Sunday, November 16, 2008

Freedom is not free


This is a grim reminder of no freedom for some. The year is 1962, and in the background is the Berlin Wall...as seen from West Berlin. My father is on the left, and is seen with West German military guards. This picture here is bleak: the gray sky, the fog/mist, and the grim looks on all here. About a year had passed since the Soviet DDR puppet government built the nearly impenetrable concrete block wall. With barbed wire on top. And East German guards with shoot-to-kill orders for anyone foolhardy to attempt an escape. The irony here is that East Germany (in English) was referred as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). What was democratic about such a state? Nothing, since the DDR built this wall to keep their subjects in. No freedom of movement between free states, like we are accustomed. My father was a writer for United Press International (UPI) in New York. He could travel freely to a free West Germany. From the east? No way. Cherish your freedoms now (at least east and west reunited in 1990). I found this photo today - looking at it forces me think a bit...

5 comments:

Leora said...

Your father was a journalist? I wonder what he would write today about the state of journalism. I read blogs nowadays to get a variety of views.

I feel fortunate, at any rate, to live in a real democracy.

Queen-Size funny bone said...

People forget too easily the things that cause pain but won many a battle for freedom.

Helen Bennett Harvey said...

Truly extraordinary photo and a look at a cold time. Good message Ralph

Bond said...

What an incredible photo...Was the job as writer for UPI his cover as an agent for the OSS (predecessor of the CIA)?

He looks like a cold-war spy!

Mojo said...

I never realized that I'm actually older than the Berlin Wall. I guess I forgot or never knew that it wasn't built until 1961. I probably just assumed that it was built shortly after the Second World War and the subsequent partition of Germany.

For all practical purposes the wall was there for all my life (I was born in 1960) until it came down in 1990(? '91?). It seems strange that something I always viewed as just a fact of life had in fact only been in place for about 30 years.

Interesting retrospective.