What amazes me more than anything about Berlin is that I was actually 13 when on the 9th November 1989 they started to take the wall down dividing East and West. I was completely oblivious to it all with the only small bit of memory being a boy from school who had brought a colourful piece of the Wall in to show everybody. My interest in the significance of this event was superseded by girls, parties and the next episode Neighbours and Home and Away.
I have been in the very fortunate position to have spent most of my 4 weeks in Germany with the local friends. It has been a privilege to spend time understanding the history and culture with the personal touch as opposed riding the open top bus and listening to the scripted version of what I am supposed to hear. Personal context has meant everything.
There is so much that I have taken away from this country that I did not expect. Perhaps the most personally profound has been how this centuries history continues to play out, and the deep associations and interconnectedness of world situations and ideology ‘now’ goes back through the generations. The absurdity of human nature really did strike me straight between the eyes. Neighbours and Home and Away writers couldn’t of scripted a better drama if they tried.
From a personal perspective the question I continued to ask myself when thinking about some of Germany’s past was ‘What would I have done?’ ‘Would I have stood the moral high ground in the face of terrible wrong doings’ ‘Would I of been prepared to sit back if I knew some of what was going on’
Of course I would of done something, who wouldn’t? But then of course I realised that I am deluded since similar things still do go on today, perhaps in less extreme forms and of course they are not comparable but it happens.
In the same way the the German youth asked of their parents why they sat back and allowed the Nazi’s to commit the crimes they did, maybe one day I will be asked exactly the same question from my children.