No Wall Too High to be Broken Down: German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Breaking down barriers West German punk band die Toten Hosen playing the Hoffnungskirche in East Berlin 1988. Mark Reeder Author provided

"The Berlin Wall, ladies and gentlemen, is history", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said later at a memorial service inside a small chapel near where the Wall once stood.

Germany on Saturday marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall that ushered in the end of communism and national reunification, as the Western alliance that helped secure those achievements is riddled with divisions.

The revellers symbolically opened a gate at the former crossing between Thuringia and Bavaria, which used to divide East and West Germany, and allowed some 65 cars known affectionately as Trabis and other vehicles manufactured in the Communist-ruled German Democratic Republic to pass through.

"Noting the cruelty of the East German regime - which had torn down a previous church on the former death strip site so snipers could get a better shot at people fleeing to the West - Merkel paid tribute to those who were killed or imprisoned during the Communist dictatorship and insisted that the fight for freedom worldwide isn't over."We are bereft of excuses, challenged to do our part for freedom and democracy", she said".

Such values "must always be lived out and defended anew", Merkel told political leaders and European guests at a ceremony, warning that these freedoms can not be taken for granted.

There has been a rise in the far-right in many European countries, while the governments of EU countries such as Poland and Hungary have been accused of undermining the rule of law.

Saturday was also the anniversary of the Kristallnacht - the night of broken glass - when thousands of Jewish homes, synagogues and businesses were attacked in Nazi Germany and Austria in 1938.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked Eastern European allies for empowering a peaceful revolution.

However, tensions between East and West have resurfaced.

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Two days before the anniversary of the epochal change, the leader of Germany's closest partner, France's Emmanuel Macron charged that transatlantic partnership North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was suffering from "brain death".

The Cold War has long since passed, but tyrannical regimes around the world continue to employ the oppressive tactics of Soviet-style totalitarianism, which have cast a long, dark shadow over history.

Merkel responded with uncharacteristic sharpness, calling such "sweeping judgements" unnecessary.

He said that the USA will continue to work with Germany, which he called one of its most treasured allies.

The bad-tempered prelude to the festivities stood in sharp contrast to celebrations five years ago, when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ex-Polish president and freedom icon Lech Walesa were present.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attended the ceremonies to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"Today is also the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, in which both India and Pakistan have a partnership.' He said the Ayodhya verdict of November 9 tells us to 'live together and move forward".

On Friday, during a speech, he warned that "freedom is never guaranteed".

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