25 years after Berlin Wall falls, Google and the Internet are still tearing down walls


On November 9, 1989, twenty-five years ago today, the Berlin Wall was torn down. Many young women and men nowadays either weren't born yet or were too young to understand it. I fell into the latter; in elementary school, my teacher taught us that this wall was bad and that it was torn down. I did not understand Communism or inequality -- my simplistic understanding was just that people should be free to move about and interact with each other.

Fast-forward to 2014 and quite frankly, my simplistic view hasn't changed much; I still want people and information to flow freely. Sadly, issues with borders still exist; both literally and figuratively. A wall definitely exists in countries like China and North Korea, but it is designed to keep information and ideas out. Luckily, the Internet is the great equalizer and companies like Google are working to knock down, or at least weaken, these walls erected by censoring and oppressive forces. Today, the search-giant unveils a very special "doodle" and guest blog post by German musician, Nils Frahm.

"Seeking inspiration for this doodle we took a short bike ride from our Mountain View, California headquarters to our local public library to study an actual piece of the Berlin Wall. This graffitied chunk of concrete, once a literal division, has been transformed into a symbol of unity, a reminder to passersby of the triumph of the collective human spirit. It was moving to see it in person and, appropriately enough, spray-painted on this special slab are the German words 'Wir lieben dich' -- 'we love you'", says Ryan Germick and Liat Ben-Rafael, Google Doodle Team.

Nils Frahm explains, "I was seven years old when thousands of East German signature cars arrived in my hometown of Hamburg and filled the air with odd-smelling blue smoke. I saw strangers hugging each other, tears in their eyes, their voices tired from singing. I was too young to understand it all, but I had a very strong sense that life was different now -- and that different was better. A quarter-century later, it is our obligation to tell this story to all those who couldn't be there, who could not feel the spark of the peaceful revolution and, more importantly, who are fortunate enough not to know the feeling of an incarcerated, divided existence, trapped behind concrete walls.  It is a story that demands to be told today, and for generations to come".

These figurative walls that block information and ideas are very harmful; people's minds are essentially caged. The Internet has allowed the minds of many to be freed, regarding things like equality for gay marriage and equal rights for women. Sadly, some walls still exist.

Fortunately, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall teaches us that no wall can hold back the human spirit and its need for freedom and equality. Oppressive governments can try to block information from its citizens, but ultimately, just like the Germans tore down the Berlin Wall, so too will the people who are kept from information. People will find a way, and the Internet and companies like Google are lending a hand.

Photo Credit: RawpixelShutterstock

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