Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Berlin Wall

Twenty years ago next month, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.  This Wall Street Journal article tells a story of the Berlin Wall I had never heard before. 
The world believes Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev or peaceful protests brought down the Berlin Wall 20 years ago next month. But for those who had front-row seats, the argument boils down to Ehrman vs. Brinkmann.
Riccardo Ehrman, a veteran Italian foreign correspondent, and Peter Brinkmann, a combative German tabloid reporter, both claim they asked the crucial questions at a news conference on Nov. 9, 1989, that led East German Politburo member G√ľnter Schabowski to make one of the biggest fumbles in modern history.
Be sure to click on the “Slideshow” tab above the article.  It’s amazing!  Slide 3 of 16 shows how desperate people were to get out of East Germany (and America is inching closer and closer towards that type of misery.)  Slide 9 just amazes me.  I can’t imagine shooting another human being for no reason other than crossing an arbitrary line.  Slide 14 should be titled, “A First Look at Freedom.”

I find it so difficult to believe, although the reality of it is everywhere around me, that so many people, especially many Americans, don’t understand the value of individual rights, much less what they are.  How many more examples must history provide us with before we learn once and for all?

I know most Americans are busy with their careers, their children, their spouse, sports events or whatever else occupies their time.  We’ve become spoiled to being free enough to have too many things to occupy our time, but the times are changing.  If Americans don’t start doing what the government-run schools failed to do, educate themselves, history is doomed to repeat itself.

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