1 October 2009

How a BBC journalist remembers 1989

Brian Hanrahan, who covered the 1989 events in eastern Europe for the BBC, has posted to the BBC News site an article of recollections from that time:

It was a baffling year - neither predictable nor inevitable. For those of us in the thick of it, there was a constant struggle to make sense of what we were seeing. Even those with the power to shape events were taken aback. The outcome was not what they had bargained for.

It was a year in which power was transferred away from repressive communist leaders who tolerated no questions or debate about their policies to mass movements which swept away governments and rewrote the map of Europe. Only China resisted the momentum of change by brutally suppressing demonstrations ... But at the beginning there was little to indicate that we were witnessing the collapse of communism, and the end of the Cold War. I have looked back through my notebooks and can find not a mention of the round table talks in Poland which began in February and would eventually lead to Eastern Europe's first non-communist government. Few thought it worth remarking on.

Hat tip to Anli Serfontein


Post a Comment