Posts Tagged ‘Berlin Wall’

Daniel Henninger’s Indefensible Propaganda

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Murdered Breaking OUT

One might believe that an editor at the Wall Street Journal should have the first clue regarding the subject on which he’s writing, but I suppose it’s too much to ask that publication to take the time to restrain such claptrap. Outlets rabidly favoring open borders don’t seem to bother with such considerations while there’s propaganda to be spread.  In an article that should make its author a laughing stock, Daniel Henninger makes an easily-refuted claim that’s not even an original proposition: He thinks a fence on our border would resemble the wall that had separated East and West, from its ground-breaking in 1961 until its demolition begun in 1989 by East Germans who refused to be caged any longer.  It’s fair to say that I must have an advantage over Henninger, because I actually saw the wall from both sides as a young man. Apart from the fact that both are physical barriers, they are entirely different in character and purpose.  He thinks a border fence would constitute a national embarrassment, but I choose to reserve that description for his obvious lack of contextual reckoning.

Serving in the Army as I did in the 1980s, particularly in Germany for the final half-decade of the wall’s existence, I had more than a few occasions to see the wall and fences, and in one instance, pass beyond it on an official tour to see it from the East.  That tour, and the other instances told me all I needed to know about evil in the world: It is real, it is unyielding, and it throttles the lives of people who must live under its oppressive bonds.  We soldiers who embarked on that tour in 1986 crossed through Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, in our Class A uniforms and under official orders in a bus.  We had an official tour-guide, a propagandist of the Soviet Bloc’s military, who directed our attention to the state-sanctioned “highlights” along our tour’s course.  We hadn’t been in East German territory long when somebody whispered “look back.”  A number of us swiveled our heads around, gawking at what laid behind us.  From the West, things had appeared relatively neat and orderly, but as we moved Eastward into that sector of Berlin, looking West, we could see the shell damage that was still quite evident on the East faces of buildings and bridges that had not been repaired since WWII.  In fact, most of what could be seen from the West side of the wall was a facade patched together to conceal the truly deplorable conditions in the East.  Where West Berlin’s buildings had been restored, apart from a few war-damaged landmarks intentionally left as memorials with their battle scars, East Berlin was like a row of dilapidated headstones decorated in front with artificial flowers.

They stopped us at an open-air market to let us get off the bus to “shop.”  If you have seen the shelves at a grocery store in the hours just before a hurricane is expected to sweep through, you will be stunned to know that such are bountiful compared to what we saw.  We were shown only the very best they had to offer.  It would have been laughable had it not been for the grim realization that this “market” was better than what 95% of East Berlin residents would ever see under Soviet rule,  devoid of almost anything of value apart from some shoddily-made trinkets, interesting only to souvenir buyers.  Of course, this was the official “show tour,” but even on other tours along the border frontier,  the horrors of the meaning of the wall had never been clearer in my twenty-something mind.  Machine-gun nests laid out and manned for the purposes of preventing their own citizens from escaping were the most cruelly dehumanizing thing I had seen to date.

Daniel Henninger pretends that a security fence along our Southern border would be impractical or even impossible, but also that it would serve as a similar blight on the landscape of humanity.  Does he feel the same way about the fence around his back yard, or about the fence around the White House?  You see, the proper analogy to the Berlin wall wouldn’t be if we construct a fence along the border, but instead if the Mexican government were to erect one to hold their own people in at gunpoint.  A border fence constructed by the US along its Southern border serves its own citizens by keeping others out.  The wall that separated the East from the West was intended solely to keep the Soviet Bloc’s people in bondage. Hundreds were murdered or maimed while trying to escape.  As a Texas resident of more than two decades, I have yet to read a single report of Americans being shot in the back by the US border patrol while attempting to break out of the US into that bastion of harmonious prosperity named “Mexico.”

Anybody who cannot see the moral distinction between the two, and thus the philosophically opposite motives between their construction ought not to write for a major publication.  Never mind what we can learn from the fact that such a publication actually printed it, the real national embarrassment is that the Wall Street Journal employs a writer so thoroughly removed from reality.  I feel pity for Mr. Henninger, so hopelessly bound by his open-borders dogma that he feels compelled to write propaganda on behalf of a bankrupt idea.  It’s only possible for such an argument to carry weight among an ignorant populace, but thanks to the passage of time, and indeed to people like Mr. Henninger, there is greater opportunity for such farcical notions to take hold.  There is no real comparison between the two structures, either in intent or moral underpinnings, and it is a despicable day indeed when the Wall Street Journal is reduced to a slack-jawed propagandist so intent on political victory that it is now willing to lie both about the past and the future.  The alleged guardians of the Republic that comprise the fourth estate aren’t so much protecting the truth as shoveling dirt – or something – in its face.

I saw the Berlin Wall.  I saw the whole miserable stretch of it complete with towers and machine-gun nests.  I saw what they did to East Germans and Czechs who tried to flee.  Daniel Henninger, had he any scruples, would be mortally ashamed of himself.

Editor’s Note: The image used for this article is of 18-yo Peter Fechter, a bricklayer murdered by East German border guards on August 17th, 1962. He was the first among hundreds to be shot in the back while trying to flee to the West.

 

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The Return of the Wall

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Soviet Union Part Deux

After witnessing the fall of the Berlin Wall, and indeed, the collapse of the entire border frontier between East and West firsthand near the end of my military service, I thought those days marked the final death-knell of communism around the world.  In more than two decades since those days of hope, as it seemed the globe might begin to abandon the plots and schemes of the central planners, what I witnessed is that rather than take the hard-learned lessons forward with us from then until now, we’ve forgotten them.  Discredited and defeated, communism should have been dead, but it’s not gone away after all.  In the last several years, it has made a resurgence, as the generational memories of the terror it brought upon the globe fade, and younger generations fall prey to the song of the socialist sirens.  With communism and its more socially acceptable forms, “socialism” and “progressivism” making a comeback, it should be a surprise to read that the French Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, announces in spittle-laden bellicosity that the rich fleeing France for Belgium to escape the high taxes should be considered less than patriotic.  Reading the translation of his remarks, one can only wonder how long it will be before France, like the Soviet Union before it, erects walls to prevent its most successful people, or even people seeking simple freedom from leaving.

When one reads of remarks like this, when armed with even a modicum of historical understanding, one must recognize the frightening threat of a return to the darkest days our world has yet known.  How far from Prime Minister Ayrault’s thinking are the gulags and concentration camps?  Certainly, he’s not proposed such a thing…yet.  Still, in the manner of his speaking, one can see the manifestation of the same old demons being raised up, under the same old guise, and with the same ugly motive. Perhaps worst of all, in castigating those wealthy people leaving France, among them notably the famed French actor Gerard Dépardieu, Ayrault’s accusation is that the wealthy who flee are suffering from a lack of generosity.  This is quite obviously a sick attempt at reversing the guilt onto the innocent, but it’s no surprise from a government now headed by President Francois Hollande, who declared infamously that he didn’t “like the rich.”  The reeking pomposity of socialist dictators-in-waiting has never known more hypocrisy.

In our own country, Barack Obama is continuing that same trend, and the long-time leftist slogan “Eat the Rich” seems near to being implemented in full.  At the rate things are progressing toward a complete worker’s paradise here in the United States, it’s only a matter of time before he decides we need a border fence after all, not to keep illegals out, but to make sure that none may leave. As the Europeans continue to build their coming continental concentration camp, from which only the powerful like Hollande and Ayrault will be afforded the chance to flee, Obama is building another right here, and he’s feeding the lap-dog press the same deceptive and hypocritical banter about the rich, as his family enjoys a multi-million dollar holiday in the state of his [alleged] birth. (Like most Marxists, I suspect he was actually hatched.)

How long will it be before we see the return of the barbed wire and fortifications, complete with machine gun nests, not to defend a country, but to keep its enslaved people from leaving?  With the spreading, grotesque mindset of communism once again spreading like black mold on a too-long neglected basement wall, it seems history is poised to once again repeat itself, because while a people may learn a given lesson by living it, they do a poor job of conveying those lessons to their children.  Worse, they pay for their children to be indoctrinated by the very mindset they overcame, and more is the pity and travesty that the education establishment will  have served not as the instrument of our protection, but the weapon by which the communist sappers undermined our cultural and intellectual fortifications.

You might have come to think it is an exaggeration to suggest that those now in power in France could build a wall, but one ought to consider the words of some of their politicians, as quote in the Telegraph:

“Socialist MP Yann Galut called for the actor to be “stripped of his nationality” if he failed to pay his dues in his mother country, saying the law should be changed to enable such a punishment.”

The idea that a politician is seeking to punish people in this way is not a novelty, but it isn’t lost on most conservatives that the underlying meaning is purely tyrannical.  Meanwhile, another government official had this to say:

“Benoît Hamon, the consumption minister, said the move amounted to giving France “the finger” and was “anti-patriotic”.”

Setting aside the fact of this man’s preposterous title, one must wonder at the sheer idiocy of a country that revels in revolution but cannot rise even to defend its own borders.  Being partly of French heritage, I can’t but imagine that my ancestors who came to North America sought the freedoms their countrymen now forsake, and I am mightily grateful that they saw fit to do so, but I am simultaneously disgusted at the fact that so many of their descendants now seem willing to forsake liberty here.  Communism isn’t dead after all, but tempting us to believe it permitted them to make inroads, and I don’t know if they can be stopped.

With darkness and depression enveloping the globe, it is time to remember the wall between East and West, because we may yet see its resurrection on a global scale.  It’s also time to reconsider whether we should have let so much of the wall be destroyed.  Demolishing it meant that the visible scar upon the face of civilization has been removed, and while the wall itself may have gone for a time, the mindset that had built it now thrives around the globe.  If we are to dismantle communism again, it must not be its mere instruments that we remove, but its entire philosophical base. It must be placed and kept on ice like a virus stored as a hedge against the need to redevelop new vaccines in case of a new outbreak.