Monday, 9 November 2009

It was twenty years ago today.....

The Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989. I was late for the party as I didn't arrive until October 2006. We were in our camper van, parked at the Reismobilstation on what we later found out was the no-man's land on the East German side of the Berlin Wall. Visiting again in September 2009 most of the gaps in the street where the wall severed the city have now been filled, with new buildings.

A few sections of wall remain, including this section by the Typography of Terror exhibition, on the site of the HQ of the SS. The "wallpeckers" have done their best to chip away souvenirs, but the wall is now protected. The wall is now a great tourist trail, options including the "Trabbie Safari", where one can hire a smoky old East German car, and be escorted by a guide in a trabbie procession to the main "Mauer" sites. I have no idea if there is a David Hasselhof impersonator straddled across the wall, awaiting the safari punters.

I was reminded at a lecture tonight that the celebrations in 1989 referred to the Berlin Wall being the last in Europe separating our communities. Of course, most city walls were built to defend the city from outsiders, not to keep the city dwellers in the city. Meanwhile, the "peace wall" in Belfast remains for the foreseeable future. Big Swifty announces his first quiz. Why do we need a peace wall in Belfast? Answers on the back of a postage stamp please.

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