Archive for November 11th, 2009

Remembering 1989

11 November 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Mass_on_the_street_1989In all of the column inches, radio interviews, television series (thanks George Lee) and film festivals (thanks IFI) to commemorate the events of 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, something has been bugging me. Isn’t it all just a little, well, quiet? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll be as sick of hearing about it as you are in a couple of weeks. It’s just that instead of the wave of coverage we’re experiencing, I’d expected a tsunami.

Listening to Matthias Middell from the University of Leipzig speak at a seminar in the Humanities Institute of Ireland, UCD, last Thursday (5 November), the reason why became readily apparent. It’s because we’re not quite sure what 1989 is, what it means, and whether it was even a revolution. Berlin may dominate our thoughts, but are we that sure about events in Budapest, Prague, Bucharest, or Warsaw? And does anyone have any idea what, if anything, happened in Sofia? Ukraine’s revolution arrived only in 2004, Georgia’s and Kyrgyzstan’s the following year. Read More