Germans Celebrate the Fall of Berlin Wall, Tweaking Trump

Clay Curtis
November 11, 2019

US President Donald Trump on Saturday (Nov 9) addressed the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall by congratulating Germans on the "tremendous strides that have been made in reuniting their country and in rebuilding the former East Germany".

Trump also sent a warning to tyrannical regimes around the world that continue to employ the oppressive tactics of Soviet-style totalitarianism.

Its fall in 1989 was seen as a victory for liberal democracy, and led to Germany's reunification a year later.

"Walls that are invisible but which divide".

A minister holding a press conference called to outline measures to ease restrictions on East German citizens after weeks of growing demonstrations suddenly announced that the wall was to be opened with immediate effect.

"No wall that keeps people out and restricts freedom is so high. that it can not be broken down", she added.

Flowers dropped in front of portraits from people who died at the Berlin wall after commemorations celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked his country's Eastern European neighbours for enabling a peaceful revolution.

Ms Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, greeted members of the public as she arrived at Bernauer Strasse where she and fellow leaders from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic placed roses at a section of the Wall left standing.

"The values upon which Europe is founded. they are anything but self-evident".

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The collapse of the Berlin Wall was brought about largely by peaceful protests and a stream of people fleeing East Germany that piled pressure on the country's communist government to open its borders to the West and ultimately end the nation's post-war division.

Carrying a similar message, the EU's incoming chief Ursula von der Leyen noted that the euphoric optimism over liberal democracy and freedom that characterised November 9, 1989 has dissipated.

'For 35 years, I experienced the official opinion as different from my own, ' Merkel said, referring to the former communist east.

Two days before the date that brought epochal change, France's President Emmanuel Macron dropped a bombshell, declaring that transatlantic partnership North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was suffering from "brain death" and that Europe itself was "on the brink".

Merkel responded with uncharacteristic sharpness, calling such "sweeping judgements" unnecessary.

The bad tempered prelude to the festivities stood in sharp contrast to celebrations five years ago, when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ex-Polish president and freedom icon Lech Walesa were present.

"Walls that stand in the way of our cohesion" he warned, as he urged Germans to "tear down these walls, at long last".

This time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit ended Friday, while Macron is only planning a flying visit today.

"Let us be just as courageous and live up to their expectations".

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