Monday, November 09, 2009

Sofort, unverzüglich!

I remember it so well. The early evening newscast had hinted at developments but it was the later edition that confirmed that the9th of November 1989 was indeed a historic day.

We watched that newscast, standing in the middle of the living room, our thirteen-month-old daughter clutched in our embrace, moved to tears.

What hopes we had! Surely there could be no limit to noble ambitions and idealistic aspirations after this blessedly bloodless coup?

There would be a friendly neighbouring state, the word 'democratic' would after forty years finally have meaning, the injustices of the dictatorship would be consigned to history but the positive aspects of East Germany - very few but very significant - could thrive and even inspire us in the West. I'll not list these positive attributes; those who intuitively share my perspective know them already, those who think otherwise will never been convinced of what might have been.

It is, nevertheless a day to celebrate, to celebrate the united Germany we have known for twenty years now. Whatever might have been.

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