White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Safarnameh (Trip Report) 2: Prague-Berlin

Now after 4 weeks, back in Detroit Airport waiting for the last flight home. Prague was literally a paradise. Czechs are still far from professional tourisms and are stuck with some sort of tough communist era behaviors. But with no reservation, I recommend visiting the Prague.

Berlin was a great cosmopolitan city. So much to see and of course our two days stay was nothing. We only visited the cold war aspects of the city which was very educational and interesting. After walking next to the wall and visiting check point Charlie, for the first time I felt the depth of the cold war separations. The story of Berlin is quite interesting. West Berlin refused to join the leftist East side in the city’s election and Soviets set blockade to the west side to block access to foods and other basic needs to break the west side resistance. Americans who knew about the strategic importance of the west Berlin dropped food and did airlift to help the west side survive. Practically during the cold war, to access the west side, you had to use a road which went through East Berlin. In Berlin for the first time, I felt the deep alliance that once existed between the western Europeans and America. This is more than economic and political ties. The history of the world war II and later cold war had made the Europeans a true admirer of the US. And you can feel that how much the Iraq war and Bush’s unilateral policies.

In Berlin I got a chance to see a few Iranians who used to be serious leftist political activist in 1980s. I always love to sit and listen to stories of these people. Each one of their life stories are perfect screen plays about an important period of Iran’s history.
Their activities during and after revolutions, the crack down of the leftists in Iran and the way that they have escaped to Eastern Europe, etc… Just consider they guy that
I talked to: He was a member of a famous leftist party in Iran. He talks Farsi, Arabic, German, Polish and Czech fluently. His father was a mullah who had close contact with Khomeini and even now with Ayatollah Sistani. This guy fled Iran and went to work for one leftist radio in Soviet controlled Afghanistan. Later he fled to Czech …. And it’s unfortunate that many of these sincere and honest people look at the current world with the same leftist view of cold war times: Blaming all the problems of the middle east on Israel and Zionism, having a conspiracy look at every event and worse than all being so passive and still stunned in front of the Islamists in Iran.

Talking to a few young Germans from my generation, I feel that new generation of the Germans are finally some how against inheriting all the guilt of the war. Two generations have already inherited and paid heavily both economically and psychologically for the mistakes of another generation in Germany. World Cup 2006 was the first time that people were able to take out and wave their flags for the first time after the war. Still there is so much of suspicion and controversy about any act of patriotism in Germany, but it is visible that some change is happening there.

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