What did the Fall of the Berlin Wall represent?

October 29th, 2009 Comments Closed

Contemporary thinkers give their views on walls old and new

The debate “1989. Europe, 20 Years after the Fall of the Wall” brings together at the CCCB writers, philosophers and journalists, people who have some kind of link with that historical event that transformed Europe. We ask them how the world changed after the night of 9 November 1989, and if dreams of a freer, less divided continent really came true. Twenty years on, we also want to know which other borders or dividing lines, visible or invisible, affect humankind with the same force as the Berlin Wall.

“The most dangerous wall is invisible and it separates the rich from the poor” VÁCLAV BARTUSKA, Czech writer and diplomat

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In 1989, Czech writer and diplomat Václav Bartuska was a student leader in the Velvet Revolution. After the end of Communism, Bartuska devoted himself to politics as a member of the Czech Parliament, and writing, with Polojasno, a book about his experience of the revolution. Bartuska thinks that the fall of the Wall changed Europe dramatically, allowing many former Eastern Bloc countries to form part of the European Union.

“New walls have been built to protect ‘freedom’” DIRK LAUCKE, German playwright

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At just 27, Dirk Laucke is a leading dramatist on today’s scene in Germany. He was seven when the Berlin Wall came down. He lived in the former GDR, and what he remembers about 9 November 1989 is a great deal of confusion—confusion and insecurity for the inhabitants of East Berlin in the face of “capitalist freedom”. Twenty years on, Laucke thinks that new walls have been built to protect this “new freedom” and allow a select few to enjoy it. Laucke gives the example of the barriers imposed on immigrants who try to cross borders in search of a “freer” world.

“The fall of the Berlin Wall brought with it a crisis in the conception of reality” JORDI PUNTÍ, writer

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Jordi Puntí explains how the fall of the Berlin Wall affected the field of the narrative and shook the concept of reality. “The people of East Germany emerged from a false reality—of censorship and communism—and were plunged into another that was equally false—one of consumerism and capitalism”, explains Puntí. The writer from Manlleu is a regular contributor to the media (Catalunya Ràdio, El Periódico and L’Avenç) and has written two books of short stories: Pell d’Armadillo and Animals tristos.

“Since the fall of the Wall, the most obvious danger was ushered in by 9/11” NORMAN MANEA, Rumanian writer

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The demolition of the Berlin Wall brought with it the strength and vitality of freedom, according to Manea. It may be an imperfect, contradictory freedom, he says, but it is not to be scorned. Manea lived in a Nazi concentration camp with his family and also suffered the effects of the Ceacescu dictatorship. He currently lives in New York and is one of the best-known Rumanian writers on the international scene. He considers religious fundamentalism, more present than ever since the attacks of 9/11, to be worse than its ideological counterpart that fell with the Wall.

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