On November 9, 1989, as the sun set over Berlin — a city concretely divided for 28 years — buzzing crowds from East and West swarmed in droves towards that barbed, now puckered and tattooed “iron curtain” that split the city. Put up almost overnight on August 13, 1961, the Berlin Wall had long been a symbol of the Cold War and the shroud of Communism over Eastern Europe. Built under the auspices of keeping Western “fascists” out of East Berlin, it actually accomplished the opposite, halting the mass exodus from East to West. Over it’s near-30 year lifespan, people from both sides picked away at it’s morbid exterior; at least 136 died trying to cross over, while others found creative ways to diffuse people, goods, and news. Truck beds and trunks, basements, and first floor storage closets, hot air balloons, tightropes, zip-lines, and even Playboy Club ID’s all became tools of subversion.
Now, since it’s 1989 fall, what remains of the wall has become a national monument, a piece of artwork covered in murals, and symbolic graffiti. The leftover segments of what was an imposing structure of oppression have become a valuable piece of Berlin’s history
— an irreplaceable and iconic image. Unfortunately, developer Maik Uwe Hinkel doesn't quite see it that way, and has begun removal of the longest remaining segment of the wall, known as the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is a particularly famous and well-decorated 1.3 mile stretch housing the artwork of 120 artists including Keith Haring and Gerald Scarfe. The background to this removal has been (totally justified) public outcry, and even protest in the form of holy matrimony. In a wild event, U.S. actor David Hasselhoff "married" the wall, drawing awarness to the issue.
The East Side Gallery is to be replaced with luxury apartments — possibly the most disdainful thing to replace a historical monument, surpassed only by a six lane highway. And many protesters are appalled at this blatant disregard for history in the face of potential profit. So far, over 62,000 activists have signed a petition, encouraged in part by Hasselhoff’s tweets. Hasselhoff tweeted a link to the petition asking, "How can you tear down the wall that signifies freedom, perseverance and the sacrifice of human life?”
Indeed, David; I couldn't have said it better myself.