Thursday, June 30, 2005

Gegen das Vergessen - Don't let us forget.

Having passed through Checkpoint Charlie as many as 500 times, and having heard the gunshots at night of the brave souls trying to escape the Grenzepolizei who shoot to kill, I wonder how any German could demolish a monument to hundred of persons killed in their flight to freedom.

If there was a way to describe to you the internal sense of freedom and elation felt on leaving the East, and into a world of color, away from the grim faces of those who know that they had to survive to retirement to see their relatives again and breath the free air of west Berlin, and see faces of people who seemed to have hope…

There is no way. Memories must be short for some, or perhaps some new hatred has taken its’ place. Otherwise I can’t see how any German could do such a foolish and forgetful thing. Threy must have never had to leave a friend behind a wall thinking that they may never be able to come to you, that you may never see them again.

For heaven’s sake, it’s only just a piece of land – and just money – to save a history and a memorial. This is no different than if in the US someone razed a memorial to the civil rights era deaths merely because they were Americans killing Americans, and that no-one else, and no future generation needed to know about it. It is a supression of memory, meaning, and emotion that is driving this, not a mortgage.

For goodness sake, it’s only pocket change, and the souls of your countrymen...

No comments: