25 years ago, in November 1989 the Berlin Wall that materialized the bipolarity of the world and depicted a division between free and unfree, just and unjust, open and repressed, collapsed within a night. With it collapsed the communist regimes in a number of countries in Eastern Europe and its people looked forward with hope and enthusiasm to a unified Europe in which they have always belonged, both culturally and historically.
Anniversaries have a lot to do with the culture of remembrance. And while in other parts of Europe 2014 was marked by the 100th anniversary of the “Great war”, for us Eastern Europeans, the fall of the Berlin Wall was a good moment to draw a balance-sheet – 25 years ago a regime fell, which had enforced inhumane political standards, had led to the social and economic catastrophe of whole regions and states. What went right and what went wrong in the years of transition from a totalitarian rule to pluralism and democracy?
While memory and interpretations, when not codified, tend to be subjective, we were privileged enough to be able to invite to this conversation about our recent past key figures, who took part in the events in 1989 and beyond. And although there are many personal stories, we tried to set a sequence of indisputable facts and key events. Because without rationalization of the recent history, we take a risk of mystifying the past and lose our guideline in the present and the future.
The ambition of this initiative and its side-events was while marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, to take another step towards restoring trust in the Bulgarian society, which has hardly been more polarized and the political debate more deprived of strategic perspective and basis for national consensus. Differentiating the democratic values and principles from the realities of the anti-humane communist regime is fundamentally important for united Europe. It doesn’t matter if we look to the past or to the future, where we stand in the political specter, what is our social status, what are our incomes and what is our way of living.
Download a free copy of “25 Years of Freedom in Bulgaria” here.