The Wall’s Legacy

The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall unleashed many recollections, tributes, promises. It was an occasion to remember human rights and those who still can’t live under them. Several heads of state had choice words while many columnists and pundits had theirs. Of all that was said the words of Sen. John McCain in a Financial Times’ article captured the significance in a particularly pithy way, and to my mind at least placed its importance in a forward context that may perhaps foretell the Wall’s legacy. “The fall of the Berlin Wall made history, but that history was made by countless men and women over many decades who longed for a world in which their rights would be protected too. Those impatient dreamers are still out there today, in Iran and Cuba, Zimbabwe and Burma and beyond. States like these, hostile to human dignity, may look stable, but they are actually roting inside—for they have only fear and force to sustain them, and people will not be afraid forever.”