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November 9, 2009

Germany Celebrates Fall of the Wall

POLITICS - 20 years ago the Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin was opened. Within a year Germany was reunited and has since gone on to become the world's 4th biggest economy behind the United States, Japan and China.

Today Germany celebrated the Fall of the Wall with a variety of celebrations, including 1000 giant dominoes falling across part of the city. The anniversary is practically a national holiday now.

But no where is anybody complaining about the PRICE of reunification, or complaining about how East and West Germany could not trust each other back in the 1980s and were in a state of constant espionage during the Cold War.

It reminds me of North Korea and South Korea. I used to live in South Korea and one of the things I noticed while there is that South Koreans tended to fuss about the fact they can't trust the North Koreans and that reunification with the North is going to be expensive.

When you consider Germany's contemporary feelings and celebrations about the Fall of the Wall and reunification then South Korea's concerns just seem silly in comparison. If the DMZ across Korea went down today, twenty years from now concern about the "cost" would be dismissed as ridiculous.

And worries about not being able to trust North Korea? Pfff. Sheer silliness too.

When the Berlin Wall came down East German soldiers were dancing in the streets with the citizens. EVERYONE was happy to see it gone.

There's also pressure to turn the DMZ into a nature preserve, because apparently tiger tracks have been spotted in the region. The Korean tiger was previously thought to be extinct in the wild.

The tiger is a symbolic creature for Koreans, dating back to both Korean mythology about the birth of the Korean race and also Korean royalty and symbolic of Korea as a nation, commonly shown in artwork and maps depicting Korea as a tiger.

Unfortunately reunification seems pretty far away. In the last couple of years North Korea has been testing nuclear weapons and long range missiles capable of reaching Hawaii. North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il also suffered a stroke and its only a matter of time before he either dies and/or is replaced by his 28-year-old son (Kim Jong Eun) as leader. Or a coup takes place, because its difficult to imagine the aged generals listening to a mere pup as leader.

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