Merkel in Harvard -- tear down the walls in your mind

Angela Merkel addressed the graduates in Harvard, talking about her dreams of an open world.

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Merkel in Harvard -- tear down the walls in your mind - NewsMavens
Angela Merkel. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

With her signature German accent and bright pantsuit, Merkel addressed an overflowing audience of Harvard graduates. Some had to seat on the steps of the library across the lawn.

She talked about her own life in East Germany (calling it a dictatorship), how the Berlin wall quite literally stood in her way, and how she saw it every day while walking to work. And then, one day, it fell -- and even though Merkel wasn't involved in protest movements at the time, she still believes this generation of students should be heartened at the thought that every misguided regime eventually collapses.

“Dictatorships can disappear,” she said. “We can halt global warming. We can eradicate starvation. We can eliminate diseases. We can give people, especially girls, access to education. We can fight the causes of displacement and forced migration. We can do all of that.”

Details from the story:

  • Even though many interpreted the speech as criticism of Donald Trump, it can also be interpreted as a manifesto for an open-minded can last -- be it a rigid wall or a Communist dictatorship.
  • “Walls of narrow-mindedness and ignorance, they exist between family members, as well as between groups within the society,” she said.
  • “Nothing can be taken for granted. Our individual liberties are not givens. Democracy is not something we can take for granted. Neither is peace, and neither is prosperity. But if we break down the walls that hem us in, if we step out into the open and have the courage to embrace new beginnings, everything is possible.”
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