In the city where I live there is a wall, or rather a piece of the wall to remind us of the days of oppression, of the division of families, hearts and the absence of freedom. There is even a museum where we can see and read the stories of how hundreds of people tried to escape or jump over that wall. Last year, in the absence of the pandemic, the Brandenburg Gate in the center of Berlin was full of people dancing and listening to the musical celebration because of the 30th anniversary of the falling of the wall on November 9, 1989. We celebrated in the middle of a Berliner cold, that did not intimidate us into joining the celebration of freedom. The stories of divided families because of the wall were recount from the stage. It was an emotional day that I will never forget.
Unfortunately, the Berlin wall is not the only wall that I have seen in my life. The last wall I saw is the one between Israel and Palestine last year. It was a day bathed in the hot summer sun where the body looks for the shadows under the trees and welcomes any kind of wind in the air. That day a Korean friend and I decided to visit Bethlehem, a small town in Palestine. We were staying at Jerusalem and to go to foreign territory we had to ask for the help of a friendly, attentive and very nice tour guide. Seeing the dividing wall made a great impression on me and a deep sadness sink in thinking that in the world there is so much terror, violence and human stupidity. Nearby I saw a memorable photograph of an old woman carrying an old key with her. It was the key from her abandoned house and the photo said: “Someday I’ll return.” Seeing the eyes of hope in the face of a grandmother that could have been mine and had to flee her house because of the war moved my heart deeply.
Perhaps the walls have an importance for me, because in the country that adopted me, a wall is being built. A wall that divides my past and my present. It is a country where I found friends for life and that led me through a path to a wonderful man who today is the father of my children and my husband. It is in the United States of America where a wall is being build today, a country I have started to miss here in Berlin as the autumns awakens and begin to turn the sky dark, and the trees start to shed their red and orange leaves. Maybe that wall has a special meaning for me because my origins are Mexican, and I have heard of the many deaths that happen in the dessert that dives these two countries. Like the death of a 19-year-old Guatemalan girl that happened in May of this year. The teenager was pregnant with an eight-month-old baby when she fell off the wall. She and her baby were pronounced dead at the hospital.
We could use our vote to choose political leaders that could make wrong or right decisions about dividing families, (like in Berlin), decisions to build walls, spread suspicion, racism, hatred, but they can never change my heart, nor yours. Maybe you and I will never understand why they do it, and maybe we can never change these things alone, but we can change how we live our life today in our homes, at work, around the ones we love, or the people who are different from us.
Berlin has really taught me a great lesson and it has been about building bridges. Bridges with people who do not believe like me, with people who do not speak my mother tongue, with people who grew up in different cultures, who have different values, these is the kind of people I have learned to adapt and to love and whom 31 years ago broke down a wall.
I would like to remember and to live this lesson for the rest of my life; I would like to build more bridges while I can. Bridges through friendship, love and respect with people who are not like me. Sometimes like Martin Luther King I also have a dream. My dream is; what would it be like if all the mothers in the world taught our children this? To accept, to love, to embrace these different children, because of their culture, their color, their language, their disability, or their religion. What would it be if we taught them to play together, to share food, our garden, a birthday, a Thanksgiving, a Christmas party? What if all the women in the world could believe in building ties with those who are different from themselves? I like to believe that we would surely have better families, better peoples, better nations, there would be more love, more understanding, less hatred, less violence, no war and more peace.
If my dream were to come true, I am sure that this world would have more bridges and no more walls.