Wednesday, January 23, 2008

More Recent History

Sometimes I forget that Communism is not dead. That it has been alive, though in a weaker form, even since the Berlin wall fell. It amazes me that it was only 1989...only 19 years ago. I was 10 going on 11. I don't remember any of it and know more about the Communism of Russia than East Germany.

This is a fascinating article from Wired Magazine. It always boggles my mind that dictators, tyrants, and despots keep such organized records of their crimes.

"...23-year-old plumber named David Gill, a democracy activist barred from university because his father was a Protestant minister. He was secretly studying theology at an underground seminary in Berlin..."

To imagine living in such a state - that you could be barred from attending university because your father was a protestant minister - that you could be forced to "study underground" ... is almost beyond my comprehension.

"We had all lived under the pressure of the Stasi. We all knew they could know everything," Gill says today. "But we didn't understand what that meant until that moment. Suddenly it was palpable."

People whine and complain about the US government. They malign the current (and former) administration(s) as being akin to fascists and nazis. People who do this are morons of the highest level and have no logical or analytical molecules in their pea brains. They are the same people, those who "speak truth to power" against the government, which allows them the greatest of freedoms, who would be rounded up and jailed, tortured, and possibly executed in actual fascist states.

"A team working for the Stasi Records Office (BStU), the newly created ministry responsible for managing the mountain of paper left behind by the secret police, had begun manually puzzling together bags full of documents, scrap by scrap. The results were explosive: Here was additional proof that East Germany sheltered terrorists, ran national sports doping programs, and conducted industrial espionage across Western Europe. BStU's hand-assembly program also exposed hundreds of the Stasi's secret informants — their ranks turned out to include bishops, university professors, and West German bureaucrats."

As if there had been any doubt - at least to those with eyes open to see.

No privacy. No secrets. No power of individualism without fear of retribution.

"By preserving and reconstructing the Stasi archives, BStU staffers say they hope to keep history from repeating itself. In November, the first children born after the fall of the wall turned 18. Evidence suggests many of them have serious gaps in their knowledge of the past. In a survey of Berlin high school students, only half agreed that the GDR was a dictatorship. Two-thirds didn't know who built the Berlin Wall."

I'm fascinated by history and wish more people studied it, with an eye toward remembering and learning...and not repeating.


Jennifer said...

Awesome post! Many of us could use a refresher course.

Anonymous said...

I recommend watching the movie _The Lives of Others_ (_Das leben der anderen_) if you've not seen it yet. You'll learn much more about the ways of the GDR and of "life" there. Excellent movie.