I find the story of the Berlin wall extremely compelling and in some sense think it would have been really interesting to have lived during that time in Germany. The story is a horrible one, but it’s also one of power and hope and the difference people can make in society. With a major in sociology and a minor that focuses on protest and the power of people I’m extremely intrigued by the affect of the Berlin wall. A particular quote that I liked was that when the city was about to be divided the people “voted with their feet” by fleeing from the East to the West (4:50). I think people’s actions like that say a lot more than words or just voting. Fleeing was a physical representation of just how many people had the same opinion and I think that’s a lot scarier and has a bigger impact than just a number. People take up space, votes and speeches do not.

The worst part about the Berlin wall I think would’ve been the fear of it starting something even bigger. For example in the movie when they talked about the Russian and US standoff with the tanks and everyone was afraid it was going to be the beginning of World War III (10:09). To me that would’ve been the most terrifying. You could think you’re safe on the other side of the wall in West Berlin but if a war breaks out in Germany you’re not safe anymore. It wouldn’t matter what side you were on. I also found the stories of families being separated extremely sad. Especially with how buildings on the border were bricked over so no one could jump out the window or leave the door on the other side. I can’t imagine the stress and how distraught I would be if I was safe and my family wasn’t and there was nothing I could do about it. I think the saddest story was the one about the man who shot a guard to save his family while they were escaping. Obviously he was a normal man but was pushed to kill for his own safety. In that situation I’m not really sure I could do it if I were him.

I think the coolest aspect of the wall is the impact the younger people made. They had a huge part in the protests to tear down the wall. I found the candle light vigil the movie talked about particularly moving because they took a ceremony intended to show off how great they are and turned it into a political rally to overthrow the soviet regime (41:00). The underground printing presses were also impressive because of the risk they came with. The part the church played in all this was also interesting because while religion tends to claim it is separate from politics, it turned into the political Mecca ironically. The church was the foundation for protests and bringing people together to change the way they were being treated. That kind of power and will of the people I think is just amazing. They had an opinion and they voiced it and ended up changing history. I would’ve been honored to be a part of that during that time.

Emily Labedz Word Count: 544

ger/102/2012/winter/emily_labedz-_the_wall.txt · Last modified: 2012/03/13 19:22 by eflabedz
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