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Beyond the Wall: 1989 - 2009

special 20th anniversary of the end of Communism

On November 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall collapsed.
During the year of the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of Communism there is debate about the end of Communism in the Centre-European Countries: the causes, the timeline of the fall, the analyses of the events.

In particular
click here for Bulgaria
click here for Czechoslovakia
click here for East Germany
click here for Hungary
click here for Poland
Click here for Rumania

Testimony by George Soros tycoon and promoter of the "open society"

The Guardian's special feature on the Berlin Wall


Personal memory of Father Jerzy Popieluszko
I was in Warsaw when he was murdered, by Annalia Guglielmi


Exemplary figures of moral resistance
Biographies of the "dissidents"




15th February 1989, Afghanistan: the Red Army ends the withdrawal of the troops from the occupied territories.

March 1989, Russia: in Moscow, after the elections, birth of the People's Congress of Deputies, the democratic successor of the Supreme Soviet.

2nd May 1989, Hungary: the Hungarian reformist government opens the borders. It is the first breach in the Iron Curtain and the Hungarians let pass those who flee from Eastern Germany.
Hungary Special Report

4th June 1989, Poland: the first half-free elections are held. They lead to the triumph of Solidarnosc.
Poland Special Report

4th June 1989, China: a million students man Tiananmen Square.

11th September 1989, Bulgaria: a decree was passed which rehabilitates almost 1,000 victims of Stalinist terror. In November a vote of no confidence is passed and the socialdemocratic party, forbidden in 1947, legally reorganizes and resumes its activities.

9th October 1989, Germany: 70,000 people rally in Leipzig by shouting the slogan "we are the people" to the agents of the "people's police" drawn up to crush the uprising.
Press review for the anniversary: Germany recalls rallies that helped bring down Berlin Wall by Nancy Isenson in AFP/Reuters
The day I outflanked the Stasi, testimony by BBC diplomatic editor Brian Hanrahan in the BBC news

9th November 1989, Germany: dismantlement of the Berlin Wall.
DDR Special Report

16th November 1989, Czechoslovakia: a students demonstration in Bratislava starts the Velvet Revolution. Václav Havel, former dissident and founder of Charta '77, is elected President.

14th December 1989, Moscow: the funeral in honor of Andrej Sakharov, the great dissident become a deputy, turns into a bath of crowd. The new Constitution inspired by him enters into force.

16th December 1989, Romania: the demonstrations in Timisoara lead to a people's revolt against the Communist regime, and result into the death sentence to Ceausescu and the end of the dictatorship.




5,000 demonstrate in Prague
Prague marks Velvet Revolution

Palestinians and foreign peace activists break West Bank barrier:
Like the Berlin Wall


Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, the article for the Wall:
Communism and Tyranny still survive

New York Times special issue:
A fateful day and the East tasted Freedom

Berlin celebrates demise of Wall:
20 years later

The "NY Times" collects the readers' pictures:
Where Were You When the Wall Fell?

Wroclaw (Poland), 21st-23rd October 2010
International conference "The World towards Solidarity Movement"

Generation 1989, until 10th February 2010
Exchange project for European students born in the crucial year

Washington, until 31st January 2010
exhibition in Washington

Berlin, until 1st January 2010
Exhibition "Art of the two Germanys - Cold War Cultures" with artworks created on the two sides of the Wall.
read the exposition overview

Washington, until 10th December
Exhibition "Art: inside the gulag" with paintings of Ukrainan artist and former Gulag inmate Nikolai Getman
read the review

Berlin, 17th October - 30th November
Exhibition "Behind the Iron Curtain" on Socialist Realism organized for the 20th anniversary of the 1989 events.
visit the exhibition's site

Prague, until 23rd November
Exhibition "We didn't give up, stories of the Twentieth Century", an event devoted to those who took stance against totalitarianism: antiNazi and antiCommunist resistants, dissidents, camp survivors, 1989 demonstrators. Under the auspices of the Czech Prime Minister, organized by the Post Bellum association.
read the event presentation

Prague, 9th November
The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes publicizes lists of intelligence servicemen.
the lists

Berlin, 9th November
A large-scale performance with a symbolic fall of the Wall using a "domino effect" highlighted by the artworks of world painters and politicians. Concert with Daniel Baremboim in the presence of Dietrich Genscher, Michail Gorbatchev and Kofi Annan.
read the event description

Berlin, 31st October
Gorbachev, Kohl and Bush senior recall the Berlin Wall's fall in a theatre performance.
read the show review

Berlin, 30th October
Carl-Wolfgang Holzapfel gets back to the cell where the Stasi had locked him in the 60es and lets a webcam film him "to show the role the Resistance played in bringing down the Wall".
read the BBC report

Prague, Nostic Palace, 6th October, 9.30 p.m.
Conference "Twenty Years After: Central and Eastern European Communist Regimes As a Shared Legacy". Organized by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.
read the programme

Berlin, East Side Gallery, from June to November: Opening of the celebrations of the Wall's Collapse.
full Berlin calendar




by the editorial staff with the contribution of Annalia Guglielmi

4 November 2009

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Eastern Europe dissent

the truth against the lies of totalitarianism

The so called dissent in Eastern European communist regimes cannot be downplayed to a simple connotation of "opposition" as its definition would suggest, but must be viewed above all as the attempt to build a parallel polis based on every citizen's responsibility and aimed at occupying the spaces of cultural, social and human freedom wrought from the totalitarian regime into the social fabric.  The members of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakya and Solidarnosc in Poland, like Vaclav Havel, Radim Palous, Jacek Kuron, Adam Michnik, have always underlined that "the power of the powerless" consists in defeating fear through the strength created by coilectively assuming one's responsibilities, as proven by the exhortation to "live the truth" in a society based on lie. Their "dissent" has very often consisted in calling for the enforcement of the laws, such as the one about freedom of conscience, and the international accords subscribed by their countries, such as the Helsinki Accords
These stances have given rise to a broad movement which was able to condition the behaviour and mentality of the public opinion, up to the point in which - except in Romania - the totalitarian system was overturned in a peaceful way, without shedding blood, by a new leading class recognized by the majority of the population which is ready to take up the responsibility for public affairs.

Insight

The power of the powerless

Not only dissent - the "parallel polis" in Eastern Europe

Featured story

Ahmed Demir Dogan

the opponent who set up a legal organization in defence of the rights and freedom of Bulgarian Turks