Glasnost and Perestroika were the introduction to many things. At first, it was only a matter of passing a course and hoping that somewhere in between that and living, I might stumble upon some meaning. I didn’t even highlight the terms in the handout. Then, to my utter amazement, I was called to explain what these words meant. So, I translated: Glasnost is openness and Perestroika is restructuring. They were Gorbachev’s policies that sought to liberalize and save a failing socialist market, yadida…Then my professor smiled. I was thisclose to being content when she all of a sudden asked, “Sure, that’s what the print says. But what does it mean to you?”
What does this mean to you?
I still can’t find enough answers for this. It’s a lot of things: The beginning of a new world order. The fall of communism in the West . The revival of liberal politics and freer markets. The destruction of a dividing wall. The reunification of families. The end of needless death by one’s own countryman.
Up until yesterday, I couldn’t articulate my thoughts on the fall of the Iron Curtain. The Cold War lives up to it’s name even in terms of generating interest. I was grateful for it because from it’s death international relations came to be and without this field, i wouldn’t know what to do with all this love I have for news and the way nations and individuals manage to create history!
But early this morning (during a rainy Berlin evening), I watched the wall fall once more after hearing various world leaders speak of freedom and it’s costs. I watched great men and women accept their mistakes–from Angela Merkel’s acceptance of the Holocaust to Gorbachev’s explanation of why, he, as the leader of the former Soviet Union, decided once and for all to concede to the fall.
I was deeply humbled. Once the dominoes were toppled, I began to cry and that’s when I understood how free I truly am.
I hope I never forget.
Here’s a little Rock Lobster for you. This was one of the songs that ushered in a new world.