The Wall. It was April 1968. I was nine years old. The Wall was seven. I just arrived to Berlin with my parents. I was deeply impressed with what I saw. Houses with doors and windows walled in, telling the story of families that lived there and had to fly suddenly or stay and get trapped in the communist part of the city. High concrete walls dark and sad. And in some point a few flowers marking the place where somebody trying to escape had died. It was raining.
It was before the wall covered the whole border, because I remember the Brandemburg gate without it, but plenty of “Achtung” “Danger” and “Stop” signs, iron and barbed wire made fences and a lot of soldiers. It was also before the graffiti that later covered the Wall.
The “L” of Liberty. I was thirty when the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989. Already a journalist I followed the news from my city in Spain. All was hope then. The people toppled the ominous Wall. Two years after that, from Berlin came to my city a gift. A piece of the Wall with graffiti and all, shaped as an “L”. The L of Liberty. What was a symbol of oppression became a symbol of liberty that now is in a park.
Bethlehem. It is 2013 I’m already 53 years old and I didn’t fulfill one of my dreams, visit Bethlehem, the town when Jesus my Lord was born. I hope I’ll do it soon. Now on the road to Bethlehem there is another Wall. Again concrete, barbed wire and graffiti. They told me that near the city there is a graffiti stating “Ich bin ein Berliner” the words president Kennedy said when he visited Berlin. This time the Wall is not to prevent the people from the other side to fly from the communists to the occidental side, but to prevent the Palestinians to go from the West Bank to Israel or areas controlled by Israelis without being checked many times. Anyway, another Wall as many others we humans build up between us to separate us from each other.
I would like to see in my life time this Wall falling down as the one in Berlin. That would mean peace in the Middle East, something so far away, so complicated and so much-needed now.