I had the privilege of being in Berlin on November 9th, 2009, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the night that changed the world. Michael [Steltzer] and others vividly described that historic evening, when East German government spokesperson Günter Schabowski, declared that all East German citizens were free to travel abroad— “effective immediately” he said in response to a journalist’s question, despite the fact that Egon Frenz’s transition government had only intended to open the border in an organized fashion the next day. Jazz singer Eva described how she rushed to the Wall from the Berlin side, and was hoisted up onto the top by her friends — while the East German guards just stood by, watching. One of them even exclaimed: “Why was I standing here all these past 20 years?”
I also heard Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel, who served as deputy mission head of the American Embassy in East Berlin in 1989, about the chaos and confusion of that unforgettable evening.
It’s hard not to make comparisons with “our wall” that snakes along and into the border between the West Bank and Israel.
Of course, the Berlin Wall separated two sides of the same people, while ours separates between Palestinians and Israelis. Also, their wall was an inherent part of the Cold War, while ours was established as a security measure against Palestinian suicide bombers by an Israeli government which was incapable of dealing with its understandable security concerns via diplomatic means. … Read this entire account at the Palestine-Israel Journal blog.