compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
of the breaking down of the Berlin wall...
men and women in this century, I am reminded how I felt about flying into
Dresden Airport during 1992. Canon Europe had arranged a visit for me to
evaluate the possibility of establishing a Networked Colour, Exemplar
Demonstrator, Copy Shop in a disused factory, which when I first arrived,
was surrounded by brand-new park benches on which very friendly,
under-employed workers sat talking and smoking. My colleague from
Canon, who was assigned to arrange the trip and subsequently became a
friend, was a self-declared Ossi, which literally means 'easty' in the context
of the fact that he had been born in East Germany and had been taken as a
baby to the West, such that he had no knowledge of who his parents and
family were. It was he who explained to me that the reason why the workers
were not working was because in former East Germany there was so little
supply of components to the factories, that usually by the end of the morning
shift they had nothing else to do but sit and wait for the next delivery.
When at first the money started flowing into East Germany, the authorities
had so much and so little to spend it on, that they replaced and expanded
massively the number of old 'park-benches' to facilitate the situation. On
arrival at the airport, on that first occasion, internally painted wooden tunnels
had been erected for the passengers to walk through, from the aircraft to
the terminal building, and on exit I was met by a sea of Trabant taxis and
their drivers vying for my trade. That first journey, what with the state of
the unmaintained roads and the interminable wait at the multitude of traffic
light controlled junctions, took 25 minutes or more. The last visit, taking
the same route in a Mercedes Benz, took less than 10, despite all the
roadworks engaged in the installation of fibre-optic network cables
throughout the city.
no suitable hotel accommodation
available and I was provided with first
class food and accommodation in a
Rhine Cruise ship which had been
brought down the Elbe and moored
directly opposite the very forlorn City
Hall, which has now been restored to
its former glory.
What a contrast to the situation today where it appears that Dresden has
risen from the ashes and Dortmund has become the old Dresden !!!???
The entirety of this experience, was particularly heartfelt and poignantly
significant, because my mother had been adjutant to the RAF Officer, who
had been directed by the Air Ministry, in accordance with Churchill's
encouragement, to give the order to execute the bombing raid on Dresden
in February 1945. Only 6 months later, after my dad returned to England
from Italy, was when my mother spoke of me being conceived. She and I
cried together back in 1992, when I told her of my own story, but nothing
was mentioned in the presence of my dad, whose own experiences had
been, and continued to be, enough to bear. Even after my dad had died,
and when mum was still lucid, she and I had another emotional discussion
about all of this, on the morning of the Polish aircraft disaster.
But at least I was able to do my own bit towards the reparation process, as a
result of helping to establish Dresden as [IT] IS today.
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