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Friday, 13 November 2009

Ich bin ein Deutschlander

In November 1989, I was in my final year of University and stuck right in the midst of final exams. My university years saw the development of my political ideaology and the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th 1989 was an event that was so significant. Never, ever did I think the Berlin Wall would fall. That event was the catalyst that brought about the end of communism in many parts of the world - especially Europe. The fall of the Berlin Wall led to the unification of Germany in October 1990.

I have visited Germany and in fact spent some time there on work. I used to go for two week stints practically twice a year from 1992 to 1996. I had the pleasure of visiting Munich (or Munchen as the Germans call it) and Hanover with brief visits to neighbouring cities like Mittenwald, Celle and even Dachau. Dachau used to be a Concentration Camp and visiting it was an experience that will not be easily forgotten. I really enjoyed Germany with its incredible history, culture, food and of course the Beer!

20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is sad to see that many other walls have not fallen. These walls may not be physical walls but rather invisible or virtual walls. The walls of Racism, Sexism, Inequality, Corruption and many others still exist but I believe that these walls will all come crumbling down one day.

The fall of the Berlin Wall taught me that nothing is impossible. It also made me a firm believer in the Power of the People. It showed me that no matter how strong a regime may be, how corrupt things may be, how difficult a situation may be, it is the will of the people that will finally come through. It may take a long time but change can only happen if the people will it. And once the people will it, change will come. History has shown us this not just in the Fall of The Wall but in the destruction of Apartheid in South Africa, the removal of many regimes in many parts of the world, the First Black President of the USA, the loss of the 2/3 majority of the Governing party in Malaysia's Parliament in March 2008 and many others.

These are all events that I never thought I would live to see but it has happened. And it has happened because of the Power of the People.

I celebrate the Fall of the Wall not just for the freedom it gave to the people of Germany but for what it symbolises to the rest of the world. In this age of globalisation and with the world becoming smaller through the use of technology and communications, we need to focus on our similarities and put aside our differences. We need to recognise that we are all one people no matter what our culture, our nationality or our religions.

With my frequent trips to Germany, I learnt a little Deutsche and also learnt the German National Anthem - Das Deutschlandlied (The Song of Germany). The original Anthem was 3 verses long and started off with Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, (Germany, Germany above All).

From what I was told, this phrase was not looked upon favourably after the second world war. Currently only the last stanza of the original anthem is sung. The first line goes Unity and justice and freedom
and although it is meant for the German Fatherland, I believe that today it is applicable as a call for Unity, Justice and Freedom EVERYWHERE in the world.

That is why, in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, I join ranks with the people of Germany and declare that in the spirit of Brotherhood, Ich bin ein Deutcshlander - I am a German. in further commemoration of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and in the hope and trust that all other walls will eventually fall, I reproduce the German National Anthem...

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
|: Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland. :|
Unity and justice and freedom
For the German fatherland!
For these let us all strive
Brotherly with heart and hand!
Unity and justice and freedom
Are the pledge of fortune;
|: Flourish in this fortune's blessing,
Flourish, German fatherland. :|


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

An inspiring post Dharm to remind us to break down all barriers.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

lovely post. we are on the same wave length here Dharm! hugs!


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