Statement from the Foreign Secretary: Berlin Wall Anniversary Watch

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Andrew97
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Statement from the Foreign Secretary: Berlin Wall Anniversary
Mr Speaker, with your permission I would like to make a statement on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It was 30 years today that Günter Schabowski announced that the complete restriction on travel from the German Democratic Republic to the Federal Republic of Germany would come to an end. Of course, the immediate and unconditional opening of the frontier was not what he meant, but the rest is history.

We should first pause to remember the 140 people known to have lost their lives attempting to flee the totalitarian GDR for the West, in particular Chris Gueffroy, who was the last person to be murdered by the East German state whilst attempting to cross – he was shot on 5th February 1989 – and Winfried Freudenberg, who was the last person to lose their life attempting to cross the border, on 8th March 1989. The Leader of the Opposition may mock me when I talk of protecting Western liberalism, but today we remember that only 30 years ago, people risked death trying to escape from East to West.

We can debate below whether the fall of the Berlin Wall precipitated the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, or whether it was the slow fall of communism that precipitated the fall of the Berlin Wall. Regardless, today marks 30 years since the road to a Europe united and working in harmony, East and West, was re-opened. As people woke up on the morning of 9th November 1989, the idea of a European Union stretching from Ireland to Bulgaria and from Portugal to Estonia was for the birds. Today it is the normal state of affairs, and the right attack that at their peril. We might not want to apply the 1989/90 slogan 'Wir sind ein Volk' – We are one people – to the EU, but Europeans can at least work together without threatening each other with nuclear war.

Finally, Mr Speaker, we should pay tribute to the great resilience of the German people. Those already living in the FRG have managed to absorb a completely dysfunctional economy whilst preserving an excellent standard of living, mostly high wages, and good standards of social welfare. Those who lived in the GDR have had to undergo an enormous social and economic upheaval, in which many of the industries in which they worked became unviable more or less overnight. The tradition for historical introspection will mean that Germany is probably the only country where the media coverage of the anniversary will be less than positive, though this is not fair. I recognise that many things have happened in German history on 9th November, including some of the nation's darkest ever days, but 9th November 1989 is a day that every German can be proud of.
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Connor27
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Mr Speaker,

I echo the sentiments of the Secretary of State in stating that the fall of the Berlin Wall was a triumph for Germany in that it destroyed the evil East German regime.

Will the Secretary join me, in extending the spirit of this statement to condemn the brutal and totalitarian ideology of communism in all of its deathly forms, which permeated the existence of the Berlin Wall and the East German regime?

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Rakas21
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Mr Speaker, I commend the statement and the success of the German economy.
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LiberOfLondon
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Aye. I commend this statement and second the Rt Hon Connor27's thoughts regarding the condemnation of communism - an ideology which has contributed to the most deaths of any ideology ever.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Connor27)
Will the Secretary join me, in extending the spirit of this statement to condemn the brutal and totalitarian ideology of communism in all of its deathly forms, which permeated the existence of the Berlin Wall and the East German regime?
Not this again...

I will join him in condemning Soviet communism though, for sure, of which the GDR was a particularly brutal example almost until its demise.
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Jammy Duel
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Meanwhile there are those in the government that desire the rise of the systems in GDR and the Warsaw Pact as a whole not just in those regions but world wide, including the UK.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Meanwhile there are those in the government that desire the rise of the systems in GDR and the Warsaw Pact as a whole not just in those regions but world wide, including the UK.
That would be news to me...
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Baron of Sealand
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The fall of the Berlin Wall is definitely something to celebrate and commemorate. It gives oppressed peoples everywhere that dictatorial regimes can and do collapse in the end.
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barnetlad
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I join in this commemoration. I was at the 25th anniversary in Berlin. One unintended outcome is the Memorial near Potsdamer Platz to the murdered Jews of Europe. It was there that I found out that I have ancestors who were Holocaust victims.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
That would be news to me...
There are no socialists in the government? That's news to me.
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
There are no socialists in the government? That's news to me.
No disciples of Erich Honecker to my knowledge...
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CatusStarbright
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A lovely statement, and I support its sentiments.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
No disciples of Erich Honecker to my knowledge...
You say that as if the GDR is unique in oppression, despite it being a common factor in socialist states, from Cuba to Venezuela. The GDR is not alone in having its citizens desiring to flee en masse due to the socialist ideas leading to ruin; it is not alone in using violence to keep those who speak out and desire change in line
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Connor27
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
You say that as if the GDR is unique in oppression, despite it being a common factor in socialist states, from Cuba to Venezuela. The GDR is not alone in having its citizens desiring to flee en masse due to the socialist ideas leading to ruin; it is not alone in using violence to keep those who speak out and desire change in line
Hear, hear! Couldn’t have put it better myself
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LiberOfLondon
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
You say that as if the GDR is unique in oppression, despite it being a common factor in socialist states, from Cuba to Venezuela. The GDR is not alone in having its citizens desiring to flee en masse due to the socialist ideas leading to ruin; it is not alone in using violence to keep those who speak out and desire change in line
ThAt WaSn'T ReAl SoCiAlIsm
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
You say that as if the GDR is unique in oppression, despite it being a common factor in socialist states, from Cuba to Venezuela. The GDR is not alone in having its citizens desiring to flee en masse due to the socialist ideas leading to ruin; it is not alone in using violence to keep those who speak out and desire change in line
(Original post by Connor27)
Hear, hear! Couldn’t have put it better myself
OK, you clearly don't get what this statement is about then...
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
OK, you clearly don't get what this statement is about then...
You have clearly forgotten the content of your own statement, you say "We should first pause to remember the 140 people known to have lost their lives attempting to flee the totalitarian GDR for the West" and "but today we remember that only 30 years ago, people risked death trying to escape from East to West." and it was pointed out to you that members of the government desire to see a return of the ideology that caused them to attempt to flee.

Of course it should come as no surprise that the youth of today desire a return given how oblivious so many appear to be to the consequences
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
You have clearly forgotten the content of your own statement, you say "We should first pause to remember the 140 people known to have lost their lives attempting to flee the totalitarian GDR for the West" and "but today we remember that only 30 years ago, people risked death trying to escape from East to West." and it was pointed out to you that members of the government desire to see a return of the ideology that caused them to attempt to flee.

Of course it should come as no surprise that the youth of today desire a return given how oblivious so many appear to be to the consequences
As I say, nobody in this government wants to see a return to GDR-Soviet communism or any ideology that supports walling in its citizens.
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CatusStarbright
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Debate on this statement has concluded.
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