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We were 140 writers from 40 countries and for the better part of a week we wrangled like arms control negotiators.It was the autumn of 1987, the year marking the 750th anniversary of Berlin’s founding.
During the previous centuries, the city had survived wars and destruction to become one of Europe’s great centres of arts and culture.
Though split by realpolitik, it remained united artistically.
Germany, and much of the world, this weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
It remains the singular event to symbolize the end of the Cold War.
It marked the end of the Iron Curtain between Eastern and Western Europe, and the rise of the new global economic and political orders that tore apart the former USSR and set the stage for the 21st Century world.
Ours is today a chaotic, fractious, polarized world.I went there in my capacity both as the drama reviewer for the and as president of the Canadian Theatre Critics Association.My editors found it odd I would want to go to an international conference dealing with a topic – theatre criticism throughout the ages – that they saw as being distantly removed from Canada’s immediate cultural concerns.I plunked down the credit card, secured an assignment guarantee and we landed in Berlin just days before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the famed and iconic Brandenburg Gate. read more Germany and the rest of Europe are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the associated communist regimes in Eastern Europe.This event had colossal repercussions in the economic development of the region but also, and maybe less obviously, on its demography.The Berlin State Orchestra played Beethoven’s thousands attended a “citizen’s party” at the Brandenburg Gate.Chancellor Angela Merkel said the fall of the wall showed the world that dreams could come true.And former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev used the occasion to issue a grim warning: he said the world is “on the brink of a new cold war” — for which he blamed the West.(See recommended reading, below.) Amid division there is hope, and vice versa.There was such simplicity to the scene as money and cheese changed hands, only the low hum of their voices breaking the silence of the vast, empty square.I thought to myself: “Thus, capitalism begins in Poland.” …