The Berlin wall fell 28 years ago (and a couple of other things in German history happened too on this day at various times). Every year this day is a very emotional day for me. Tonight I am sitting in my kitchen, reading in Christa Wolf’s „Ein Tag im Jahr“ („One day a year“). Between 1960 and 2000 Christa Wolf collected her thoughts on every 27 September. So, there is an entry for the 27 September 1989 and one on the 27 September 1990. In between those days the Berlin Wall fell and changed the path for Millions of people across Europe.This inspires me to think back to those months so many years ago.
I was 15/16 years old at the time. I cannot imagine what my life would have looked like without this historic event. I also have to admit (although this is a difficult one) that I did not go to one of those glorious demonstrations, where people across East Germany took to the streets and demanded change and freedom. My eternal gratitude goes out to every single one them. It wasn’t that I was not interested in politics, quite the contrary. I followed very closely what was happening in the world. Like probably many people I didn’t believe, that this Wall could ever move just one single metre. It was like a natural law. It’s there and it is going to be there for ever. I just didn’t go. This is not easy to say because it is such a huge historical event and so many people went and it would be great to be able to say proudly „I have been to those demonstrations too. I contributed too.“ But at that moment of time, in this particular instance, I didn’t. To some extent I have been carrying this around me for a very long time. It feels like a relief to say it out loud. I’m not sure why exactly this is important today, but it is. So here is the space for it.
My conclusion on this November evening, whatever you’re up to, however impossible it seems, let yourself be surprised. Literally, nothing is impossible. It feels very empowering to have lived through this and experienced an enormous societal shift like that … even if my contribution was very little I benefited from this tremendously.