Today, 9-11-2009 (the manner in which dates are written in Europe, putting the day before the month), is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the heads of state of nearly all the world’s leading nations are present, with Hillary Rodham Clinton representing President Barack Obama.
The New York Times writes:
“SNAKING ALONG, cutting through fields and streets, yards and gardens, the 28-mile-long Berlin Wall stood as a border between East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989.
That all changed on Nov. 9, 1989, when an inexact translation, a confused border guard and a natural longing for a better life opened a hole in that wall that would eventually end the Cold War. Related Coverage | Article“
It was a momentous day in history, certainly one of the most significant in our lifetime. Once again, democracy and freedom had emerged victorious over tyranny – as they always do. Civilization prevails.
We pay due homage and respect to the fallen and to the families of the fallen of the 9/11 in the United States – may their memories live in the hearts of all – but the German 9/11 will most likely have the longer-term impact on world affairs. Perhaps then, even a mesh of both dates might be the optimal viewpoint, since both events remind us all not only of the enemies of civilization but also of the ultimate victory of freedom and democracy in the world.
Deutsche Welle writes:
November 9th was Germany’s – and the world’s – lucky day.
People should celebrate reunification, not critique it.
While Germany is busy celebrating twenty years as a unified country, some are critical of the reunification process. But DW’s Marc Koch believes November 9th deserves to be made into a national holiday.
It is a day of evocative pictures and touching accounts, and of pathos and platitudes as well. Yet more than anything, November 9, 1989, was the most auspicious day in modern German and European history.
Not only did it symbolize the end of an ailing and unjust system, and the reunification of a country after 40 years of division, it was also the day on which everyone could experience the long-evoked values of unity, justice and freedom. A moment of triumph in which society could celebrate itself.”
Victor Sebestyen writes at the Guardian that The Berlin wall was the real 9/11:
“The heady events in Berlin in 1989 had far more impact than the rise of Islamism.
Today is the real 9/11. This is not meant as a quibble about dates. Future historians will remember 9 November 1989 as far more significant than that terrifying day in September eight years ago. Countless long-forgotten events have been marked in headlines as the day we shall all remember. But nobody can doubt that the world changed on that wonderful night in Berlin.
When the Berlin Wall fell, communism died. Events have moved on fast since then. A new clash of civilisations – or in many ways an old one – began to surface. Now it is hard for anyone under about 40 to remember communism. To recap: it was that once idealistic, inspirational creed promising equality, freedom from exploitation and the creation of a new perfect humankind. The problem was that people had an annoying refusal to be perfected.
Almost always communism was imposed at the point of a gun and created labour camps and bread queues. The Stalins, Mao Zedongs and Pol Pots turned communism into the bloodiest social experiment of all time. History will mark 9 November 1989 as the day it was seen off as a miserable failure….
9 November was gloriously happy. Anything seemed possible that night. 11 September was a day that sparked panic and fear. I know which is a better 9/11 to remember.”
Read the rest here.