“Ich bin ein Berliner” were the famous words from John Kennedy famous anticommunist speech made in 1963 stating in translation, “I am a Berliner! And which enamoured him to the German people as though he really were a beloved son of Germany.
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall were the other one liner uttered by Ronald Reagan in 1987 in support of the German peoples’ wish to reunify East and West Germany.
Mikhail Gorbachev’s turn in this Berlin Wall drama was to actually tear down the wall in 1989 which ultimately led to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. In bringing an end to the Cold War, Gorbachev was at one time celebrated as perhaps the most iconic leader of the 20th century equating him with Gandhi who technically brought down the British Empire without firing a bullet.
One week ago Gorbachev passed away, and what is worth noting is the fact that it was treated as a footnote to the news, not headline news. Putin not attending his funeral last Saturday made greater news than Gorbachev’s death. It shows in the battle between war and peace, war emerges tops in the ratings.
So while Putin said he was busy and couldn’t find the time to pay tribute to the great man, probably drawing up more plans to turn Ukraine into an inferno as of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the man who did the opposite and ended the cold war was led away in peace for burial. Leo Tolstoy might have turned in his own grave at this bit of irony he wrote off years ago.
Finally, to those who are leaders of banana republics and suffer from the Napoleon Complex and feel they’ll deny and defy death, here is a lesson for you to cram as if in school as life is a harsh education for those who never got it.
L. Siddhartha Orie