Germany celebrates the fall of the wall without triumphalism

Pierre Avril, correspondent for Berlin

At the Brandenburg Gate, thissymbol of separation become symbol of unity and freedom"In the words of Frank Walter Steinemeir, the German president called on his fellow citizens to manifest the same"courageThan those of Berliners on the evening of 9 November 1989. "We must not allow people to be excluded and attacked, democracy to be violated and cohesion to be destroyed in this country!"The German head of state, who, more than Chancellor Angela Merkel, has printed his political mark throughout this day of commemoration, has launched.

"The Berlin Wall, symbolizing a regime of injustice, was built by Walter Ulbricht. But the new walls of our country, we built them ourselves. And we alone can demolish them. So do not complain … let's make them fallAdded Steinmeier. The president thanked the former Soviet president and initiator of perestroika Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as Ronald Reagan who, he, had the head of the USSR to "destroy this wall".

On the other hand, he has scratched the current president, Donald Trump, calling himmutual respectWith his allies and criticizing his "national selfishness". An hour earlier the tenant of the White House had, however, been soothing words to Berlin. "We will continue to work with Germany, one of our most valuable allies, to ensure that the fire of freedom burns as a beacon of hope and opportunity for the whole worldDonald Trump had written to his counterpart.

Multiple concerts followed by fireworks were to close a little later the official part of the commemoration ceremonies. In the morning, the same Steinmeier, in the presence of Angela Merkel, had welcomed his four counterparts, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian and Polish at the Bernauerstrasse memorial, where are preserved, intact, all the relics of the wall.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed Polish President Andrzej Duda to Berlin on 9 November to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. ODD ANDERSEN / AFP

In their respective languages, teenagers from all four countries recited a text on the theme "My Europe, our shared Europe". "We hope that no wall will divide Europe again"Said the Czech representative, whose republic, separated from Slovakia, had to wait for the fall of the USSR to constitute itself.

Each put a rose in the interstices of the Wall, before going to the chapel of reconciliation, another symbolic place of German unity, this Protestant temple which was dynamited in 1985 by the East German authorities before being rebuilt. after the fall of the iron curtain.

German Presidents Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Hungarian, Janos Ader, Polish, Andrzej Duda, Slovak, Zuzana Caputova and Czech Milos Zeman each inserted a rose in the gap of the Wall. FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS
FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS

"No wall that excludes people and limits freedoms is so high or so wide that it can not be brokenSaid Angela Merkel, commemorating the dissidents and victims of the communist regime.

The Chancellor also called the new generations to defend democracy. It turns out that the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, whose three leaders faced Angela Merkel, and who played a decisive role in the fall of the Belin Wall, are often blamed, thirty years later, for Brussels, for their attacks on democratic values.

Heads of State lay flowers in front of the Visegrad Group tribute monument. JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP

The Chancellor finally recalled that the date of 9 November also referred to the very dark year 1938, the night during which the Nazi regime asserted its dictatorship by burning synagogues. November 9, 2019 will remain an anniversary party, devoid of triumphalism and imprint of gravity.

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