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William Kelly

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

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When I was in Berlin in July, 1990, there were gypsy bands playing on street corners everywhere.

I met an East German Intourist guide who told me the story of St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig, where they held Peace Prayers every Monday afternoon since the early 1980s.

When the gypsy street musicans were hassled by the police, they took refuge at St. Nichs, and with increased police and security crackdowns, the participants at the Prayers for Peace increased, so that by October, 1989, tens of thousands were participating.

While the crackdown on the street musicians fueled the protests, the peaceful demonstrations that began in Leipzig spread to other cities in East Germany, although there was not the media or news reporting that called the world's attention to what they were doing.

By November 9th, 1989, when the authorities finally relented, and opened the wall, Reagan and Gorbachev got all the credit and the Peace Prizes, but it was the pastor of St. Nichs and the people of Leipzig, fueled by the street musicians, who engaged the practices of peaceful resistance and protests that set in motion the forces that led to the wall coming down.

Since I didn't see any reporting of this story in the 20th anniversary media blitz the past week, I put together some articles that reflect this slighted history and put them up with a few photos on my WhiteDeerCafe blog. for those who are interested.

http://whitedeercafe.blogspot.com/

Bill Kelly

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