09/11/2004

World Freedom Day

This evening, I've been to an event on the occasion of the 1st World Freedom Day, commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall which took place today fifteen years ago. The event was hosted in Z├╝rich by Liberales Institut and was entirely commensurate & pleasant. We were treated to presentations by Victoria Curzon-Price, Andreas Oplatka and Urs Egger with musical intermezzi performed by the Ensemble Clarino.

The presentations were unusually rich. While Curzon-Price praised the Swiss federalist system for its setup with 26 political laboratories unless centralised on the incredibly slow federal level, Oplatka described how the changes of 1989 came to pass, exactly 200 years after the revolution in France. Egger performed a veritable tour d'horizon of liberty, remarking that many people didn't appreciate the wall coming down. My take-aways:
  • Switzerland is between a rock and a hard place - it can either decentralise again or move to speed up its political processes, which naturally entails weakening direct democratic participation.
  • Gorbachev was not a democrat - the developments in the Soviet Union happened against his will. He will have to be credited however for not deploying force against the imminent collapse.
  • Communism and Nazism have a lot in common. Nostalgic defence of communism is not acceptable because it idolises a world view which aims for just equality in global prosperity, but whereever it came to power, it resulted in oppression, cronyism and mass graves.

  • 1989 was indeed a remarkable year. Not only did it change the face of Europe by removing its artificial separation - it also saw the violent oppression of a mass revolt in China, which is the final frontier of freedom.

    Like a bit of numerology? 9/11 in Europe is today (we use DD/MM), when the Berlin wall came down. 9/11 in the US is September 11th, when the WTC came down ...

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