Monday, November 9, 2009

20 years ago today

20 years ago today the Berlin Wall came down. This was the first step in the liberation of the 19 million people living in Soviet occupied Germany.

1989 was such a year of global change. I remember the CBC radio breaking into programming on a regular basis to report on some major event. The list of events is quite astounding as I look back on it:

  • January 18th - Solidarity is made legal again in Poland
  • February 14th - Fatwah against Salman Rushdie
  • February 15th - Soviet Union ends involvement in Afghanistan
  • February 24th - Estonian flag raised on Pikk Hermann for the first time in 44 years
  • March 24th - Exxon Valdez oil spill
  • June 4th - partially free elections in Poland
  • June 5th - Tienanmen Square massacre
  • September 10th - Hungary opens border to the west
  • October 17th - Loma Prieta earthquake - living in this region means earthquakes not so far away register high in importance for me.
  • October 23rd - Hungarian Republic refounded
  • November 9th - Berlin Wall fell
  • November 10th - Communist rule ends in Bulgaria
  • November 12th - Democracy returns to Brazil after 29 years
  • November 16th - FW de Klerk announces the end the Separate Amenities Act, the core of Apartheid
  • November 17th to 28th - Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia
  • December 6th - Montreal Massacre
  • December 10th - End of communism in Mongolia
  • December 14th - Democracy returns to Chile after a 16 year brutal military dictatorship
  • December 17th - 22nd - End of communism in Romania
This continues to flow into 1990 with free elections in South Africa and Nicaragua, Namibian independence, the unification of Germany and of Yemen, the end of the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The one year from June 1st 1989 to May 31st 1990 was a year without parallel in generations. During the fall of 1989 it was as if there was a major global event each and every week or more often.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you are bang on in terms of the historical significance of 1989. A generation of history within one year. Will never forget that year!

I remember it akin to this:

1. It took 10 years for Poland to fall;

2. It took 10 months for Hungary to fall;

3. It took 10 weeks for the GDR to fall;

4. It took 10 days for Czechoslovakia to fall;

5. And it took 10 hours for Romania to fall;

And it all happened during 1989.