17 June 2009

Five Days in June

Five Days in June is the name of the novel by Stefan Heym about the 1953 workers uprising in the GDR that is commemorated on 17 June. Four years after the founding of the GDR half a million people went on the streets to protest against the raising of the norms. It was also the forst of the periodic uprising that would shake the Eastern Bloc. Thirty-six years later s non-violent protest would bring the government down. To mark the 1953 anniversary, 20 years after the peaceful revolution there are many local reports about the events of 1953, as in this report from the Märkische Allgemeine. Today also marked the publication in The Guardian of the obituary by Misha Glenny of Peter Gowan, an organizer of solidarity with democratic movements in eastern Europe, and the editor of Labour Focus on Eastern Europe.


Jane said...

In 1982 I sat on the Strasse des 17 Juni in West BErlin and watched the British, French and US troops parade - a display of military might ... what happened in 1990 on Jun 17th in Berlin?

UKViewer said...

Jane, of course the display of military might in Berlin by the countries involved in the controlled zone, was only that a display. Surrounded by Russian troops and their allies, they were a token. But a vital one to show that democracy would win out in the end.

Jane said...

thanks for the comment ukviewer.
I'm not a pacifist - though I am a peace activist - and I see the need for armed forces. I'm not convinced however that armies are a reliable symbol of democracy winning in the end. What actually made democracy win in East Germany was people refusing for decades to let the flame of civil society go out, daring to meet and publish in private, continuing to have ideas and finally daring to go on the streets together and face repression by a corrupt state, even when unarmed and vulnerable.

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