In 1988 we went to Berlin and went through Checkpoint Charlie. It was a deeply depressing experience, everything seemed to be in shades of tatty grey. Afterward we stood on the observation platform overlooking the East and prayed for an end to the oppression.
A year later I was there the week after they opened the Wall. Crowds of people, old, young, wealthy, poor all lining up with hammers and chisels to attack the symbol of tyrrany.
Erich Honecker, the former party leader, was officially “retired” and living in a house lent to him by one of the Luthuran pastors he had persecuted, but everyone knew he had been dunped by his colleagues as they tried to hang on to some sort of power.
The Volkspolizei tried to protect the wall, confiscating hammers whenever they could, but in the end all they could do was stand in a semicircular huddle protecting a few yards of the wall.
Afterwards I wrote this
Die Mauer zwischen Deutschland (The Wall between Germany)
And I have seen the wall of darkness fall
And aged tyrant kicked from aged throne
He had a nation at his beck and call
Now all that’s left is just an borrowed home
He boasted of his nation’s virgin state
No Nazi’s here, yet ruled by Nazi ways
He built a country on class-structured hate
And thought there was no limit to his days
A paradise for workers was his claim
But workers had the fewest rights of all
And in the end they brought him down in shame
And danced for joy upon his bloodstained wall
Who built a wall to hold a nation in
Lies, Wall and Builder both, in History’s bin
On a Photo of a former prison, now an Allied Irish Bank
Unwaith Carchar, wedyn banc
Unwaith caethiwed dynion, wedyn caethiwed arian
Dwywaith diwedd gobaith
Once a prison, now a bank
Once a captivity for men, now a captivity for money
Both times a death of hope