Facing a Nemesis 

2 03 2017

I grew up as a child of the 80’s in the UK. Born in ’75 (yes I am that old), we were always warned about the Soviet Boogyman. The same Boogyman who would destroy our society and way of life, and basically cause the end of days. Not to mention invite the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to put in a celebrity appearance. 

I grew up with a fascination for the bad guy in this story. This story, that seemed to have no happy ending. Even as a teen I tried to learn Russian. Yet through the front door our Thatcherite UK government pushed leaflets called ‘Protect & Survive’ that would tell us how to save ourselves in the event of a nuclear strike. Imagine how fun that would have been. I didn’t like the heroes in a story. Its too cliche, I root for the broken guy, destroyed by the system, spurned by his lover and his dog had left too!

So today I found myself face to face with a childhood nemesis. The very physical thing that represented the Soviet Boogyman –  The Berlin Wall. Berlin is an amazing city, vibrant and metamorphosed. I won’t even talk about the history here, as my blathering would do an injustice. 

I dutifully filed along the boards at Checkpoint Charlie, reading about the history that lead up to the construction of the wall. It gave an edge to the political situation that conceived this huge abomination of concrete. That was up until the point that I saw the fake tourist trap American soldiers, hustling photos for a pittance. 

I spotted a small description, showing a surviving section of the original wall a short distance away. Walking in the incorrect eastern direction (screw you Google Maps), I became instantly aware of the change in architecture.  Ît looked liked a classic architect had suddenly developed a penchant for Lego bricks and LSD – consumed together.

Once Google Maps had been abandoned, my feet and Spidey Sense regained their coordination. Before me was an original  several hundred meter section of the wall. 

Now, remember that I was relatively young for the fall of the wall.  I remember seeing on TV grainy colour images of long haired guys in t-shirts attacking a wall with hand tools.  I didn’t understand why they were doing it, but even at that young age..I understood the significance.  I even remember saying to my parents, this is going to change the world. 

And here we stand in a changed world, the information freedom generation. Ignorant of the basic struggles that were commonplace.  Ignorant of families torn apart by an ideology.  Unconcerned for the political games that we were unwittingly part of, here we stand free.

The Berlin Wall was not just a physical barrier.  It was a psychological block for freedom, that represented all of the injustice in the world.  When I first saw it, I wanted to spit on it. To physically show my disgust. What stopped me was the memory of those who died attempting freedom, from East to West. 

Here I stand, with eyes wide open. Eyes upon the diverse metropolis that is Berlin, yet back to those grainy colour images of a symbol being destroyed. I understood that I was facing a childhood nemesis.  The Boogyman that was so promised, had simply boiled down to a piece of concrete.

Ich bin ein Berliner..








%d bloggers like this: