About Germany, France and....Europe....!
Soon it will be the "Tag Der Deutschen Einheit" - (“Day of German Unity”).
So what - you may say - Well, it was an important moment in Europe's history, even if the nuclear threat has moved theatre, towards the Asian and Oriental parts of the World.
Nuclear threat became more remote in Europe, and that's probably worth celebrating.
I lived in Germany, East and West for more than 40 years, and I'm now a German Pensioner!
For the Germans', the fall of the borders, peacefully, was not seen by ALL Germans as a welcome event.
I recall, at the time, hearing often, in Western Germany, many people saying that now life would become expensive. The whole Eastern Zone needed complete and total "reinstalling and renovating" and who was going to pay for it....?
Well, 20 years later, it's still not all done, but it's all being undertaken, and the money was found.
Sure, there were hardships, particularly in the East, and there still is.
Nowadays there are even West Germans moving to the once upon a time Socialist paradise of farmers and workers.
I'll be covering a few tales of life in Eastern Germany in the next few months, but Paradise is not the word I would use for any of it!
I was arrested twice in Eastern Germany, but that's another story to be gone into - or not - at another time.
Nowadays, ALL Germans can go to the Supermarkets and buy just about anything, not just that day's mass delivery - as used to be the case in Eastern Germany.
Thursday was chicken day, and the whole of Eastern Germany ate chicken - because that's all there was....and that was the same in EVERY Socialist country!
On other days of the week, the product of the day changed, and you could travel the whole country and not find anything else!
Freezers didn't exist, fridges worked (if at all) on gas!
Spare parts for everything were on waiting lists over years, and to get new products you listed your name for months and years, and they were often only purchasable if you had West D Marks or US Dollars to pay for them!These people made sure you didn’t get what you wanted or needed!
I’ll be watching the Celebrations on the German television, and the speaker will say - again - a few wise words, in particular "German Unification was and is good, but German Units are not wished".
What he means is that the Unification is good, but no "German Unit" i.e. A typical German trait or character for everyone is required.
True - A Bavarian is proud of the fact, a Saar-lander too.
A "Sachse" has his own traditions and wants to keep them - and so he should!
Just like an Englishman or a Scotsman.
It's perfectly possible to be Sachse, German and European - all at the same time but many people, particularly in "Great" Britain don't seem to understand that!
Londoner, English and European...? Impossible!
So they continue to drive on the wrong side of the road, continue to be unable to identify themselves except with a Passport or Driving Licence, continue to watch their "Great" British pound fall permanently against the Euro - and all they do is complain about Europe...!
The Germans unified, and got on with it!
I know also that due to Germany's history, there are still many British people, all mainly now of a "certain" age, who are unable to forget.
Individual experiences may make that so, although the modern day German can hardly be held responsible for the events.
Many Germans, also of a "certain" age hold the same feelings against the British or Americans, but the vast majority of Germans now just get on with life and living.
I often have the feeling that the only use nowadays for those old, worn out insults against the Germans find their place and usage, uniquely on the football field and terraces! The problem is that the Germans always seem to win...!
I'm very happy too that my pensions come from Germany, even if they could have celebrated this day by giving us "poor German Pensioners" a 13th month!
I'm happy too, that my Pensions are in Euros, at least I know what it's worth, and (like many Europeans) I love driving on the correct side of the road!
I would also be more than happy to welcome a Mr.Tony Blair as 1st President of Europe, and as a European - be proud of him!
But then - I'm of Scottish birth and proud of it,
German Pensioner and proud of it,
French resident and proud of it...... and -
European....and proud of it....!