I love this song, always have…
I’m American but was born in West Germany due to my parents being there in military. Still through my grandmother I come from Prussian stock and lived in Landstuhl until I was 7, so when I say I’m Prussian there’s more substance there than if I say I’m Irish simply because my father’s parents came from Cork. I actually saw the Berlin Wall when it was standing and I’m old enough to remember the far to common stories of people being machine gunned down trying to get from the East side of the Wall to the West and I remember when the Wall came down in 1989. I remember my Grandmother crying when she talked about it and when she got a phone call from a brother she hadn’t heard from in 30 years because he got trapped on the wrong side of the Wall. This song was released after the fall of the Berlin Wall but has always been closely tied to the event as well as being considered by many as the anthem of German re-unification. It’s a song filled with hope for a better world set against the backdrop of the Revolutions of 1989 when Communist states were collapsing across Europe.
I love this song, but it increasingly bittersweet to me as I look around the world and the media and even within our own government where elected officials and representatives of the administration refuse to condemn a Communist crackdown only 90 miles off our shores. 30 years later people seem to have forgotten the horrors of Communism, and especially among the youth positive opinions about the ideology are actually on the rise. Recent polling found 32% of Millennials and more than half of all Gen Z’ers had a favorable opinion of the ideology. That’s terrifying for anyone old enough to remember a time when half of Europe lived under the ideology.
I’m going to be Ironic for a moment and quote the most famous Communist in history… “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”