Hello everyone, Sophie here with a new #LaunchAcademy update for you!
Ok so you all have three guesses as to what I’m going to write about in this week’s blogpost, it’s a tricky one I know… but last night’s Mauerfall celebrations really were something worth talking about.
Walking through the city this morning, you could still see the lingering pride and elation of the Berliners in the abandoned beer bottles and the tiredly contented faces on the u-bahn. As a foreigner in Berlin, yesterday evening can only be described as surreal, and it is not something I think I’ll experience again any time soon. The atmosphere was intense, with thousands of people roaming the streets, looking at the various aspects of the Lichtgrenze installation and waiting for the balloons to be released. However, although I was part of these hordes of people walking down Ebertstraße towards Brandonburger Tor, I couldn’t help but feel just slightly detached from the rest of the crowd. I was there, seeing what they were seeing, cheering when they were cheering, but still I wasn’t really part of it. I couldn’t be really – yes, I know the history, I’ve read books about the GDR, seen films about the East/ West divide etc, but I don’t feel that it will ever be possible for me to truly understand what that time meant for a whole city of people and, to an extent, an entire nation.
This is not to say, however, that I felt unwelcome in Berlin last night – that could not be further from the truth! The general feeling in the city was one of excitement, commemoration and acceptance. Seeing people of all ages, from extremely young to extremely elderly, all out on the streets for the same reason was, from my perspective, eye-opening. I found the Wall Stories element of the event a fantastic and moving idea – accompanying the 8,000 balloons arranged along the former Berlin wall, there were also 100 personal stories from people who were directly affected by the division, about their experiences of the GDR and what the Mauerfall meant to them 25 years ago. These panels were emotively and informatively written, and gave me an insight into what this night must mean for so many people. They gave me the impression that, although as an outsider I will never fully understand the far-reaching effects of the Berliner Mauer, this is not exclusively what yesterday evening was about. At the same time as commemorating the fall of the Berlin wall and the Wiedervereinigung of Berlin, it was also a celebration of ‚eine Welt ohne Grenzen‘, of freedom of movement and a feeling of global community and togetherness.
Last night the people of Berlin gave me and all the other non-German people here an opportunity to empathise with their history and an invitation to share in these celebrations with them, as sympathetic foreigners, but also as citizens in the type of world the Mauerfall stood to protect and foster – one without borders.
There are more photos and videos from our 25 Jahre Mauerfall experiences on our Facebook and Instagram channels, and more information about the event in general and the artists behind it can be found here.
Fröhliche Wiedervereinigung Berlin!
Bis nächste Woche,