From: Emilio Gonzalez 
Subject: 6.25.00 - 2:39 - berlin, germany

berlin is a fascinating city. ceaseless, huge, seemingly filled with many
opposites. it seems to be locked in a cycle of decay and renewal, destruction and
construction, death and rebirth. the center of berlin bristles with construction
cranes - it seems like you can't walk two blocks without encountering something
that isn't being either torn down or built. the progress of german society,
happening at a corner near you.

but this progress, sweeping, gleaming, magnificent, seems to just contribute to
the dichotomy of berlin. glass-clad edifices of capitalist culture sit aside
gritty, crumbling buildings that house squatters and artist's collectives. less
than a block from where the berlin wall was stands ritzy shopping centers, home
to gucci, prada and other names that quadruple the price. progress indeed.

seeing the wall itself was an emotional experience, joy and sadness, fear and
freedom. in central berlin, there is little more than a blocklong strech in one
place and a piece perhaps a hundred feet long in another, adopted by artists as a
concrete canvas. but to see it, to touch it, so see it's decay, holes forming,
ghosts of grafitti lurking on it's crumbling circus, a skeleton of rebar showing
through it's shattered surface, to walk along it, to think of all it has stood
for and all it stands for now, to stand against it is to know it as something
more than wall. for thirty years it was a universal constant, the wall, something
that stood between the evil empire and the glorious future - but who was who
depended on who you asked. it was all it looked like, solid, concrete, armed with
barbed wire, mines, and machine guns; it was all efforts by the outside to keep
themselves out. escape to the inside, a wall to an island of freedom.