The Fall of the Wall on the 9th of November 1989 not only marked a special day for the re-united today Federal Republic of Germany: In fact it can be seen as a historical watershed in global politics as this event is seen as one of the cornerstones on the path to the end of the Cold War.
Recalling this memorable event the Ambassadors to Sri Lanka of France and Germany, respectively Mr Henry Lavertu and Mr Jörn Rohde, together with the Director of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies Dr. Harinda Vadanage invited to a panel session to share and exchange recollections and anecdotes on the event that took place exactly three decades ago.
The conference hall at BCIS was quickly filled with a notably high number of students who were also eagerly taking selfies in front of the building where a replica of the Berlin Wall was to be found. Obviously, the fascination of the event has barely decreased, even outside of Germany.
Thanks to the pictures presented by Ambassador Lavertu, who was posted to the
Embassy of France in Berlin at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and his vivid storytelling, all participants were granted a short journey through time.
Ambassador Rohde not only told some anecdotes from the days of the fall of the wall; rather, he spoke about his conclusions regarding this historic event: That on the one hand, committed people standing up for democratic interests are essential. On the other hand, sometimes the fortune of historical circumstances for a peaceful movement to achieve its goal is required.
The interest on the implications of the German re-unification was pointed out in particular. Ambassador Rohde especially underlined that in the aftermath of such an event, however, patience and time must also be invested so that the achievements can be established and people accept and internalise the new coexistence.
After an intriguing speech of Dr. Harinda Vadanage, in which he tried to relate the Fall of the Wall and its consequences with the contemporaneous events in Sri Lanka and to draw lessons from the process of German reunification for the current situation of Sri Lanka, the round was opened for discussion that again reflected the interest of the audience on the matter; for instance one student therewith alluded to the global rise of right-wing parties as the AfD in Germany, which is also particularly popular in former Eastern German states and questioned, if the re-unification process therefore can be seen as partly failed.
To conclude the event Brezel’s and Berliner (popular German pastry filled with jam) were served and left space for further conversations and networking among the audience and the dignitaries.