9th November, 1989

It's a grey Thursday afternoon in November, 1989. 

I've finally got my college room organised to my satisfaction: single bed pushed lengthways against the window; side table at the foot, holding my hifi and a small lamp; big wooden desk and chair in front of the noticeboard on the adjacent wall.

I've got the radio of my hifi on, tuned to Radio 4, listening to the news. Amongst coverage of the ambulance crew strikes in London, and continued commentary on the vote at the Church of England Synod to allow the ordination of women, comes the news that the Berlin wall has fallen.

I'm immediately seized by wild joy. I get up on my bed and bounce up and down in front of my window, whooping. I've been part of the peace movement for the past seven years, marching and sitting and writing letters and praying. 

This is what we have been working towards, hoping for, for so long: the end of the cold war, the fall of the iron curtain, the cessation of pointless hostilities and the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction.

The sun comes out. I sit on my bed, breathless and grinning. In that moment, I am assured of the justification of hope: we shall overcome.

Looking back now, I love that 19 year old me, so joyful. And I grieve for them, for the disillusionment that was to come. 

Image credit: SSgt. F. Lee Corkran, DoD 

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