PUBLISHER’S WORD. The Wall

It‘s a true coincidence that I sat down to write the Publisher‘s Word for this year’s last issue of the magazine namely on 9 November.

Thirty years have passed since the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. The world celebrated this anniversary remembering all the smallest details of the great breakthrough, as well as the dead and living heroes, who spent more than five decades tirelessly fighting the monster of the Cold War, which divided the city and the world into the East and the West, separating families, the nation, culture and dreams. The press was loaded with stories of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I gave in to the mood and, not yet being fully aware of the final form that this text would take, typed ‘The Wall’ in a new window.

I saw it before the fall. We went on a tour trip, led by watchful guides. Back in the day, even a trip to East Germany from Lithuania was a huge thing.

But I had already visited East and West Germany, Spain, Finland, France and even Mauritania. Their seaports, to be exact. I got there by trade and fishing vessels. Being a journalist, writing articles and creating radio and TV programmes on maritime topics, I used to be sent to get to know the daily life of seamen and tell that to the readers, listeners and TV viewers. Based on the regulations of the time, only someone with a seaman’s book could go to the sea. Mine featured the positions of both a barmaid and second navigator.

None of the Soviet seamen of all ranks, except for the captain, could walk on foreign land alone – they always had to stay in groups of three. One of the three was usually someone loyal to the KGB (security services of the time), who, most likely, used to report on the other two. This was a way to control the seamen‘s excursions, behaviour and, most importantly, to prevent any attempts to escape the socialist camp. I was warned that I shouldn’t even think about it. The control became even tighter, when one journalist managed to leave the other two of her friends and ask for a political asylum in Canada. Although once in Spain I had escaped to take a walk in the mountains alone and was strictly scolded, the thought of running away had really not crossed my mind. I had one, then two and then three kids waiting for me at home and no capitalist paradise was more valuable than them.

The multiple falls of the physical iron curtain, that perhaps could not be witnessed by the majority of my countrymen, played an important role – they destroyed the wall in the mind, opening an opportunity for comparisons, knowledge, dreams and hopes that things could be different.

‘History teaches us: no wall that keeps people out and restricts freedom is so high or so wide that it can‘t be broken down.’ said Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, the untiring fighter for Europe’s unity, who grew up in East Berlin.

Describing the events of 1989, David Sassioli, President of the European Parliament, said that what happened that night was an expression of the determination of a million of Europeans from East and West, an actual moment, when you can literally see the fast-changing life.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War was supposed to make a radical change in the world. People believed that the end of the Cold War would mark the beginning of the era of peace. But the euphoria and hope turned out to be false and the vision of universal peace started fading away.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, world leaders stuck roses into gaps of the concrete wall, which became a museum exhibit. A picturesque and symbolic image.

However, leaving a rose in a concrete wall, the mighty of the world cannot pretend to be oblivious to the new walls between the East and West, ideologies and economics, unions and countries, religions and faith, business and politics, luxury and poverty – the list could go on – rising beyond the remains of the Iron Curtain.

I read the inspiring and passionate words of Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas – a patriot of Germany and Europe: ‘This world needs Europe’s courage to embrace freedom – the courage of 1989. This gives rise to an obligation for us, namely, to complete the project of the unification of Europe – building a Europe that lives up to the values and dreams of those who took to the streets in 1989 to fight for freedom and democracy. However, it is clear that we will only be able to hold our own in the world if we, Europeans, stand united. After all, none of us can cope with the four major worldwide challenges – globalisation, climate change, the digital transformation and migration – by ourselves.’

Later (an absolute coincidence!), I opened my night read – Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. On the bookmarked page my eyes fell on the lines, where the Israeli historian and Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, states: ‘...Humanity is yet to face three common struggles, in the face of which all national walls become ridiculous and which can be overcome only by global cooperation. ... A common enemy is the best forger of common identity and currently humanity has at least three of those enemies: nuclear war, climate change and destructive technology. If, despite these enemies, humanity will decide to put loyalty to certain countries first, the results could be worse than in 1914 and 1939.’

Standing near the Berlin Wall in East Germany three decades ago, I knew what was behind.

There was Freedom.

And now, standing against an invisible wall, which hides those three enemies, I only have a faint notion of what would happen if it was them, who broke that wall down...

Yet I still believe in Humanity’s wisdom and aim to connect minds to create a better future for everyone.

Sincerely Yours,

Zita Tallat-Kelpšaitė

Publisher of JŪRA MOPE SEA magazine since 1999

 

The magazine SEA has been published since 1935
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been published since 1999
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Ltd. Juru informacijos centras


The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

ISSN 1392-7825

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