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A portion of the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall was torn down in an early-morning raid by demolition crews with police support, after earlier public protest had delayed the action.  It was done by a developer seeking a quicker route to construction sites.  The stretch had become a canvas for all sorts of artists, and become famous for its murals in addition to its infamous role in the four decades of Communist totalitarianism in the East of the city and country.  Of course, since you can't have doings in Deutschland without David Hasselhof's name coming up on the radar, he has been vocal in public outcry over the removal.

This incident is basically everything wrong with the 21st century in a nutshell: Total disregard of local, national, and world history, public morals, public opinion, and aesthetic value in one callous action to achieve nothing more than somewhat greater transit convenience for cement trucks accessing a luxury apartment construction site.  The fact that it occurs in a country and city generally lauded for its forward-thinking attitude emphasizes the depth and absurdity of the problem.  And it's even worse than it seems at first glance, because over $3 million (US) of local taxpayer money had just recently been spent to restore that part of the Berlin Wall.

Would someone who is not a developer have been allowed to just rip out a chunk of global heritage for his own convenience with police protection?  Like, for instance, if some douche wanted to build a back yard swimming pool and had to demolish a Roman mausoleum to do it, would that have gone forward?  Something tells me, probably not.

And while it's a bit of a stretch to claim any direct association, it seems meaningful that something like this occurs in the wider context of Germany imposing crippling austerity measures on vulnerable Southern European governments - policies that appear more likely in both the short- and long-term to send these countries spiraling into the Third World and permanent dependency than to restore economic health.

Just as a reminder, in case the memory has faded, the Berlin Wall was the overwhelming focal point of a confrontation between two nuclear-armed superpowers that at times threatened to end human civilization, and a killing field where desperate people trying to escape from totalitarianism were mercilessly gunned down.  It should be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as important if not more so than Hadrian's Wall in Britain, which was little more than a backwater frontier fortification of the Roman Empire.  

As relatively brief as the Wall's existence was, its significance on almost every level easily stacks up with most of the sites on the Heritage list - and certainly far more than some of the random modern art crap on the list in Germany, like the Bauhaus and the Fagus Factory.  These things are precious history(?!), but the freaking Berlin Wall is just a nuisance to be smashed into by any douche looking for a quicker way to deliver cement?

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