close to my age - so we can speak on issues that the youth, the children of today in Germany read about but have not lived.
The youth look forward to some better times; but what hinders their aspirations; comes in their way is the World Economic and the mess that was started in the United States in 2008.
As a young man in the early 1970s; I lived in Italy, Austria and Germany and so understand some; but when it comes to Germany - and places like Nuremberg - that is when I get emotional. Too many memories; too many occasions when I was awe struck by the aspirations, fortitude and resilience of the Germans and what they had to endure not only during World War I but more World War II.
Berlin stands out as a starting point where change was made and today's Russia and others accepted a fact; walls are not good and keeping people bound does not serve any purpose. So when President Reagan of the United States and President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union then decided to tear down the wall; seek the best for human kind; this one idea rocked the world and sent waves on good hope, fortitude, aspirations of a kind, and put dictatorial governments the world over - on notice.
In our times; history was made; and those of us that care look upon that occasion; the bringing down of the Berlin Wall; look at it as - the beginning of many fresh ideas. New ways of thinking; the opening of the doors and getting rid of the many cobwebs that strangled freedom, ideas, and progress for decades.
The recent revolts in the Middle East starting with Tunisia remind us of the tearing down of the Berlin wall. But; there was something classic about that revolt in Berlin; complete with the hacking of the wall; world support; the concerts and more - and the standby silence of those that saw a new awakening for all mankind but not long ago were part of the now falling - wall.
It shines today in West Germany and it signifies that forced separation; against once will - does no one any good.
There is freedom and there is license. Abuse of freedom is license.
Today, in the United States large corporation must learn from what took place after the fall of the wall. General McArthur and others - did what was best for all of Germany. Significant was the West Berlin airlift of food and other essentials. That is what happens where there is compassion and a caring that favors - compassion.
The Euro today is strong but forces outside Europe and forces connected with Germany and their policies a long time ago - just a segment of the population - now have revisited pain on Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France but not Germany.
History repeats itself. We must not build walls and keep people in an enclosure. If you do that - Karma will visit you and bite you in the butt. Evil forces linked to Wall Street have done that to Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal and to other European countries.
The United States of America continues to do it to the Native Americans - who I prefer to call the First People.
My visiting Berlin was enchanting but my staying and touring all of East Berlin was something else. For a long time; I planned this visit to Europe and have reported on Rome, Florence, Vienna, Nuremberg, and now Berlin.
Enjoy the photographs in humility; think about compassion; and remember do not take advantage of any human being; no life on this Earth. Berlin is one symbol that challenges us to look in a positive way and make good things; happen:
top - back