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June 09, 2003

I remember that evening of November 9th 1989. I was alone in my good old horizon blue Mercedes, returning from Offenbach, to Hanau. I had just turned onto a straight piece of the road, the railroad tracks to the right, some dark, sleepy houses to the left. The old blaupunkt radio was on, so was the heat, the engine made this purring relaxed sound, we were cruising. The announcer on the radio interrupted the broadcast. I do not quite remember what he said exactly. It was something about the Berlin Wall coming down, or the border between Eastern and Western Germany being opened. I do not quite remember what the announcer said. I just remember that I immediately had tears on my cheeks, my immediate reaction was to cry. I was alone in that same car, driving on that same road, except things were blurry now, I was crying as if somebody had removed an incredible weight off my chest and told me to go home.
We had escaped from Poland less than 10 years prior to that evening, the world was now a different one, suddenly, without a proper warning. So many of the fears and limitations had been turned into a page of a history book within seconds. For me, personally, in that purring car between Offenbach and Hanau. The world changed indeed. I do not know how I could explain how deep the emotions were that swept upon us back then in Germany in the days following the announcement. On both sides of the previously impenetrable border there was joy and an indescribable outpour of human emotion in general. I can not think of any comparison or description of what we were feeling. It was such a raw and just unscripted real emotion. It was incredible.
The reason I am remembering this moment and trying to remember what it felt like to be in a suddenly soon to be reunited Germany, is what happened today. (Well, yesterday.)
58.5% of the Polish population voted in a referendum today (and yesterday). 77% of those who went to the ballots voted for a united Europe, voted for Poland joining the European union. 22 years after we escaped from a Poland that was about to declare Marshal Law on itself, that same country is about to become a state in a union that will include what we called the "Zachod". I should be really touched again. Poland will be part of Europe, a peaceful decision, a choice of the people, an idea impossible in 1981, an idea somehow natural in 2003.
There is barely any mention about this incredible event in the American media, of course. It is understandable, there is an entire ocean between here and there. There is actually a quite good article in Times this morning. (Also take a look at the BBC-News article.)
Only a very private perspective allows me to compare the fall of the Berlin Wall with the decision of the majority of the Polish population to join the European Union. The climate of both decisions is a completely different one, of course, the decision is made in a very different world.
Hmm, a very personal, very private comparison of both events...
I guess they are both gigantic steps towards a more open world... does this make me compare them?...
Btw. If you do not know what happened on December 13th 1981, check the entry in this blog. Yes, there is one.


what will the new holiday be called? :D

Posted by: em!ly on June 11, 2003 07:22 PM
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