- November 1, 2009: Vol. 3, Number 11

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We Have No Idea

by Richard Fleming

It wasn’t meant to be like this. The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 was supposed to be a celebration of the hard-won economic and political freedoms that the prising open of the Iron Curtain from the yoke of communism had given to the peoples of central and eastern Europe, and all that followed.

For 19 years, everything went so well. The Wall came down, physically as well as metaphorically, the two Germanies were reunited like long-lost siblings (one rich, one poor, which also meant they found out they didn’t like each other that much), countries and their peoples to the east of the Wall, the inner-German border and the Iron Curtain used the new freedoms to rid themselves of communism and develop democracies and market economies, and central and eastern Europe prospered. And a generation has grown up that knows nothing of the rigours of life under a totalitarian regime.

Then the pre

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