Just in case I want to remember some of the younger members and some of the forgetful older ones about something that happened in the summer of 89, I don't know if anybody is interested but I'll do it anyway, if this helps one person to understand the German position just one little bit better, it was worth writing!
Once there were two German countries, FRG
and GDR, the latter being the East German, that is, the Soviet Union-related part, and the first one the NATO-related part, the separation result of World War II
In 1989 the people of the GDR started something that went into history as the only completely (!!) unbloody fall of an extremely nasty totalitarian regime, that of Erich Honecker (he of the 98% election results
). People went into the streets to demonstrate, the so-called Monday demonstrations, that were started in Leipzig but soon spread over the whole country. Thousands of people fled to Hungary, Czechoslowakia etc. into the West German Embassies and waited there under subhuman conditions during the summer but none of them went back even though the GDR guaranteed not to arrest anybody.
We know today that Honecker and Mielke had already plans set up to deal with these people in a very bloody way, and people knew that (remember 1953?), yet they went out and their number increased and increased, in September there was literally 60% of the whole population in the streets. Knowing that there would be no help or back-up from the Soviet Union this time, as Michail Gorbatchev had already made clear that the days of killing one's own people were somehow over. In the end they bowed to the totally violence-free pressure from the streets and stepped down, and the next thing from the new government (Egon Krenz-led) was to open up all frontiers...which happened in the night of the 9th October 1989 in Berlin, checkpoint Bernauer Strasse and btw was a misunderstanding by Politkommittee-member Guenter Schabowsky who somewhat over-interpreted something Krenz had said.
But it happened, and now we come back to Iraq yesterday: I do understand the reaction of these people just too well, because I was there in Berlin that night, too, and I climbed onto the infamous Berlin Wall and tried to hack pieces from it with a little hammer, and what I saw yesterday on Television did resemble so much what happened that night in Berlin.
What do I want to say with this little story? The East German government was every bit as brutal and corrupt as the former Iraqi gov. yet it was kicked into the drain of history without weapons (I guess Gandhi and MLK would have been proud of these people), the Wall was torn down without hurting anybody and finally on October 3rd, 1990, one of the two German countries ceased to exist. The people of East Germany have a lot of bad experience with wars to "free" people, yet they saw it happen, therefore they don't believe in war anymore. This might be right or wrong, in the case of Iraq only time will tell and NOBODY here does know that right now. Part of the party that came from the East German Citizen movement that was instrumental in those demonstrations is now part of the government, as they merged with West German Green party (Buendnis 90/ Die Gruenen), the party of Mr. Fischer. So basically parts of the peace movement are now part of the government, and this is a peace movement that is NOT influenced by some communist secret service but instead brought one of the most infamous one, the Ministerium fuer Staatssicherheit, down on its knees without firing one single bullet.
I guess these people have a right to be against war and believe that tyrannies can be brought down by other means, becasue they already proved it.
I myself am not a pacifist and never was one, but I deeply respect the position of anyone who did this knowing quite well that his her life was under permanent danger in the streets of east Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden and anywhere else. And GWB should ask his daddy about this, he was US president at these times and during the so-called 4+2 negotiations he was on the German side from the very beginning, maybe he can talk some understanding of why Germany opposed this war from the very beginning into GWB's head.
Now to those stupid little comments above: Why commenting such stupid macho kidtalk, every word would be to much to those braindeads!
And no...we are not ashamed of ourselves!
[Edited 2003-04-10 10:13:58]