I watched Obama in Berlin and cried. It was not the speech but that wall of joyous faces and eager hands reaching for a touch from Obama that squeezed my heart and brought the tears. Here was a wall unlike any walls I have seen. A living wall of hopeful humanity was reaching to touch a hope, a possibility within them that was awakening. Obama was just a circuit connector that was sending their own energy and hope back to them.
Obama moved down the wall, reaching and connecting with as many hands he could find, and you could feel the energy grow and connect back with itself—something was alive, something was being released, and something was being awakened.
And then it hit me. Seventy years ago in 1938 the grandparents of the people in this wall of faces were reaching out to touch Hitler, probably on this very spot, and they too felt that something was alive and being awakened. But it was collective ego nationalism that was being born; it was an “I’m special” mentality that was being forged. Seventy years ago these hands were building a wall that would divide the family of man and bring millions to death and ruin.
But Obama talked about tearing down the walls and freeing man from the artificial boundaries of the mind that divides the family of man. It’s not the walls of brick but the wall of thought that divide us now, he said. How far these faces have come, these Berlin faces that hoped for a world without walls. We have to experience the suffering walls create before we can tear them down. Walls have a purpose when they make us see beyond. And Berlin has seen both sides of the wall.
And so Obama comes with a wrecking ball and a truck full of hammers. “Come on world,” he says, “let’s tear down these walls. Now is our moment.”
Posted under current events
This post was written by ed on July 25, 2008