Sunday, August 30, 2009

Invisible Walls

One interesting aspect about Germany, especially obsersed in those above 30, is their memory about the boundary between former East Germany and former West Germany.

This was the boundary, they say at every opportunity. My conclusion is that the wall might have been demolished physically but it remains in the minds of the people. Even the levels of development are visibly different.

I have been on the roads in what was the East and seen the kind of buildings they have; it is clear, they were behind in terms of visible development projects.

Most roads are new, meaning they have been constructed after the fall of the wall. (There is a development tax for the development of the former East which is still being collected 20 years after reunion. This speaks vloumes of the work that has to be done to lift up the former East to the level of the former West.)

Today, Sunday, I was at the part of Berlin where the wall has been preserved. It is not the original wall because it is being reconstructed for generations to come.

I walked by the wall. This is something impossible during the separation of the two sides of the country. It is being kept for historical reasons. And I think this is good. But there is a debate on whether or not keep the wall or turn the area into something else.

There were two walls, both constructed by East Germany, mainly to prevent its citizens from goingto West Germany where life was better in almost all senses.

The space between the walls was filled with sand and soldiers. The sand was meant to betray people escaping to West Germany, so that their footsteps could be visible. You know sand. The plan was that a person could not jump over two walls before soldiers, who guarded the wall 24 hours, could catch up with them.

But a human being is clever. People had ways of getting to West Germany. And they did. It seems to me that people cannot be oppressed beyond the limit they allow to be oppressed. Survival shall be there, always.

No comments: