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  • He asked why we had a piece of painted stone in a plastic frame on the mantelpiece.

    I took it down and the thoughts lay heavily on me. How do I explain this to a five year old?

    "It's a very important part of daddy's history." I began. His beautiful, big green eyes, so intense and in my face, remained fixated. "Back in 1961, a group of people thought it was a good solution to put up a wall to divide the East and West of Germany."

    "Why did they want to do that?" He asked.

    I remained silent for a bit because, well, really, how do I explain this shit.

    "After the second world war, a group of people had a meeting to draw lines across Germany to say which part belonged to whom because Germany lost the war and the soldiers who won, remained there. So the Eastern part was given to the Soviet Union and the other bits in the West, to the United States, Great Britain and hmmmm, I think France."

    "They can't just draw lines on a country!" He exclaimed.

    (Wait until you hear the history of MY island, young man.)

    "Well, this overnight decision caused a lot of trouble. Families were instantly separated and jobs were lost. It was a real nightmare for the people who lived there."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Well, imagine one day daddy goes to work and on his way back, there's a wire fence and guards with guns in watch towers and dogs and they tell him that if he tries to go back across, they will shoot him. It means that he will never see us again....just like that. Many people died trying to get across to their loved ones and a few thousand made interesting escapes, digging tunnels under, even a hot air balloon! But the fence and wall were still there. I would try anything to be with you."

    This really troubled my young man, his green eyes losing their brightness, so I continued, "But! But, someone always makes a mistake and sometimes mistakes are meant to happen. In 1989, twenty-eight years later, the spokeman for the East side, announced that people were free to cross the wall and he did not get a chance to add that this new rule would take time and forms to fill out and so on. Therefore, people started gathering around the wall and started shouting, "Tor auf!" Which means, "Open the gate!""

    "What happened after that, mum?"

    "They were taking too long. The gates were not being opened, then only one opened and people started to get annoyed and then everyone started getting hammers and pick axes and well, they broke down the wall!"

    "Why didn't they do that before?" He asked.

    " ."
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