Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Monday, November 9, 2009

remembering... peace... freedom

It's been an emotional journey...

I've visited so many Peace Bloggers over the past few days. I'm still not done. The great thing about that is that it means that so many participated in this community effort for Peace.

For me, the BlogBlast for Peace was the first day in what is shaping up to be a very important and moving time.

On this day, in 1938, Germany was filled with fire and hate. It was one of the worst demonstrations of the hatred that can fill a human heart... hate that comes from fear and lack of understanding - Kristallnacht. It lasted two days... but it was one event in a long series of human tragedies.

Synagogues were destroyed, windows broken... shards of glass were everywhere.

I strongly encourage you to listen to Johanna (Gerechter) Neumann, a Holocaust survivor, as she shares her account of Kristallnacht. She was just a few years younger than my daughter is now. We can never forget what hate and fear can do.

"When we Jews talk about the Torah scrolls, this is the basis of our belief. This is the basis of our observance. This is the basis of our lives. This was thrown into the streets. It was torn up. It was desecrated by hordes of people who had absolutely lost all respect of any other people’s religion. It works itself right into the fact that you hate for the sake of hating, but you really don’t know why you are hating."
-Johanna Neumann, survivor

On this day, 20 years ago... the Berlin Wall gates were opened. And a divided people felt immense hope. A much happier anniversary.

I've gathered two videos... and cried buckets in the process.

The first one, gives you a portrait of what happened during the first year. It talks of the families that were separated, the people who were killed...

This one, is about it's fall...

I remember the joy of that day. I was 20 and full of "piss and vinegar" as my Dad used to say. I was going to change the world. I think I have, in a small way. I brought a wonderful child into the world, and that's one of the most positive things a human being can do.

The Human Spirit is stronger than the concrete of a wall, than it's steel reinforcements... The Human Spirit can overcome everything.

"The remembrance of Nov. 9, 1989, not to mention the remembrance of the horrific proceedings of the (Kristallnacht) pogrom on Nov. 9, 1938, unmistakably teaches us: Walls — whether real or in the heads and hearts of people — walls do not solve any problems."
— Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of Germany's Bishop's Conference.


Akelamalu said...

A very reflective post Anndi, thankyou. x

Nessa said...

Amazing how some things have changed so dramatically while others have not.

Meet My Mates #3 - Quilly

Mimi Lenox said...

"The Human Spirit is stronger than the concrete of a wall, than it's steel reinforcements... The Human Spirit can overcome everything."

I have thought about you today. I know this is churning in you and has been for awhile.

Beautiful post, Ann.

Anndi said...

Akelamalu, looking back helps us gain perspective. We can see what went wrong, what went right, and hopefully apply the lessons learned.

Nessa, we have a divided Korea, extremism and mistrust of other religions brings conflict... and yet, we've be fortunate enough to know those can be overcome. It's not over for us yet.

Mims, when I open my heart, things come and a moment of clarity is attained. My faith in the world keeps renewing. I have Hope. Out of ugliness, beauty and joy can still rise up to the surface.

Travis said...

I should have taken time to commemorate each of these dates. I'm sorry I didn't.

But you certainly represented very well.

Charles Gramlich said...

Can't watch those videos tonight. I don't think my mood could take it.

Sanni said...

Anndi, oh, Anndi - thank you so much for this touching post. I finally made it over here to watch the videos... and now I do have a heart time typing b/c tears won't stop rolling down my face.

My grandparents both talked to me about WWII and especially Kristallnacht / Reichsprogromnacht a lot... when I was a little one I sat on the lap of granny and listened. Today, when I reflect their reflections, I always wish for one of my BlogBlast "lines": no one should be afraid of what the future holds.
We will ever be grateful and remember those who sacrified themselves for our freedom.

See, the fall of the wall was a great day in Germany's history and I'm pretty sure everyone remembers where he/she had been in that special night, when the wall was opened "by error", but to most of us this day also is "bittersweet", b/c the shadows of its dark history...

But, like you said "Out of ugliness, beauty and joy can still rise up to the surface."

Indeed, we weren't born to follow - You gotta stand up for what you believe. (Bon Jovi)

You, my sweet friend - stay the way you are: full of "piss and vinegar" - cause that's just one reason why we love you :-)



Anndi said...

Trav, *hug*

Charles, *hug* for you too.


You were so in my thoughts while I watched videos and read about both events. As I relived the fall of the wall.
Your Peace globes were about standing up for what you believe, and that's exactly what the people of East Germany did when they demanded to be let through. You can't bottle up the human spirit for so long.
I saw a report and interview with the man at the first border crossing who took it upon himself to just let the people through. It's amazing how at the right time, at the right place, one person can make a huge difference.

**BIG hugs** for you, darling friend.