Today marks 30 years of German Reunification, and next week classes start again at the Karl-Franzens-Universität. One seminar I will be taking sounds very promising – The Desire for Walls After 1989. The course description :

Thirty years ago the wall between East and West Germany fell. For many people, 1989 was also seen as the beginning of a reconciled world. Today it does not look like that. In many places, political positions are confrontational, a common consensus is not discernible at national, European or international level, and the idea of a solidary world society seems to be under pressure. What has happened? Why do compartmentalization rhetoric and isolationist architecture seem attractive again today?

I have been asking myself the above questions for quite some time. I hope that I will be wiser at the end of the semester.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

4 thoughts on “Knocking down the walls

  1. Great topic. I have some thoughts about the answers to these questions, but I certainly don’t have any simple solutions in mind! Population pressure, environmental degradation and habitat loss, and income inequality are all major factors driving the uptick in fear that seems evident in most societies at the moment. Not to mention the fact that it’s “in the air” (= trendy) to be controversial and politicize everything these days. Humans catch ideas just like they catch viruses, and the idea “beware of the Other who wants to take your home/job/freedom” is spreading just like covid-19.

    1. Thanks Dawn. Dead on comment. The other is everywhere. I think Simone de Beauvoir put it best in The Second Sex: It only takes three travelers brought together by chance in the same train compartment for the rest of the travelers to become vaguely hostile “others.”

  2. As Dawn mentioned, income inequality seems to be a driving factor. Many rural areas effectively ‘left behind’ by rapid pace of globalisation compared to the cities which (for the most part) have prospered (in some countries such as the UK it’s really only the capitals). Interestingly you mention East and West Germany, the economic gap between the North and South of England is now greater than the gap ever was between East and West Germany. Politics is reflecting the anger, and the politics whips up the anger too.

    1. Interesting factoid about the North/South division in the England. I was not aware of that – sounds like a future blog topic. Also thanks for the Jesus GOP video. Loved it. 😊

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