Sunday, August 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart!

Tomorrow is the 46th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall, er, sorry, the Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart. This was the last-ditch defensive effort undertaken by the good German democratic republic to keep west German Nazi fascists and their American salivating-skeleton sponsors from invading and destroying all the hard-won gains of the "good" Germans, the GDR citizens.

We have quite a bit of perspective and inside info now on this outrage, which turned out to be the worst public relations disaster in all of human history: the workers' paradise forced to physically confine said workers within its borders. It wasn't Nikita Khrushchev and the evil Russians' idea at all--the man who insisted on the wall was Walter Ulbricht, the GDR leader who was suffering terrible humiliation at the escalating number of east Germans walking across the Brandenburg gate into west Berlin. Salaries were much higher there and people got paid in real $$$. They were supposed to be working on and IN the socialist paradise, but they were lacking the requisite enthusiasm. At any rate, Ulbricht went to Khrushchev and demanded that Mr. K DO something--like send Soviet citizens to do those jobs the GDR citizens were leaving, like cleaning toilets. Khrushchev, we know, was indignant. "I'm not sending any of our citizens to clean your toilets," Mr. K replied. "After all, THEY won the war!" Failing that, Ulbricht said, build me some kind of barrier. "How about a wall?" Khrushchev asked. So, Ulbricht got a wall. A very bad decision over time, in essence a surrender, but the wall was going up.

Now we know something else. For years, east German authorities said that there was NO shoot to kill order on the wall, that any decisions taken to shoot at those scaling the wall were a reaction to a threat. Scared, trigger-happy kids, in other words. Just in time for the anniversary, though,recently, an Interior Ministry document has surfaced in which east German border guards were ORDERED in no uncertain terms to SHOOT the TRAITORS doing a runner on the e. German motherland. So we can chalk up another lie to the worst regime in the east bloc. Read the whole story here.

I think it's a timely reminder that however dispiriting things are here at present, there once was a dreadful scourge in half of Europe for half a century, keeping millions cowering behind this wall, with AK-47s aimed at them. It finally expired, collapsed under its own corruption and inertia, in l989. There MUST be hope for us, mired as we are in our many current and apparently intractable difficulties.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remind me again, what is the term the Israeli government is using for their wall?

The failure to learn from history is not always as in your face obvious as it is in cases like this.

8:10 AM  
Blogger buckarooskidoo said...

That's a good question...I'm not sure I ever heard. A wall is always a terrible idea, though, whatever you call it, because it is an admission of political failure, which is almost always a failure of (good)will...

11:53 AM  

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