Wall fell, half-world away, twenty-five years ago.
A new generation, says “what wall?”
Citizen sectioned off, families and friends concrete-walled apart, property from owners, haves from have-nots.
East-Berliners, like installation art. No choice, imprisoned live exhibits in some cold-war museum.
History, torn iron curtain.
Playing no role, we watched, as if to appreciate symbolism, understand underlying politics, or somehow grasp that wall’s meaning, lives divided opposite sides of that wall.
“History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
"History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.” – George Santayana
Media pawns taught us spy-novel-esque terms like Checkpoint Charlie and Brandenburg Gate.
We read headlines.
Far removed, how could we understand, what Reagan did, what Gorbachev allowed, arms race, money race or people’s self-determination pace?
Old wars, cold wars, wars of old men plotting strategy against old men, armies restlessly and ruthlessly rattling sabers of fear, using fear of weapons, fear of mass destruction – not the fear of a war to end all wars, but a war to end all mankind …
In time, anguish and blood shed really fade.
How long we remember things is not clear.
How quickly we forget, how quickly everyone forgets, is clearer to me each year, each month that I age.
We need to remember. Internet age history is so fully recorded – as if volume of information is a substitute for understanding, as if making sure we know all the whats, that we then have some understanding of the whys.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -7C/20F, snowy crystal crunchy white overnight, rabbits searching for their winter coats, Gusta’s studded paws served her well while I was more tentative …