Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago next Monday, the Berlin wall fell. The “wall of shame” was erected in 1961 by East German authorities in order to prevent the residents of East Berlin from leaving for West Berlin. For 28 years, it was a symbol of the east-west divide that characterized the cold war.
On the evening of November 8, as the Soviet bloc collapsed, the authorities from the German Democratic Republic, or GDR, announced that they would “facilitate” passage to the west. Confusion quickly took over, and during the night of November 9 to 10, the wall fell. Thousands of people helped knock it down, destroying it as they passed through. It marked the end of an era of oppression, poverty and conflict. It also meant the end of the GDR.
There are 17 other “walls of shame” that still exist around the world, stretching over 7,500 km. May the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall serve as a reminder that there is no place for segregation, since it only encourages hate—