Monday, 9 November 2009

It Was 20 Years Ago Today...

...that the wall came down.

It has also roused some more personal memories back from the days way back when...

Reading University's Centre For East German Studies has celebrated the occasion with a special event, including documentary films showing the Berlin Wall from the official and underground positions.

Elizabeth Thomas remembers the times well as a moment to look forwards.

She was hopeful then that her new-born baby "would have a wonderful future in a peaceful world."

So too does Conservative MEP Dan Hannan, but he prefers to give the benefit of his hindsight. He was on his gap year at the time and used the opportunity to witness the collapse of the Eastern bloc first-hand - from the refuge of a pub inhabited by drunk British journalists!

He was taken by surprise by the suddenness of the events, but revels in the democratic revolutions which ensued. He drew several conclusions from his vantage point, all of which fed into his negativity towards European integration.

On the other hand I have a look around and feel slightly more optimistic.

Meanwhile John Breakwell is on the spot to provide some photos of some of the sights of Berlin today (here the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church in the Ku'damm) - looking forward to the rest, John!

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Update: Graham Jones discusses the benefits and consequences of the freedom brought to former DDR residents when the wall came down - he notes that the revolution in the control of information formerly exerted by members of the politburo has recently gone through another cycle as newspaper editors are being swamped by the technological possibilities of Twitter and Facebook.

He says: "Back when the Berlin Wall existed the people of Berlin effectively outsourced their information filtering to the state," adding that the only way to be sure you're not 'being fed a line' is by having a range of "information filterers" to compare and contrast what each are saying.

John Breakwell continues his tour of the sights of Berlin. He describes the celebrations at the historic epicentre of events from a first-person p-o-v.

Caversham's noodle miner has also decided to visit the city. She is a regular to Berlin and took these photos last time there.

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