The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is tomorrow, Nov. 9, and on cue the American left is hard at work distorting and lying about history, communism and, of course, walls. Particularly walls.
At New College of Florida, the Honors College for the Florida university system and a hotbed of far left ideas and activism, students have been building a replica of a segment of the Berlin Wall on campus. Today, they are taking sledgehammers to it — as was done 30 years ago. This seems like a perfect opportunity to talk about communism, dictatorships, and freedoms in the West.
After all, as Hope Harrison, George Washington University associate professor of history and international affairs, pointed out during the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: “The wall symbolized the lack of freedom under communism. It symbolized the Cold War and divide between the communist Soviet bloc and the western democratic, capitalist bloc.”
But that’s apparently not exactly the first thing it symbolizes for New College.
According to local media reports, “The project was organized by professor Lauren Hansen, who is currently teaching a course called The Berlin Wall in German Literature and Film. In January, Hansen led an independent study about the portrayal of the Berlin Wall in German literature, and the idea for the replica wall was created by her small group of students. While other universities have created replica walls in the past, New College students also reenacted historical speeches, presented film screenings, and held graffiti sessions and poster presentation sessions.”
So far, so good. But wait. “Creating the wall also turned into a timely project about national and international experiences of separating groups of people, cities and countries, notes Hansen.”
So this immediately equates American conservatives and President Trump who advocate securing our southern border for fundamental reasons of national sovereignty and safety of the American people with the East German communists who sought to imprison their people — when the history of American political movements actually puts the left directly in line with the communists. Ask Sen. Bernie Sanders who honeymooned in the Soviet Union.
Further, Hansen said of the wall replica: “It has become a place where students and faculty from the entire university can come to discuss borders and the divisiveness we encounter today in the U.S. and other parts of the world.”
This is the sleight of hand that has been going on for some time now, claiming all walls are bad — but really only meaning Trump’s border wall is bad. What is obvious to people who are not pants-on-fire hypocrites or astonishingly foolish and ignorant, is that different walls have different purposes.
No sane person argues that walls around prisons are bad for dividing murderers and rapists from the rest of the population. Wealthy leftists don’t argue that walls around their estates are bad for keeping out criminals, vandals and just sight-seers.
We have “walls” around movie theaters, sporting events, Disney World and so on. Why? To divide those who have legal status to be inside (via following the rules and paying for admission) from those who do not have legal status who must remain outside. Movie stars who take advantage of the arrangement, and have walls around their own mansions, still abhor a border wall as divisive and racist. Ditto for many athletes.
Germany was formally divided in 1949 and the wall went up in 1961. The East German communist party never had popular support, distrusted its citizens and ruled with an iron fist. Refugees left East Germany for economic and political reasons, causing a brain drain. In the intervening years, more than 3 million East Germans “voted with their feet” by moving to West Germany.
To equate that wall to our border wall would have meant the West Germans would have put up the Berlin Wall to keep the East Germans out. But it was the East Germans who did so, to stem the flow out of East Berlin. There’s a fundamental difference between a wall that locks people in like a prison wall and the Berlin Wall, and a wall that protects and establishes legal borders, such as movie theaters, sporting events, Disney and national borders.
The Berlin Wall was 12 feet tall, more than 100 miles long and doubled up in many areas to create a dead man’s zone in between of about 60 feet where guards shot and killed those trying to escape to the West. Nobody tried to escape to the East.
Just down the road from New College, is the Asolo Repertory Theater, where “The Sound of Music” is being reimagined. Guess how?
“I was inspired by this lesson in the script, and how you can’t hide behind walls,” said Josh Rhodes, director and choreographer. You see, the lead character in the Sound of Music used his wealth to try to hide behind “walls” and ignore the Nazi threat until the Anchluss made that impossible.
So Rhodes said he felt the time was right for the play’s “theme of fear” to take a prominent role. “There’s a certain harshness in our society right now,” he says, “and I think the play asks us to soften our hearts and be kind.”
This is hardly a crazy or terrible take — and in a different context could be applauded. But unfortunately it flows in line with the purposeful misrepresentation of walls as all of a kind. Walls bad. Berlin Wall bad. Walls in our heart bad. Walls between people bad. Trump wall bad.
Expect a lot of this wall treatment in the coming days.
Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act.
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