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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Twenty Years After

I remember it relatively well even though I was just a pimply-faced kid not too far removed from high school. My educational pursuits were on an eighties slow-burn template, and factory work was the popular thing to be into. Or maybe it was simply the opportunity to own up to the popular phrase "get a job". Of course, my high school buddies worked there too, and assembly line culture had it's moments despite the fact that I wasn't really cognizant of Solidarity. Despite this working class foray, I had a mild interest in socio-political events. TV, print-news, and radio were the media trifecta influence at the time, and I remember a lot of presidential speeches and video clips from abroad. I can vaguely remember a number of feeble attempts to make connections between faith and politics… though I wasn’t well versed in one or the other (due to my biased analysis of political "de-volution" in a divided USA).

Perhaps my understanding of the event was influenced more by a declaration for new forms of protest music and twenty-something selfish independence, rather than a willingness to understand the particulars of a foreign culture. One doesn’t have to look too far back. Do you remember the aggressive reactions in the mid to late 1980’s? The glorification of post-punk / culture in direct reaction to the Reagan administration?

Today, we all recognize how profound this event has become…. how much We- as a collective society- have learned from it. Considered one of the most important events of modern history, November 9th marks the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I’m certain there will be many new informative- "intelligentsia" media reports in the next few weeks. If you find one inspiring please share it!

Against the Grain
Not surprising, our prolific Ratzinger Fan Club quickly responds with some interesting links. A cool site.. no doubt.

Pope John Paul II Encyclical Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Year-Chapter 2)

Russell Shaw (OSV): Pope John Paul II and the toppling of the Berlin Wall
A wonderful in-depth discussion on the events leading up to the Berlin Wall collaspe. Unfortunately, this article is not available online at this time. Shaw's premise resonates with many because he provides a more holistic view of the complexities of Europe and the Soviet Union in the late eighties, and suggests that too little emphasis has been placed on the influence of religious culture at the time...particularly in Poland. "It would an exercise in religious triumphalism to say, or to even imply, that the events of late 1989 had exclusively spiritual causes. But it would be triumphalism of a secularist variety to deny or ignore their spiritual roots and cite only political, economical, and military explanations."

The Beatles Rocked the Kremlin (Aired on PBS, November 9th)
On a related note, I came across this unique and presumptuous (in a good-humored way) documentary on public television coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of the Berlin Wall. According to award winning film director Leslie Woodhead, Beatle-Mania was ablaze in the former Soviet-Union and the forbidden music was ultimately responsible for Communism’s collapse. But don’t take his word for it. Listen in carefully to a hilarious "cast of character" interviews including Beatle fanatics, rock critics, musicians, and even Russian deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov. Learn more about Beatle mythology. Who knew the Beatles performed an impromptu live set at a undisclosed Russian airport prior to their official concert stop in Japan? Not me. Who knew that John Lennon was sighted on the streets of Moscow? Not you either. It’s all here....all stylized in a way to counter the propaganda of their time.

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