the Berlin Wall
This year is flooded with documentaries on the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. Just two days before Armistice Day, this is the first year I have noticed the closeness of the dates. The Great War armistice and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles (now a film based on Margaret MacMillan's book) set up WWII; its ending shifted into the Cold War, which we now feel ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The opening of the east to the west has always been thought of as a great blow for freedom, but if this was the only result, there wouldn't be the rise of neo-Nazi parties in Europe and an increasing nostalgia for the old life in the Eastern Bloc, where everyone was employed – this keeps being mentioned in the revisitations to the territory of the old GDR especially.
Are wars really ever ended? or is war a constant that keeps shifting into new arenas and new forms. In On Site issue 22: WAR, we have two related articles: Açalya Allmer, a Turkish architect, discusses the dispersal of the actual Berlin Wall itself, leaving Germany on postcards, in pockets. The other article, by Markus Miessen, takes on the new borderless EU and the confusion of identity in the newest, most Eastern members. Walls on borders are the most literal expression of warring opposites. Does removing the wall, thus removing the border, remove difference? It seems not.