People walk next to a miniature representing the Berlin Wall placed on the bricks at the site of the former wall near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin November 8, 2009. As the highlight of a 5-million euro ($7.4 million) celebration marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, a 1.5-km (one mile) long segment of the Wall will stand for two days along its original route in front of the Brandenburg Gate to the Potsdamer Platz. The row of 1,000 20 kg dominos standing 1.5 metres apart — painted in bright colours by school children and rising 2.5 metres high — will be toppled at the end of a gala ceremony as a symbolic tribute to the collapse of the Wall 20 years earlier.
Tomorrow night, at the climax of the biggest official party seen in Europe, with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, hosting Gordon Brown, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president ? to name but a few ? the slabs will crash into one another like dominos, representing the chain of events that 20 years ago brought the cold war to an end. The first ?domino? will be pushed over, fittingly enough, by Lech Walesa and Miklos Nemeth, the veteran Polish and Hungarian anti-communist campaigners. They will be joined by two other main actors in the drama of 1989: the former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the then West German foreign minister.
The officially organized street party is costing EURO 5.15m (US$7.56m) and kicks off with a Daniel Barenboim-led concert at the Brandenburg Gate, followed by Bon Jovi performing their single We Weren?t Born to Follow and an extravagant firework display as the thousand dominos fall. All of Germany is celebrating what the newspaper Die Welt yesterday called ?the unexpected joy? that hit the country on a cold night in November 1989 when popular unrest, democracy protests, and a series of misjudged measures and misunderstandings caused the Berlin Wall to fall.
Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall fell (both materially and metaphorically) and state socialism in Eastern Europe entered its final period of collapse. However, as the ample anthropological literature on the area shows us (and as Slavoj Zizek discusses in an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times) two decades of postsocialism have had far from unequivocal results.
Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall – symbol of the Cold War – cracked and fell, and tens of thousands of people from communist East Germany crossed over into West Berlin. The event changed Germany and the world, but according to the European press not as much as expected.
BERLIN — For some time now, I’ve been trying to put my finger on what has been bothering me about the exhaustive and perfectly blameless celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There is nothing wrong with holding dozens of conferences, after all, and I’m all in favor of the many new books. In Washington, German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed a joint meeting of Congress.
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the desire to own a concrete reminder of the capital’s painful, divided past shows little sign of abating.
Those of you who follow this blog and my tweets know how much importance I put in women’s representation in EU institutions – the latest article on Tarja Halonen or an earlier post on the gender gap in the Commission staff are just two examples.
So with interest I noticed the recent issue (December 2009) of the “Journal of Legislative Studies” and in particular the article “Women’s Political Representation in the European Union” by Johanna Kantola.
Some think blogging is about fame. Some think blogging is about influence. Some think blogging is just about the blogger. Some have misunderstood blogging.
With 18 per cent of the EU population, German is the most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union. A further 14 per cent can speak German, which means that almost a third of EU inhabitants (32%) are able to speak the language of Goethe (Wikipedia: Languages of the European Union).
There are German quality media, universities, think tanks, public administrations, world class businesses etc., but how about Euroblogs?
The final approval of the Lisbon Treaty opens the door to the European Union again. Many obstacles to further enlargement remain, but there has been significant progress during the Swedish Presidency. At a ceremony in Stockholm this week, the…
Love?s Labour?s Lost?
Iceland has applied for EU membership and answered the detailed questions posed by the Commission, which is preparing its opinion for the Council on starting membership negotiations.
By the way of Jean Quatremer?s Coulisses de Bruxelles I noticed the latest ?sure bet? regarding the European Union?s next high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.
In Der Standard, Thomas Mayer writes that David Miliband has declined the offer to become the EU high representative: Brite Miliband sagt als EU-Außenminister ab (8 November 2009).
A good society is unlikely to flourish in central-eastern Europe unless the EU partnership shifts away from an agenda that mainly benefits multinational companies.