“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Independence Day in the USA this week and the theme here on 4F1H is “Your thoughts about living in a free nation”
Okay, I have to admit, in my head, the 4th of July is connected with Mum’s friend’s birthday and when it comes to “Independence Day” I think of the movie, which btw, was produced and directed by a German. Don’t blame ‘us’ for the result, though.
This week’s topic is a bit of an iffy one. Have I lived or do I live in a free nation?
At the tender age of 16, my teacher took our class to former East Germany and it was quite an eye opener. In a scary way as well. The constant checking of the bus, the constant presence if the police and the “chosen” school students we were allowed to talk to. As I said, at 16 it was quite overwhelming, but having said that, two of my very best friends grew up in former East Germany and always tell me it wasn’t all that bad! They didn’t have chocolate, or magazines, or cars the way we had it, but life was still good. And hey, isn’t that the most important thing! Anyway, it made me appreciate my “free” life and our possibilities in the western part of Germany even more.
So back to the “free nation” bit. I grew up in West Germany and quite a few people aren’t aware of the fact, that West Germany wasn’t really a “free nation”. Wikipedia summed it up quite nicely:
The Federal Republic of Germany was established from eleven states formed in the three Allied Zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France (the “Western Zones”). Its population grown from roughly 51 million in 1950 to more than 63 million in 1990. The city of Bonn was its provisional capital city. The fourth Allied occupation zone (the East Zone, or Ostzone) was held by the Soviet Union. The parts of this zone lying east of the Oder-Neisse were in fact annexed by the Soviet Union and communist Poland; the remaining central part around Berlin became the communist German Democratic Republic (abbreviated GDR; in German Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR) with its de facto capital in East Berlin. As a result, West Germany had a territory about half the size of the interwar democratic Weimar Republic.
American soldiers were a constant sight on our streets in our town. Mum reckons it wasn’t that bad, but it kind of left a sour taste with me.
As for Australia? I’m not sure. Is Australia a free nation? After all, Australia still belongs to the Commonwealth and has Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. I wonder whether any of my Aussie friends can help me out here.
BUT … I truly can’t finish today’s post without mentioning “The Hoff”. Right? I mean, after all, doesn’t he symbolise the “Reunification of Germany”? A lot of people give Germans a hard time regarding this song. Okay, I don’t like it either and find “the Hoff” tacky. But, people in East Germany fought long and hard (and looked) “for freedom” and probably (this is really IMHO!) the song just stood for everything they felt during those weeks and months. So stop laughing and put yourself in their shoes!
“I’ve been looking for freedom…..” Eeek …. now I’ve got that song in my head!
Quick, tell me about your “Independence Day” and what you think of it.