Current Affairs
30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

Germany’s Ambassador to Malta, Walter Haßmann, said the fall of the Berlin Wall was highly significant not only for Germany but also for the rest of Europe and its Eastern European countries that were dominated by communism.

“Our compatriots in the East grabbed this chance with both their hands and stormed the gate and the security fortunately kept their cool minds; it happened peacefully and this was the first time for Germany so we were very proud of it and of course it changed the face especially of Europe, the Iron Curtain, as Churchill had defined it, stopped to exist and new nations developed in central eastern Europe”.

Asked whether in the light of today’s situations there exists a possibility that more walls of division will be erected, the Ambassador said that those who treasured the concept of democracy need to be concerned with the rise of extreme factions in various European countries, including in the immigration sector.

“Here in Malta you are feeling it every day with the migration, which is a challenge for all of us but especially for the Maltese Government”.

Analyst Jesmond Saliba believes there is a danger that history may repeat itself although not in the same way it developed between East and West Germany.

He said the issues then were that of refuge but today issues are of a more economic nature and the element of immigration which in those days caused the wall to fall but today shows the perspective it may be rebuilt.

He also warned of the repercussions in an era of modern digitalisation and the dominance of the social media.

Saliba said there is the element of communications that in the past brought down the wall but today create divisions that may again erect it.

President George Vella addressed a forum in Dar l-Ewropa to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

He said the erection of the wall in September of 1961 went further than the restriction of physical movement between East and West. He recalled that families in East Germany suffered great discrepancies in the quality of life and their rights in the liberty of expression. He said it was not mere coincidence that during the 28 years of the existence of the Berlin Wall there were desperate attempts by Germans who daily tried to flee the East and for many this cost them their life. The President said the renewed unification of Germany was a victory against the politics of division and confirmed the universal desire of humanity for unity and freedom.