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Oh noez, the Berlin Wall has fallen!

There is a very revealing article in the Guardian (natch) called ‘East Germans lost much in 1989‘. The ‘money quote’ (in GDR Marks of course) is:

On 9 November 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down I realised German unification would soon follow, which it did a year later. This meant the end of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the country in which I was born, grew up, gave birth to my two children, gained my doctorate and enjoyed a fulfilling job as a lecturer in English literature at Potsdam University. Of course, unification brought with it the freedom to travel the world and, for some, more material wealth, but it also brought social breakdown, widespread unemployment, blacklisting, a crass materialism and an “elbow society” as well as a demonisation of the country I lived in and helped shape. Despite the advantages, for many it was more a disaster than a celebratory event.

Yes it is hard to not shed a tear for all those unemployed Stasi and blacklisted apparatchik that made the whole system possible. I have long suspected the real reason the wall was built was to keep out the waves of oppressed Western workers who were flooding into the socialist worker’s paradise and threatening to overwhelm the system.

More seriously, the blacklisting process did not go nearly far enough in my view. A large number of people who were the enablers of the communist state should have spent a great many years in gaol. In 1955 the USSR created East Germany… and it ended in 1990… so it would seem to me that putting the most egregious enablers of that system in gaol for thirty five years would be a measure of poetic justice for the people who lost a generation of personal liberty by living in that open air prison called East Germany. Blacklisted? Apologists for tyranny deserve far worse than just being ‘blacklisted’.

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14 comments to Oh noez, the Berlin Wall has fallen!

  • TDK

    Mick Hartley reports that she co-wrote a Morning Star booklet entitled:

    Stasi Hell Or Workers’ Paradise? Socialism In The German Democratic Republic – What Can We Learn From It?”.

    It really is a tough question.

  • What can we learn from it? We can learn to see its trappings in the UK. With cameras replacing human watchers. Where everyone has a file with details of their activities stored in perpetuity. Where we are told what is best for us and not give the option to choose for ourselves.

    Its happening again, and this time we won’t have the highly visible symbol of the wall to rail against. The Wall of our age will be less tangible and built in the minds of our children. Much harder to pull it down if you build it somewhere inaccessible.

    Be wary.

  • as well as a demonisation of the country I lived in and helped shape

    He must have been so proud, and now it is all gone. While we are at it, let’s also shed a tear for all those SS officers who were left unemployed in 1945. A good day to re-watch The Lives of Others, if you ask me.

  • I had thought that too Alisa and am going to put the DVD on as soon as have washed up. Was also going to recommend Staziland as a worthy read tonight as well.

  • Nigel

    “unification … also brought … blacklisting”

    Hilarious. Sounds like the whine of somebody who used to do the listing themselves.

    Has she even bothered to look at the amount of money Germany has spent trying to cure decades of neglect in her socialist paradise? Jesus wept.

  • Mike Lorrey

    Hell I wouldn’t have minded my savings increasing by 4.5 times. Could have been the start of a nice wall street account.

    The woman’s piece is a reprint from the communist Morning Star, she and some fellow stalinists are trying to whitewash the GDR history and blame all the reunification ‘problems’ on the west.

    It’s telling she’s now a chief negotiator for a british labor union… you guys should find out which one.

  • cjf

    Sure this was GDR and not Ohio ?

  • Paul Marks

    In his speech in Berlin last year Barack Obama did not say a single word against socialism.

    And although I have not heard his recorded message to Berlin this year, I bet he does not say one word against socialism in this message either.

    Actually i welcome that – at least he is not being totally dishonest.

    Although if Obama was honest he would say something like the following…..

    “November 9th 1989 was the worst day of my life – it was a worse day for me than when my mother died and….”

  • Paul, wasn’t that line (or something similar) said by George Galloway?

  • Kim du Toit

    “Apologists for tyranny deserve far worse than just being ‘blacklisted’.”

    I have a few suggestions…

    More seriously:

    “In his speech in Berlin last year Barack Obama did not say a single word against socialism.”

    Don’t hold yer breath waiting for THAT eventuality, Paul.

  • Peter D.

    What I find interesting is the position she held in the old DDR. Basically part of the ruling elite, employed in a non-job, (PhD in EngLit indeed, only ever suckled on the Govt teat) she could never have known what it was like for the plebs.

    It is no surprise that similar people in the West would feel such attraction to a totalitarian state.

  • Stephan

    Goosebumps is how I feel when I see video of November 9th. The wonderful thing about the wall was that it was a perfect symbolic representation of all the evil that communist repression and control stood for. Jubilant crowds breaking that thing down like that sent an absolutely clear message of freedom loving rebellion against a very easily defined enemy.
    The problem with today: The enemies of freedom are nowhere near so clearly defined or obvious. Much of what really is dangerous to that same spirit which was visible on the day the wall fell is scattered all over and upheld by a lot of people who mistake it for something good and just. The threats to real liberty that exist today are just as insidious as they were then, but nowhere near so clear and obvious. We need a modern Berlin wall to tear down.

  • She does make a relatively fair assessment of the mistake of the 1:1 exchange rate at monetary union. This is probably pretty much conventional wisdom now, but at the time it was more West Germany offering outrageously generous terms in an attempt to make reunification happen fast, on the understanding that there might only be a short window of time in which it could happen. It was still a bad idea, but the realpolitik of it is understandable. However, this article almost presents it as a price imposed upon East Germany by exploitative westerners trying to take advantage of them, and it could hardly have been further from that.

    The other aspect of the terms of German reunification is that blacklists or not, it provided the generous West German welfare state to the East. This is perhaps why this sort of nostalgia for communism only every seems to come from East Germans. Some of them are a bit too mollycoddled. People such as the Poles, Hungarians and Romanians have less time for this self-indulgence.

  • Mike Lorrey

    Obama is SOOOO glad the wall is gone. Last thing he needs are symbols of the depraved evil of communism to motivate people. Meanwhile the financial walls are being raised here. If you try to get out of the country with your wealth to avoid the seizures ahead, you’ll wind up without the wealth. If you try to move it out as cash, gold, etc. and are caught, authorities are just keeping the money under the assumption its drug money.