Berlin Wall

  • Nov. 9, 2015
  • #8746

26 years ago, Joni and Ken were there when the Berlin wall came down.

Berlin Wall

Hi, I’m Joni Tada and the world marks quite an anniversary today.  

Now you might not remember this important anniversary that changed the world, you won’t remember it if you were born after 1990.  But that’s okay, just pick up a history book or search the web where you can learn all about the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The Wall (and yes, it was an actual big concrete wall) it pretty much cut off all of East Berlin from West Berlin, it was built right after World War II, and the communists hoped it would prevent the massive emigration of people defecting from East Germany and other communist-controlled nations, like Poland and Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia and the rest.

My husband Ken and I traveled to Berlin and the Eastern bloc in the 1980s to find out the condition of people with disabilities living under communism.  Our trips were mostly sponsored by the American Embassies in these countries, but it was hard, it was so hard, to get these communist governments to allow us access into what we hoped was rehab centers. We wondered why we hardly ever saw any people with disabilities on the streets, the officials told us that “We have no disabled people.” Honestly, that’s what they said.  And when we challenged them, they just shook their heads and insisted that their populations were so well cared-for, there simply were no people with disabling conditions.

Now, we knew that wasn’t true.  For one reason, when I “gave greetings” in various churches in these communist countries (the government would not allow me to give a message per se; only greetings, and so my greetings often lasted about 45 minutes).  Anyway, when I would speak in these churches, families would bring in their disabled children and adults; they would drag them in on mattresses or on blankets.  They would carry them in on wooden chairs.  Some teenagers with disabilities would be pushed in rickety old baby carriages.

So we knew what we were seeing – all these people with cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury and polio – we knew this was only scratching the surface. And it’s why, back in the 80s and 90s, our international focus at Joni and Friends centered largely on places like Romania and East Germany.

Well, the international community could only put up with this for so long and finally, it was President Reagan who stood up in 1987 and spoke before a large crowd, right on the free side,(the western side,) of the Berlin wall and he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And, oh, do Ken and I remember the day two years later in late 1989 that we finally saw the Berlin wall come down, and today marks the 26th anniversary of that amazing moment. When the actual wall began to be dismantled, Ken and I were there in Berlin. In fact, my husband asked a construction worker if he could please borrow his hammer and chisel so he could chip away pieces of the wall (which we still have). The worker was more than happy to give Ken his tools while he took a break and I snapped a wonderful photo of young Ken Tada hammering away at the Berlin wall. When you have a minute, please visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org, where I’ve posted that photo. And please, when you have time today, thank God for the incredible freedoms that we enjoy here in America. Freedom to assemble, freedom to share our views, and best of all, freedom to worship the God of the Bible. So on this anniversary of the wall coming down visit our radio page at joniandfriends.org and take a look at that wall getting dismantled. I invite you to visit joniandfriends.org.

© Joni and Friends

 

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