Thursday 4 August 2016

Berlin: Concentration camps and walled cities

Memorials of grave deeds
Some things just defy explanation or understanding and sadly they are at first part of our history and are constantly at the risk of repeating and recurring in the present with the same horrors of the past.
The remains of the Berlin Wall preserved in a memorial are sited just outside Nordbahnhof Station. The record of a deliberate decision of people in power to cage people under a ruthless authoritarian Communist rule. [Berlin Wall Memorial]
The architects of the wall destroyed life and property to plant this rotten edifice that ran through a cemetery and in the process the disinterment of over 1,000 graves to fit that purpose. The memorial now sits on what was once part of a cemetery.
Concentrated evil
When people sought to escape this regime, because the primordial cry of humanity is for freedom, they were shot. Someone took orders to shoot both young and old without mercy and it was done. At the memorial stands portraits of each person martyred in their quest for freedom.
Not even 16 years before this wall was conceived and erected in 1961, there was the liberation of the concentration camps, the first of which was sited near the seat of power to cater to political prisoners at Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg.
These were operated by the Nazis with an efficiency and organisation that today still baffles imagination and comprehension.
In this and many other Nazi concentration camps, they perfected the art and science of human extermination with an almost sense of omnipotence and power over life, livelihood, death and disposal.
History in present replay
Anyone who visits the memorial will fail with words with which to appreciate this enterprise. What however all in our touring group was when I noted to our tour guide how when the Communist government of the GDR were planning a memorial to the souls lost in the concentration camps in 1961, the people who said never again were building a new wall around Berlin.
Man’s capacity for evil is never trammelled, when power is absolute and that fear of the other is exploited, resulting in the persecution of the other and the considered different by the Nazis, then by the GDR, was repeated in the Brexit campaign, is showing a Genesis in the aftermath of the failed coup in Turkey and is a fearful prospect if Donald Trump becomes president of the United States of America.
Walls are not bridges and bridges are not walls, whichever is built would either celebrate or denigrate our common humanity. The populist rhetoric aims to accentuate our differences, and if we do not stand up to this narrative, before long, people will be victimised and how long before this poison colours our doorstep?

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