It has now been twenty years since the wall came down. There is no doubt that the building of the wall was a crime. However during the anniversary festivities some facts seem to have been forgotten.

I find it strange that the two political systems of socialism and capitalism and their effectivenes are most often compared by these two Germanies, the DDR and the DBR. Even though both nations were initially german and much in the same situation right after the second world war, their situation evolved rapidly to different directions, that were not so much a result of the political system as the result of their allies.

Western Germany was supported by USA, the only real victor in WWII. USA was the one country that had waged war only outside its borders. The economy of USA had actually increased during the war. Eastern Germany was in the control of Soviet Union that had suffered terribly in the war. The russians found it wery hard to forgive the german invasion to the Soviet territory and the millions of victims the war that germans had initiated had cost to the Soviet Union. Further more, the war had obliterated most Soviet industry. They had wery little to give in support of the new German country that they mostly saw as conquered land. A sort of payback to the germans.

The main goal of the German division to all the allied countries was however to stop Germany from becoming a threat in Europe again. The lesson of once beaten Germany rising again had been well learned, since Germany was the cause of both world wars.

In my opinion if the two political systems are to be compared, the comparison should take into account other pairs of countries, often in even more similar situation. For example compare China and India.  Both of these were liberated from foreingn control in the aftermath of the world war. China still a communist country, that is the only country in the world that has actually managed to reduce population growth by legistlation. This achievement is only possible in one party country and would seem to be one of the major causes for economic growth of wealth. Both countries have had rapid economic growth, and both have great social problems. Neither has true liberty of speach. In China the press is controlled by the state and in India by the wery rich media moguls (as is the case in most western countries, unless a series of socialist governments has created a newsnetwork with tax funding).

Now compare two Latin American countries. You may choose any other while the other one is Cuba. I choose El Salvador by the simple reason that it has been the sole most important reciever of US development support. Cuba has the lowest rate of infant mortality in all of Americas excluding Canada. In same group it also has greatest prosentige of read and write skills among its population. As the only American country poor little Cuba, that has been in commercial embargo since the sixties, has free university studies and medical care for the whole population. While El Salvador has pfff…

Of course we should compare also North Korea and South Korea. While the other has a military dictartoship and its people are suffering, in the other country  people are building their own future. Exactly the same goes for yet one more pair of countries: Vietnam and Burma (or Myanmar if you wish). Why is it that the political system does not explain why in one country has dictatorship and the other has not?

In what ways do you think Russia has changed during these twenty or so years since the Soviet Union broke down? There are more Mercede’s on Moscow streets and less Volgas? In world politics Russia seems to play rather similar role as the Soviet Union did (with less power though).

On eastern side the Berlin wall was an expression of depraved freedom with all that razorwire. It tempted young adventurous men to challenge it, by crossing into freedom. Into western Berlin. Did they risk their lives for the liberty of speech? Most will propably say so, if asked afterwards, but what was it that they said freely in the west? How many of them actually used their freedom of speech? Or where they only motivated by the consumer products of the west? Maybe some of them even travelled to foreing countries after crossing the wall.

On western side the Berlin wall was an expression of freedom. It was freely  painted with spraypaints full of graffities. If the wall had been a fence around a great West German industrial compound, the freedom to paint it would not have been as liberal. Why did so many try to cross the border between the two Germanies at the wall where it was the most difficult?

Newer the less, we should learn from the Berlin wall, that people value freedom abowe all. That freedom does not only mean the freedom of the rich to extort the poor, but all freedom. Not only the freedom of the western people, but also the freedom of people in Asia, Africa and all the Americas. Their freedom to live their lives as they choose. Nor should we forget that with freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility of the rich and strong for the poor and weak. This responsibility could also be called socialism.