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-   -   Mr Gorbachev Tear Down That Wall! (

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 11:50 AM

Bob Brown: Interesting comparison with the Mexican wall, one may say it's totally different, but it's still a wall to keep people from getting across. The Austrians put so much effort to build the Schengen wall to keep the Eastern Europeans from coming until the EU was expanded to 25.

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 11:54 AM

Cruiseluv; I agree with you history has a short memory. The European perspective may quickly change when & if Russia (no longer the Soviets) reaims its missiles toward Europe again.

jody Jun 12th, 2007 12:05 PM

And let's not forget the wall we're building in Iraq!

altamiro Jun 12th, 2007 12:10 PM

>No one in Germany was confused by his statement, any more than Mexicans thought the Chevy Nova stood for "no go", or an English-speaking person would confuse "therapist" with "the rapist". It's an urban legend.

Of course not.
In Berlin, "Ich bin ein Berliner" has only one meaning - that one is a citizen of Berlin, with a small grammatical error. Same in Bavaria.
In the South (except Bavaria) or West of Germany, it might mean both - a citizen of Berlin and a jam doughnut. Therefore a lot of puns were made.
Nobody with the least command of the language could take these puns seriously.

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 12:11 PM

Something there is that doesn't love a wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

altamiro Jun 12th, 2007 12:11 PM

>Even today, the countries of the Soviet block are thankful to US leadership in those dark times.

In general - maybe. But nobody except Reagan himself took the theatrical speech seriously. It was just too theatrical for that.

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 12:20 PM

And my daughter used to love saying: Bist du Hamburger oder ein Hamburger?

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 12:22 PM

Altamiro: That's the general feeling I get from people in Europe that we are taking ourselves way too seriously.

waring Jun 12th, 2007 12:40 PM

Never heard the phrase before, and I got a degree in Russian and Eastern European studies.

altamiro Jun 12th, 2007 12:40 PM

>Altamiro: That's the general feeling I get from people in Europe that we are taking ourselves way too seriously.

I don't know about "you" (you, DAX, or you, Americans in general) but already our politicians take themselves way too seriously and the US politicians seem to be even worse in this regard.

Phil Jun 12th, 2007 01:00 PM

>In Berlin, "Ich bin ein Berliner" has only one meaning - that one is a citizen of Berlin, with a small grammatical error

Close, but not precise enough. German is more complex than many people give it credit for:

"Ich bin Berliner" means "I am a citizen of Berlin" or "I am from Berlin"

"Ich bin ein Berliner", said with the correct intonation means "I am one of you, a citizen of Berlin", and that is exactly what Kennedy wanted to get across.

As others said, no one with a command of German would in the least give that sentence the meaning "I am a jelly doughnut".

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 01:01 PM

To me its a cultural/style difference. In the US many of us are used to spice our speech with more confidence, conviction and even exageration. People don't take it so literally and wonder if you seriously mean every word, but abroad people may interpret it as being overly confident or even pompous.

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 01:07 PM

That's a very good point Phil. Emphasizing the intonation on "ein" does mean I am a Berliner or a Politician etc, so it can still be said both ways depending on the context of the conversation.

logos999 Jun 12th, 2007 01:07 PM

Reagen nevertheless was one on the most hated people during that time! The "NATO Doppelbeschluss", "Aufrüstung", "Ostermärsche", "Wir wollen Sonne statt Reagan", "End of the aera Schmidt", etc... Reagan bring up a list rather negative associations of his time and his "work". The "Tear down that wall" statement he made was considered a joke by most.

kleeblatt Jun 12th, 2007 01:11 PM

So, what does a German say living in Paris? Ich bin ein Pariser? :)

logos999 Jun 12th, 2007 01:14 PM

:-) Good one, schuler.

AAFrequentFlyer Jun 12th, 2007 01:16 PM

That's like saying that Europe didn't need US to defeat Hitler.....


Amazing how a generation or 2 later people forget the realities....

Study, read and study more history before making asinine statements like the few above.

Reagan administration, John Paul 2 and few other factors did put a final "nail in the coffin" in the Soviet Empire. If you think otherwise you are simply an imbecile.

Soviets and their allies, the Warsaw pact, were going broke, that's true but if not pushed by military, economic and spiritual/religious realities the empire may have survived another 10-20 years. Gorbachov saw the realities and only reacted when there was no other choice. Did many of you forget that he became the communist party leader after a very short stints by 2 very conservative politburo old timers that were elected by it's members? Soviets were in no way ready to "knock down the wall", but as I said earlier, only when faced with the reality of the world and the mighty push by the western powers, (although with many European liberals demonstrating against US and some of their own government in the 80s, accusing US of being capitalist and military pigs), did Gorbachev see the writing on the wall(no pun intended).

Let's not forget that KGB, under Gorbachev rule were still financing the anti-US/Nato demonstrations in western Europe. Now, why would they do that if he intended for the regime to fall?

If Gorbachev was such a great person, why not stop KGB from doing their dirty work in western Europe. Only few years into his administration did he see the reality and only then did he change his tune.

Please read and study history.

thit_cho Jun 12th, 2007 01:19 PM

Will you also commemorate the visit in May 2005 of Ronnie to Bitburg!

DAX Jun 12th, 2007 01:24 PM

logos: I was a bit young at the time, now I'm curious what was the NATO Doppelbeschluess about?

altamiro Jun 12th, 2007 01:25 PM

> People don't take it so literally and wonder if you seriously mean every word, but abroad people may interpret it as being overly confident or even pompous.

Maybe - sounds like a classical "lost in translation" thing.
But then Reagan was playing exclusively to the domestic (US) opinion. Nothing wrong with it - he was US president after all - but his speech and his "evil empire" thing weren't meant of foreign listeners and thus weren't accepted by these.

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