One of the many events that happened nationally and internationally in recent times that affected me severally is the 20 years celebration of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. For various reasons. Combine with it my recent re-reading and re-watching of Henry Porter's BRANDENBURG (a 2005-06 novel) and the 2006 movie THE LIVES OF OTHERS respectively. Of course, a movie such as GOODBYE, LENIN is always at the back of my mind!
Leaving aside the drama, the sentiment, the euphoria, the pyrotechnics and the laser show that sorrounded this event, the sheer monolithic monstrosity of the history behind the wall's existence leaves me breathless and disturbed... more because when I visited Germany the first time, it was hardly 5 years after the re-unification, when the old habits and memories of a land lost by a tribe of people who had set their store by a system - whether they liked it or not - through sheer habit still hung around like hangover from previous night's party!
I went back and dug into the net, dug into my shelf of German literature, German magazines and newspapers I had brought back upon that first visit. Memories come crowding. At that time, I was just a keen-eyed first time visitor to Germany. I did not comprehend the enormity of my stay. I am now trying to put all the shards of experiences and observations of my day-to-day existence over 8 months in places such as Magdeburg, Berlin, Halle, Leipzig, Wernigerode and other quaint little erstwhile East German towns - irrespective of long or short my stay or visits was/were! I even visited the Staatssicherheit's (STASI) headquarters in Leipzig, which was a very very eye-opening and cleansing visit for my soul.
To see the Nikolaikirche, visit Auerbach's Keller blessed with Goethe's feet, body, spirit and sould, walk about the Denkmal and have an esoteric experience of a Russian Orthodox Church Sunday Mass and then to spend about 2 hours on the Open Day at STASI hq in Leipzig - now to think of all these - I do not know what to do with all these accumulated experiences. This is but one day of the several days I visited Leipzig, when I was not collecting materials for my research or visiting famous and not so famous, but experimental theater houses or tourist sites in the rest of Germany or taking advantage of my several friends inhabiting all sorts of towns and cities all across Germany from Schewerin to Constance, Aachen to Frankfurt-Oder, Aurich to Dresden. This is but one of the 3 visits to Germany over a decade between 94-95 and 2004. How many, how many experiences, how many, how many memories, how many, how many memories now come flooding as a result of waking through the night of 20 years of Fall of the Wall celebrations on the Brandenburg Tor! Thank you DW-TV for bring the event live and better than BBC or CNN or anyone else outside of Deutschland.
I think I shall create a new blog exclusively dedicated to recapturing my German days. One post or even 10 posts won't be enough in the next coming days. For now, after 15 years since my first day, when my friend Thorsten picked me up at Berlin-Tegel, I realise it is a complex socio-political and artistic as well as cultural broom that I am trying to assimilate straw by straw that shall ultimately help me clear the cobwebs of my existence! It is humbling, to say the last word.