Monday, November 9, 2009

The Fall of the (Berlin) Wall, Twenty Years Later

I don't recall being affected during the fall of the Berlin Wall, twenty years ago today, while a sophomore in college. Perhaps I was buried in my own neuroses and self-education. Perhaps, too, the triumphalism of the coverage made me instinctively distrust it--as if this, too, were confirmation of our superiority, that everyone (in the world) wanted to be just like us.

Twenty years later, my wife and I find ourselves welling up with emotion as we discuss it at the breakfast table to our seven and three year old girls, after a news report mentions the anniversary. I get out my chunks of the wall, given to me by Alyosha Maslov some three years after the fall, while I stayed with his family outside Moscow. We watch videos of the wall and its fall, and the jubilation of the people in the streets.

All I can say is that I couldn't help the weeping, in the words of the Jesus Jones song that commemorated it, "watching the world wake up from history."

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