Walking the Line Between Hope and Despair.

Thirty two years ago our lives changed forever.  The Berlin Wall fell.  Our family had been in Berlin the summer before and the wall looked permanent.  We went back the next summer in time to see streets opening in the Wedding neighborhood and watched people crossing the former wall course in their own neighborhoods, walking back and forth shaking their heads in wonder.

I was a student in Berlin in 1964 staying at a hostel near the wall close to Potsdammer Platz.  The lights illuminating the “zone of death” shone through our window all night.  In the August 1989 it looked permanent, when we returned in June 1990 it was a crumbling ruin.

I didn’t know it at the time but Maurerfall (Wall Fall) would mark a pivot point in our lives, our “midlife crisis.”  With the collapse of Communism the possibilities for “free media” opened up through the former Communist Bloc.  Suzi and I found new careers in media development, working throughout Central Europe, the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.  All things seemed possible.  Press Freedom was on the rise around the world.  And now…

…. And now, thirty two years later, freedom and democracy are backsliding around the world.  Free media are being shut down, journalists arrested and worse, civil society organizations shut down.  Minorities are being repressed.  Antisemitism and Anti-Roma activities are on the rise in Europe.  Freedom House, an NGO that analyzes democracy shows millions of people who used to live in free societies now living in societies with limited freedoms ranging from Hungary to Hong Kong.

…. And now we need to remember something else.  Eighty three years ago tonight Germany suffered “The night of broken glass,” Kristallnacht.   On that night thousands of Jewish shops and houses were smashed, Jews were rounded up, many murdered.  It was the start of something unimaginably horrible. So November 9 is a double anniversary, one full of hope, one full of despair.  We must to remember both and navigate a path that leads towards hope.


Scans of old, faded photos.


Scans of old, faded photos.


Scans of old, faded photos.

One thought on “Walking the Line Between Hope and Despair.

  1. Broadcasting is an operation in space, obviously, but also in time. You do not know where the seeds of freedom will find ground to take root, or how long it may take for them to bear fruit. The important thing is to keep going and extend the achievement until it enters the realm of larger reality.

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