Learning by stories

The story…

Juta’s story
Juta goes through memory, back to the Berlin divided by the wall, relives the day the wall came down. This is her story, one of the testimonies collected in Berlin during the video interview workshop in the first meeting of the MAE project. MAE Project
34 years later in Europe, how many more walls to come down?

On 9 November 1989, tens of thousands of East Berliners reached the crossing points of the Wall after hearing on the radio or television a press conference by a leading Communist Party official announcing new rules, effective immediately, for crossing into West Berlin.

These words were enough for the East Berliners to head for the wall that divided the city in two.

Juta makes us relive that day and those feelings well.

A great daze, great confusion, uncontrollable crowds, great joy and lots of phone calls.

Once the wall was opened, streams of people crossed that border, the ‘wall of shame’, as it was christened.

That day the wall came down, and in the collective imagination 9 November remained the date to remember: on that day one of the worst symbols of the Cold War had collapsed.

No day seemed better than this, a new era was beginning and the world was being transformed.

34 years ago, the geopolitical interests of the great powers divided the world, a country, people.

Those who lived in Berlin saw the wall rise and fall, and European memory preserves these two moments.

The memories of this day are still alive in those who lived through it, and have sown and sprouted premises of different worlds.

Once again, this pattern seems to be repeating itself.

Today, in Europe, war is being played out.

Armed conflicts rage in the continent’s spaces, and along its territories, borders and migratory phenomena continue to generate pain and victims.

I am 32 years old and in the last ten years I have seen hundreds of new walls come up.

Barriers that separated and became harsh borders, from my perspective as a white western woman with a passport in hand I continue to observe the life that is destined for those born on the wrong side of the world.

Walls that at first were barely visible over time have become increasingly clearer, and without any shame or scruple, Europe has shown its most hostile side, has closed its borders and become a fortress.

With an interminable conflict involving Ukraine and Russia, and the thousands of victims that have been growing since October 7th in Palestine, from the recent events involving Italy’s migration policies with third countries, not to mention the conditions of migrant people in our country.

So, in thinking about November 9, 1989 and listening to Juta’s words, I secretly harbor the desire to be able to witness the day when the walls of our present will collapse.

I imagine one of those days, knowing full well that building it is difficult and takes time and effort.

I look at a photo taken many years ago in Berlin, two people walking with an “any” piece of the wall behind them.

The wall is almost unrecognizable, it fades into the background, it is almost no longer there, the scene is entirely in the hands of these two people, together, walking.

Hand in hand?

How many attempts did Juta and many others make in their history to climb over the wall, to scratch it, to pass through it?

To walk again, free, together with those she loved?

Well, we are exactly here, like them, trying to create cracks in the walls that surround us.

Waiting to walk, us too together.