The Wall

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An article written back in November 1989 when the Berlin Wall was opened…

The Wall breaks down. It was the symbol of a war between two systems. (…)

There was such a joy arising in our country – all of us where part of it. This joy is rooted in a feeling of a comprehensive human belonging together, not in the triumph of a victory. So far nobody has won, because we will have only won when all systems and all walls have been overcome. Nobody will find the desired happiness by changing from one system to the other. The question of human liberation is beyond all existing political systems. There was no solution on this side or on the other side of the wall. The West has more glamour, more vitality, more wealth, but all of this is no answer to the hope of those people who for too long had to live behind walls. (…)

So far the human being has always erected walls. One erected walls to protect oneself. One built walls around peoples, around political systems, around creeds. One also built walls around elementary human areas such as Eros, love, partnership. Every piece of insight, every piece of truth, but also every piece of love the human being could find in this difficult world was immediately protected by means of a wall, an ideology, a law.

This was a demonstration of strength to the outside, but it was also always a protection against fear. The freedom we are all longing for is without fear. This freedom lies in understanding and solidarity, in friendship and truth between those people who no longer have to protect themselves from one another – for their common good lies in this freedom. There is a deep contradiction when truth, humaneness and freedom have to be protected from the world. The human being is free in a world where he does not need any more fences and walls. The faithfulness to a “system,” which is beyond any lip service can only arise when all other systems are understood and recognized. This is true for politics and for love: you can only be faithful when you are allowed to love others.

Some Parts of the Berlin Wall should remain as memorial of a human error, in which we all took part. From both sides we could paint and write on this monument as a sign of our common will, for all times to overcome such walls. Berlin could be a capital and metropolis in this new sense – a symbol for a new humane and political thinking in the sense of “glasnost” and “perestroika,” in the sense of a universal friendship, and in the name of warmth for all who want to live in a future without walls of separation.

Thank you for your attention.


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