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Old October 3 2012, 01:41 PM   #1
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Happy Unity Day!

... to our German friends.

Never get tired of these pics.



So what did you do in 1989?

I was a very little kid and the fall of the Berlin Wall was the first news I actually followed because my parents were so interested in it (Well, doh... who wasn't?).

I didn't really understand most of it obviously but somehow I did get that the world had changed.

When I visited Berlin for the first time years later most of the architectural scars had healed but if you go looking you can still see the traces and I think Berlin is one of the most interesting cities in the world when it comes to contemporary history.

So here's to a peaceful, liberal, democratic Germany with all its crazy people and fun!




And please continue to let Italy beat you at football.
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Old October 3 2012, 01:48 PM   #2
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

Happy Unity Day to all of my German friends! I remember seeing the wall coming down on TV as a kid. I knew the Soviets were the "bad guys" but that was about it. I figured it must have been a big deal because everyone was partying and having a great time. Hard to believe this was over 20 years ago now!
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Old October 3 2012, 02:03 PM   #3
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

Germany committed the same error as Russia, it sold East German public assets too quickly which lead to massive corruption, West German industries wanting to crush potential competition in the East and so on.
The rule is simple, regulate before you privatize and in the current austerity climate in which the mantra is 'sell government assets to reduce public debt' it is as actual as it has been two decades ago.

My country would have been better off if it had decided to not merge so quickly and remain separated. I do like the holiday though.
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Old October 3 2012, 02:09 PM   #4
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

horatio83 wrote: View Post
My country would have been better off if it had decided to not merge so quickly and remain separated.
Anybody who's studied history and knows what the dynamics were like will tell you that that wasn't a realistic option. It's really naive to think that was even possible.

Then SPD candidate Lafontaine managed to lose an election that way even though he was right when he warned about policies like the 1:1 conversion of Ostmark to Deutsche Mark.

All things considered Germany handled this huge task admirably well even though the enormous costs threatened to ruin the German social security system which basically paid for re-unification.

There was no blueprint for how to handle such a situation and back then almost everybody underestimated the challenge. People didn't realize the bad shape the GDR's economy was in to the full extent. Productivity issues, environmental issues, technological issues...
It's no surprise that South Korea has asked Germany for advice recently.



Also, damn: You're so cheerful. Can't even celebrate for a day without complaining? Are you trying to fulfil an old German cliché?
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Old October 3 2012, 02:22 PM   #5
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

It is the old Stiglitz vs. Friedman issue which emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, Friedman thought that you just have to create free markets and everything else will solve itself whereas Stiglitz pointed out that you first gotta establish the rules and then privatize. Before Friedman died he admitted to Stiglitz that he was wrong.

I don't disagree with your analysis, the nationalist sentiments on both sides were too large and the right was too opportunistic. But the left was right, a slower unification would have been better.
This plus my lack of patriotism and, as you pointed out, the typical German grumpiness (you Mediterranean guys just know better how to enjoy life ) the reason I don't celebrate. A few years after the unification we had a pogrom in the East which was politically tolerated (police was slowed down) and the same opportunistic politicians used these sentiments to enforce tougher laws on political asylum.

This is why I have my problems with following the mood of the public. It is not merely not standing in the tradition of the Enlightenment but also leading to catastrophes. I rather want politicians who have the balls to not be populist and do the right thing even though it is unpopular.
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Old October 3 2012, 02:23 PM   #6
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

I remember where I was when I heard that the Wall came down. (It was the hippie restaurant.) It's one of those few major news events for me, like 9/11 and the Challenger (only a happier one).

Happy Unity Day!
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Old October 3 2012, 02:25 PM   #7
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

horatio83 wrote: View Post
It is the old Stiglitz vs. Friedman issue which emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, Friedman thought that you just have to create free markets and everything else will solve itself whereas Stiglitz pointed out that you first gotta establish the rules and the privatize.

I don't disagree, the nationalis sentiments on both sides were too large and the right was too opportunistic. But the left was right, a slower unification would have been better.
This plus my lack of patriotism and, as you pointed out, the typical grumpy German-ness is the reason I don't celebrate. A few years after the unification we had a pogrom in the East which was politically tolerated (slow down the police) and once again opportunistic politicians used these sentiments to enforce tougher laws on political asylum.

This is why I have my problems with following the mood of the public. It is not merely not standing in the tradition of the Enlightenment but also leading to catastrophes. I rather want politicians who have the balls to not be populist and do the right thing even though it is unpopular.
Yeah, but... this is a thread about celebrating an important day in modern German history, and from what I understand it's a generally happy occasion.

Why come in and be such a downer? It's like going into someone's thread about their birthday celebration and saying, "Yeah, but you'll be dead eventually. Think about that."
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Old October 3 2012, 02:29 PM   #8
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

@ Horatio: I understand that you're wary of patriotism. I am, too.

But the fall of a wall that separated people for decades is a reason to celebrate. So is the end of the Cold War. I'm trying not to overthink this.

I'm not going into "Happy Independence Day"-threads to point out all the horrible things Americans did either. Contextual awareness and a relaxed attitude go a long way.
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Old October 3 2012, 02:41 PM   #9
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

As you said Berlin is a great city, not a noble capital like Rome, London or Paris, it is dirty and has this lovely underdog flair ... and when you are there you nearly forget that the reunification also brought us horrors like Merkel.

Talking about horrors, great avatar.
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Old October 3 2012, 03:28 PM   #10
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

I was also still a child when the wall came down but due to my personal history it meant a lot to me and still does. Unfortunately, I slept through it because my father didn't wake me. However, I see it as the best thing that happened in my lifetime so far. I believe that the peaceful revolution of 1989 was the best thing us Germans did in recent history. To quote our current president, we should do that more often.

As for today, I just saw some snippets from this year's official celebration which takes place in Munich and there were tons of people in traditional costumes. Ah, Bavaria. It will affirm all the stereotypes people have about us.
As usual, I won't do anything special (somehow, I never get around to it) but I'm looking forward to watching Der Turm later on. I wanted to read the book for a while, anyway.
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Old October 3 2012, 03:48 PM   #11
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

Doesn't seem as a long as it actually since the TV pictures of the wall coming down were beamed around the world. A Day that Changed the World.
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Old October 3 2012, 03:49 PM   #12
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

Yeah, I'm always a little shocked about all those people born after that or after reunifictaion who are now adults. It makes me feel quite old.
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Old October 3 2012, 04:06 PM   #13
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

I remember the day the wall came down. It was a definite day for celebration.

Happy Unity Day!
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Old October 3 2012, 04:33 PM   #14
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

david hasselhoff claims it was all down to him
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Old October 3 2012, 05:11 PM   #15
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Re: Happy Unity Day!

{ Mitt Romney } wrote: View Post
So what did you do in 1989?

I was a very little kid and the fall of the Berlin Wall was the first news I actually followed because my parents were so interested in it (Well, doh... who wasn't?).

I didn't really understand most of it obviously but somehow I did get that the world had changed.
I was 11 when the Wall fell, and I distinctly remember the event. I was old enough to have absorbed the Cold War mentality, and the Iron Curtain running through Europe seemed the natural state of the world. So it was shocking, and weird, and exhilarating. I went to sleep that night without knowing what kind of world I would wake up in the morning. I don't think I've ever felt like that again in my life.

{ Mitt Romney } wrote: View Post
When I visited Berlin for the first time years later most of the architectural scars had healed but if you go looking you can still see the traces and I think Berlin is one of the most interesting cities in the world when it comes to contemporary history.
This is one of the reason I really want to visit Berlin some day. Funny how I keep saying that. I guess I should really do that instead of talking about it.

{ Mitt Romney } wrote: View Post
And please continue to let Italy beat you at football.
Yep. I'm our main source of pleasure.
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