TT2001 – Into a New Decade

New Year’s Eve 1989/90 – Licenced – Alamy Stock Photo D: 2A84TB4  (RM) – Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was the turning of the 89/90 decade.
I was in Berlin for New Year’s Eve.
Fireworks were only allowed then
To celebrate the turning of the year.
I was at a party well away from the wall
But had this urge to move up on up to it.

We made it just in time!  A large crowd swarming
Five hundred metres way up to the Brandenburger Tor. 
That symbolic centre of both the wall and Berlin herself.
There was a determined push towards the gate
Both in front and behind us, surging like a tidal wave
As if the whole crowd moved with a collective psyche.

And then the fireworks began. Lighting the sky above.
The dark shadow of the gate ahead, I could move
Neither back, nor left, nor right, but only forwards.
As more and more people joined the push
Towards the tiny gap only created a few weeks before
On, on, on, there was no going back.

I then realised I had no passport. My friend from Berlin
Was allowed to go through with no papers, but I should not.
Too late! The powerful crowd took that decision for me.
We were pushed through the tiny gap and there –
On the other side were two 12 ft replica cans of Coca-Cola!
The American marketing machine had beaten us to it!

Illegal or not, there were no guards: it was a surge to freedom.
We were discharged out onto the Unter den Linden, 
The boulevard of lime trees on the Eastern side of the gate.
A calm peace after the hectic push and scrabble.
We spent an hour or so soaking up the atmosphere
Before returning back home to the Western side.

Elias Canetti, summed up in his 1960s book “Crowds and Power”:
The crowd always wants to grow – it has no natural boundaries.
Within the crowd there is equality. Differences … are irrelevant.
The crowd loves destiny … it can never feel too dense.
The crowd needs direction … and moves towards a goal.
And so it was. The wall collapsed to create modern-day Europe.

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