1989 – The Fall of the Wall

    About Fikrun

    Fikrun wa Fann was a cultural magazine published by the Goethe Institute from 1963 to 2016 that supported and shaped the cultural exchange between Germany and Islamic countries. Together with the publishing of the last issue, “Flight and Displacement” (issue 105), in autumn of 2016 the maintenance and updating of this online portal was ceased.
    Students at the Tianmen-Square 1989; Photo: Sadayuki Mikami/AP

    Beyond the German-German Horizon
    1989 Around the World

    In Berlin the year 1989 is associated with the fall of the Wall; in Germany as a whole with the reunification of the country. Yet in an age of intensive global cultural exchange, in which internationally integrated thinking plays an ever-increasing role, it seems absolutely essential that we extend our horizon on the events of 1989 and see them from a global perspective. By Susanne StemmlerMore ...
    East German Housing Type P2, 1974; Photo: Sibylle Bergmann

    Losing One's Country
    The Shock of Reunification

    How does a former East German citizen who has only just arrived in West Germany feel when, a few months later, her country disintegrates before her eyes? What exactly were the differences between East and West in terms of mentality and way of life, and how do you successfully bridge these differences and learn to live with them? By Roswitha HaringMore ...
    Julia Franck; Photo: Thorsten Greve © S. Fischer Verlag 2009

    Narration: The Way to Overcome the Border
    A Biographical East-West Rupture

    Julia Franck’s East-West experiences as a girl and young woman give a painful insight into the West’s ignorance of the GDR during Germany’s years of division. This ignorance contrasts sharply with the euphoria that swept the country upon reunification. By Julia FranckMore ...
    The former Berlin Wall area; Photo: Stephan Kaluza © Dumont Verlag 2009

    Losing One's Country
    The Shock of Reunification

    One can have two home countries and two languages like poet Adel Karasholi, who is of Syrian origin but has spent most of his life in Eastern Germany. For him the fall of the wall bears a special meaning. By Adel KarasholiMore ...
    The former Berlin Wall area; Photo: Stephan Kaluza © Dumont Verlag, Köln 2009

    Parallel Stories
    Migrants in Reunited Germany

    When people talk about the social upheavals of 1989, an inter-German perspective always dominates. The point of view of migrants is scarcely taken into account. By Nevim ÇilMore ...
    Berlin, Potsdamer Platz, 1986; Photo: Ute and Bernd Eickemeyer

    Arab Politics and 1989
    Of a Stone That Arrived in the Mail

    While Europe at the end of the 1980s was the epicentre of this ‘earthquake’, the shock waves were felt in every corner of the globe. From one day to the next, allies of the United States in the Arab world found themselves in the ranks of the victor; while the allies of the Soviet Union and the Socialist Bloc found themselves stripped bare at the forefront of the ranks of the losers. By Hassan KhaderMore ...
    Queue in front of a polling station in the Tokoza township in Eastern Johannesburg during South Africa’s first free elections, following the end of apartheid. Johannesburg/ South Africa, April 26th 1994; Photo: David Brauchli/AP

    1989-’90 in South Africa
    The End of Apartheid

    The year 1989-’90 also marks a decisive turning point in Africa, and especially in South Africa: the end of the apartheid regime. How did this come about, and what is the state of affairs there twenty years later? By Andreas EckertMore ...
    Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan, at a press conference in Peshawar, Pakistan, August 9th 1989; Photo: Kees Metselaar/Hollandse Hoogte/laif

    Red and Green Danger
    A Discussion about the Distortion in the Perception of Islam after 1989
    With Jihan El Tahri, Manthia Diawara, Mueni Wa Muiu, Andreas Eckert

    African leaders have still not addressed the effects of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Yet for Africa too it has had major repercussions. This is also true with regard to the role of Islam, which is still central to numerous political conflicts in Africa today. By Jihan El TahriMore ...
    Part of the exhibit “Walls”; Photo: Mira Stobbe © Goethe-Institut e.V.

    Confronting the New Wall
    Artistic Resistance in Palestine

    Although Mauerreise (Walls) opened in the Goethe Institute in Ramallah this summer, it will not culminate until this autumn, on the 9th of November to be precise, the date of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the infamous Berlin Wall. Then cascading giant dominoes representing pieces of the Berlin Wall will symbolise the fall of the Berlin Wall. By Tahsin YaqinMore ...
    Walls in Baghdad; Photo: Picture Alliance

    Baghdad, the Lawless City

    Baghdad has become a city of fire, massacres, blood, and ashes. Its quarters are separated by walls of concrete. But the walls in the minds of the people are even higher. By Hussain al-MozanyMore ...
    Jürgen Habermas; Photo: Isolde Ohlbaum

    The Consensual God
    On the 80th Birthday of Jürgen Habermas

    Heavenly things may be significant but earthly affairs are at least equally important. What does Jürgen Habermas think about religion? By Kersten KnippMore ...
    1984, Berlin, Marx-Engels-Square; Photo: Harald Hauswald

    The Country is Still There
    Photos from the GDR

    The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall has brought forth a plethora of comprehensive exhibitions about day-to-day life in the GDR. Comprehensive they may be, but they do not solve any persistent riddles. By Regina MönchMore ...
    Young couple in Cairo; Photo: Markus Kirchgessne

    Research Adventures
    Seven Anthropology Students Go Diving into Egyptian Society

    The book Youth, Gender and the City, edited by Thomas Hüsken and published by the Goethe Institute Cairo, reads like an adventure story. Seven anthropology students from Berlin’s Free University spend a semester in the megacity of Cairo. By Julia GerlachMore ...