On Sunday we in Germany celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.
There were big festivities in Berlin and they even re-constructed the former path of the wall with 7000 white balloons and at one point let them ascend into the sky— one by one— honestly, a goose bumps moment…
There were also lots of reports on tv about the time when the wall still stood and interviews with people who lived in Berlin during the time of the wall.
One of the reports that moved me quite a bit was how West Berlin developed during that time.
I mean imagine, West Berlin was an Island in the “red sea” as they called it, surrounded by Russian territory. People were afraid that they would try to overwhelm West Berlin as well.
There were 6000 american soldiers stationed in West Berlin during that time to signalize it would be unwise to attack – and yet – there was fear. Traveling to the rest of West Germany was done mostly via transit paths by train or car through East German territory and a bit of a ghostly experience.
Now people in Berlin lived with a wall right in their face.
They had to deal with the feel of being closed in, the enemy at their doorsteps, some of their relatives and friends out of reach even though so close.
How did they manage to cope?
And it was interesting to see how Berlin developed a microclimate of a special kind – from extensive party life (doing away with closing hours for clubs etc.) and orgies to trying new forms of living (Kommune 1) to strong political currents and student movements. It was a hot and bubbling melting pot and attracted more and more people who dared to think differently in an otherwise quite conversative Europe. It became a symbol for not giving up, for finding new ways even though some of them were rocky and bloody.
On his visit in Berlin on June 26, 1963 John F. Kennedy said
“All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner”.”
So – wow – a tremendous freedom in the being closed in – big space for trying new things and walking across lines you wouldn’t usually within the borders of a small, small island.
And maybe that was just for me but–
that was what actually made me think on in the direction of personal life.
The times when there are walls around us – real or imagined. When we feel closed in. When we’re motionless in a certain way. When we live in fear of being overwhelmed— by sickness, in a relationship, in work life—
What survival strategy do you develop?
How do you deal with such times?
Does it need outside freedom for inside freedom?
Smiles… a long article….if you made it til here… it would be cool to hear from you in the comments…