27 November 2009

How long will rebuilding trust take?

Jane's diary: 27 November 1989, Wittenberg
A quiet and peaceful day. I sat at my desk most of the day sorting out post and trying to get a grip on all the preparations before going home in a fortnight. The other students are coming back to Wittenberg for the next 10 day module. The Berliners are late. Four of us have sat here and discussed the world while feasting on salad, bread, curry and fried rice. Four women trying to sort out the problem of dealing with the past of the last 40 years. The way all the power structures encourage people to abuse power over the people below them in the hierarchy and how you become aware of this as soon as you go to school.

All seemed to agree that so much has gone on in the past 40 years it could easily take another to deal with it all. We talked about the 1956 revolution in Hungary and the show trials there. Here people like Walter Janka were tried in secret, the role of people like Mielke, Hager and co. was then very important. Questions about what went on really couldn't been forgotten, it would be all too easy to do that said Frau B. The layers of corruption really need to be peeled back so that the structures which were operating then can be seen.

We compared the fragmented opposition here to that in Czechoslovakia where Charter 77 had been around for such a long time. Here there are no Vaclav Havels or Dubceks and already the power playing in and between the various groups is emerging and it doesn't bode well for the future. Frau B's brother in law has just sent in his resignation from New Forum, another one of us has been considering doing likewise for over a month.

This is all now "normality": the past 40 years beforehand were what was "unreal" yet they too were everyday life and reality. All the new citizens' movements have at least had the positive effect of breaking people out of their lethargy.


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