Menschen bewegen gegen Ungerechtigkeit

In this reaction, I find a connection between the followers of Martin Luther in the 1500's, and the actions of the East German people in the 1980's, both of which led to the end of a repressive regime.

“In the end, it was not politicians who brought down the wall. It was ordinary Germans, who risked their lives to stand against a repressive regime”.

These are the most important words I take from the film. When we think back to the Wall coming down, and the reunification of the German Nation, we naturally think about heads of state such as Helmut Kohl, George Bush, and Mikhail Gorbachev, and how they worked to set these events in motion. We think about the Stazi, the Secret Police of the GDR, and how they sought to repress these events from going forward. However, in the end, it was not the heads of state or repressive regimes that determined the outcome, but the people of East Germany that brought down the Wall. Like the followers of the unlikely revolutionary Martin Luther, whose word and actions led to the downfall of Papal rule over Europe in the 1500’s, it was the movement of people against the injustices of the state that led to the Berlin Wall coming down, the reunification of Germany, and ultimately the end of communism.

In an attempt to dramatically demonstrate the GDR’s hold over its people, during the late 1980s restrictions on churches were relaxed. However, rather than becoming obsolete as the regime expected, churches became a sanctuary for everyone who yearned to be free: environmentalists, feminists, punk rockers, and peace activists alike. At the same time forces of reform, triggered in part by Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, were sweeping through Soviet satellite states. The East German government began to face a small but determined opposition movement and massive public protests.

Spurred on by tireless work of fellow citizens, the people of East Germany began to assemble in protest. GDR officials new that the end of there repression was near. But, what actually opened the Wall was - surprisingly - a mistake. An East German bureaucrat misspoke at a press conference on November 9, 1989, and triggered a flood of people at one of the East Berlin crossing points. The border guards had no instructions and were forced to let the crowds through, which caught the world's leaders by surprise. As events unfolded on televisions across the world, and within East Germany, the East German people also knew that something was different. They were able cross en masse without any shots being fired. As suddenly as the Wall had sprung up in August of 1961, on November 19, 1989 it came down - forever changing the face of Europe.

This film follows the birth of the freedom movement inside East Germany in a most unexpected place: the Protestant Church. Having just reviewed the Martin Luther video, I found this oddly reminiscent of another German Church that, some 450 years earlier, was instrumental in ending another totalitarian regime in Europe. We see the efforts of a young East German women, printing fliers in her kitchen, which spurred the German people to assemble in protest against injustices - recalling the printing of fliers by Martin Luther that led to the capitulation of Papal domination. These events signal to people everywhere that belief in freedom, and the willingness of people to demand it, will eventually prevail over repression and injustice.

Doug Engelman - 574 Worte

ger/102/2012/winter/doug_engelman_-_people_moving_against_injustice.txt · Last modified: 2012/03/13 17:24 by djengelman
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