Now that we are celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, it reminded me of another famous fall of a city wall ca. 3000 BC. Old Testament describes the fall of the walls of Jericho and the fate of its inhabitants in the hands of the Israeli people (Book of Joshua, Chpt. 6):
… And the second day the people marched again around the walls of the city of Jericho, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. And in the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said unto the people: ”Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed to destruction, it and all who are in it”.
So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets: and it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, and …
… an infinitesimally improbable warp of space-time out of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle or Schrödinger’s cat experiment happens, that yanks Joshua into another time and place, where men, women and children shouting WIR SIND DAS VOLK(* are storming over and through a fallen wall, invading a city with great joy, but being this time welcomed by the people of that city with hugs, kisses, copious quantities of bubbly wine, tears of joy, pretzels and 100 D-Mark notes. Finally FREE from their separation inside and captivity outside of the walls of the city, singing, dancing and picnicking, they are touching each other for the first time in 28 years, and everyone has got more to tell than words for it.
Well, almost everyone. Joshua has lost all comprehension about what is going on, and so has a certain Mr. Honecker, who just emerged from the back door of a big black limousine behind a street corner. Both are watching, stunned, disbelieving their own eyes or ears. Joshua squeezes himself towards the centre of the hysterically euphoric crowd. To gain some control, he keeps on yelling out ”WE WON, WE HAVE TAKEN JERICHO”. Three teen-aged girls nearby laugh, ”Nein, Berlin, BERLIN-WEST”, and offer Joshua a bottle, ”Komm, trink etwas Sekt!”(#. Joshua shakes his head, sighs, understanding nothing but realising that this is no more his invasion, grabs the bottle, ”Why not, warum nicht, Danke”. Mr. Honecker, instead, chooses to pull his hat down, disappear into the shadows, leave his chauffeur jobless and his limo idling.
*) We are the people. The famous chant of the DDR opposition in 1989.
#) Come, have some champagne.