This Mess of Troubled Times

Karl Schlögel at Eurozine:

Looking and listening around today, one sometimes gets the impression that the ‘historical moment’ of 1989, with all its excitement and happiness, never occurred – that the event witnessed by many of us has vanished under a mountain of interpretation and reflection; that ‘in fact’ all that happened on the streets of Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest and elsewhere was mere self-deception, an illusion, surreality. Despite all the documentaries, the newsreels and interviews, the experience of people appears to have largely been forgotten – people who first crossed the open border, striding enthusiastically or strolling, exploring a world that had been closed to them their entire lives, the thrill of liberty, of the freedom of movement, of reading newspapers they never had access to before, of visiting relatives in the West.

This ‘historical moment’ had its illusions, but it was not illusory. It cannot be ‘deconstructed’ or undone. It was part of a great movement of European liberation.

more here.