On the evening of 9 November 1989, we were seated in front of the TV at Christine's place in the rue Rambuteau, watching the momentous events that were unfolding in Berlin. Christine's brother Lan had dropped in. Emmanuelle, 23, and François, 20, were also concerned by what was happening in Germany. Suddenly Lan took a few banknotes out of his wallet, turned to his nephew and said: "François, you shouldn't miss out on this. Here's some cash. Jump on a train to Berlin and join in the fun." My son didn't need any further coaxing. The following day, he was in Berlin, participating in the joyous wall-demolition party. His uncle's suggestion had given François an opportunity of sensing at close range the gusts of the great wind of change that had started to blow across Europe.
I follow the Moskva down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change
In Berlin, a few days ago, a symbolic wall composed of a thousand polytstyrene dominos was erected. This evening, Lech Walesa will initiate its fall by toppling the first domino.
Today, twenty years after the fall of the so-called Wall of Shame, it's funny to find that, while many former agents of Erich Honeker's grim Communist fortress are earning a living by selling their filmed comments to the media, other nostalgics—some 12% of the folk in the so-called "democratic republic"—consider that a replacement wall should be rebuilt.
It might be said that walls of all kinds (to keep some people in, and others out) are a sad symbol of humanity. One of the first walls in recorded history surrounded Jericho. Today, that same land is crossed by a new wall, which is bigger, longer and more ugly. We humans are essentially wall builders. So, it's a nice interlude when, at a rare moment in time, a wall gets knocked down.
WALL-BREAKING NEWS: Move aside, Gorbachev! Get back to your shipyard, Walesa! Cut your speech-making, Reagan! Return to your family, Bush Senior! Put your cello back in its case, Rostropovich! Make room for another illustrious wallbuster!
This amazing photographic evidence has just come to light revealing that France's Super Sarko played an instrumental role, twenty years ago, in breaking down the wall in Berlin. Let's face it, our dynamic and ubiquitous president has been almost everywhere and done nearly everything. If ever he were no longer there—constantly solving problems, taking care of humanity, and even wielding a hammer and chisel if the need arises—then the globe would surely grind to a halt.