As the World is commemorating the fall of the Berlin wall, the Lobby would like to share with you the English translation of a Dutch song called “Over de Muur” from Klein Orkest. The song came out in 1984 when the wall still was a hard reality. It criticises the situation in East Berlin and at the same time questions some of the values freedom has brought to the West.

East Berlin, Unter den Linden
People walking by flags and banners
Where Lenin and Marx
still stand on a pedestal
And everyone works, hammers
and sickles
As the guards are
changing in parade step
Forty years of socialism, and much has been achieved

But what does utopia mean with walls surrounding it
If you’re afraid and have to say things cautiously

Oh, what is utopia, tell me: what is it worth?
When someone different is declared mad

And only the birds fly from East to West Berlin
Don’t be whistled back, nor shot down
Over the wall, over the Iron Curtain
Because sometimes they like to be in the West, and sometimes in the East

West Berlin, the Kurfürstendamm
People walking by porn- and peepshows

Where Mercedes and Cola still stand on a pedestal

And the neon ads, they’re glittering and luring
Come dance, come eat, come drink, come gamble!
Forty years of freedom, and much has been achieved

But what does freedom mean, without a home, without a job?
So many Turks in Kreuzberg who can hardly survive
Okay, you can demonstrate, but with your back against the wall
And only if you have money, can you be free

The birds fly from West to East Berlin
Don’t get whistled back, neither shot down
Over the wall, over the Iron Curtain
Because sometimes they like to be in the East, and sometimes in the West

Because there is bread lying sometimes near the Gedächtniskirche
And sometimes at the Alexanderplatz

– Lieneke

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