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Alfred J. Garrotto

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· There's More: A Novella of Life and Afterlife

· The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story

· The Wisdom of Les Miserables: Lessons From the Heart of Jean Valjean

· Down a Narrow Alley

· I'll Paint a Sun

· Circles of Stone

· A Love Forbidden

· Finding Isabella

· Battling Writer's Guilt

· The Saint With the Dragon Tattoo

· My Cello Year

· In a Child's Eyes

· We Both Had Dads Named Joseph

· Highjacked by a Great Novel

· When All Else Fails

· House of Faith

· A Little Night Music

· Keep It Simple . . . The Way Jesus Did

· A Wedding Prayer-Poem

· A Prayer for Esther on Her Birthday

· Earth Mother”

· In Memory of Bill Joyce

· Aging Actor

· Graduation 2003 . . . Wedding 2010

· A Wedding Toast

· Driver's Prayer

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Vacation or Crash Course in 20th c. History?
11/25/2009 4:47:24 PM

Reflections on Seeing the Berlin Wall

I took this photo on July 13, 2009, at a still-standing portion of the Berlin Wall that faces the former Eastern Zone. Although the inscription was a recent addition to the colorful graffiti, I found its simple message appropriate and moving.

Esther and I spent 13 days in Northern Europe. Our vacation turned into a crash course in 20th century European and Russian history. In addition to having the privilege of touching the Wall, we also stood at the shipyard gates in Gdansk, Poland, where Lech Walesa and his brave coworkers, founded the Solidarity movement and demanded justice for dock workers and their families. The Communist authorities severely persecuted the strikers. What the regime didn't know in the late 1970s was that their punitive response marked the beginning of the end for a brutal system of government that expected to impose its will into the future, without end.

Although I'm still processing the thoughts and emotions experienced in our travels, I can say that I learned three important truths:

1. Ordinary, seemingly powerless people can change the world by standing up for what they believe.

2. Leaders who use power to oppress their people are nothing more than paper tigers. Their "absolute power" is a fiction. They can oppress only until people wake up and say they've had enough.

3. The human spirit cannot be crushed for long. Good will overcome evil in the end. Just not soon enough to prevent untold suffering. Sadly, someone needs to put his or her life on the line--as Jesus did--to expose the emptiness of evil.

Nov. 9, 2009, will mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall and reunification of Germany. There will be a mammoth celebration in Berlin. My heart will be there, too, celebrating the triumph of freedom and praying for all in the world who still suffer under oppressive regimes. May they find courage to expose the paper tigers cowering beneath the use of savage force.

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More Blogs by Alfred J. Garrotto
• With My Own Eyes - Wednesday, November 25, 2009
•  Vacation or Crash Course in 20th c. History? - Wednesday, November 25, 2009  

• Deja Vu: For the First Time - Wednesday, November 25, 2009
• Coming in January 2007--Down a Narrow Alley - Monday, December 18, 2006

Holy Qur'an: An Intimate Portrait by John Herlihy

The journey of a sacred revelation from a cave in Makkah down through the centuries until the modern era when the book still serves to enlighten billions of people and guides them ..  
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