I do remember the pictures on the TV so clearly. And I remember that I couldn’t really believe them. Surely it was a temporary glitch. Surely the people of east Berlin had not just forced the gates and crossed the border. Surely the might of Russia would come crashing down. But days passed, and nothing happened. And people was chipping away on the Berlin wall. And after a while, the East German military started actually dismantling it, and my skepticism and fear slowly lifted into a euphoria that lasted almost a year, and a lingering happiness that lasted longer. A great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The world had been changed.
And the world changed a lot. And that’s probably why this state of happiness I was in lasted for so long. When the wall fell, and the the Soviet union, the world I grew up in disappeared completely. Because in that world, nuclear war was not a risk, it was a certainty. There was never a doubt the world would end in a nuclear war, it was just a question of when, and what would be best: Getting burned to death by radiation, or be forced to live through the Mad Max-hell that surely was how the post apocalyptic world would look. That dark, gloomy and doomed world was changed to a globalized, peaceful world. And it was a world that had a soundtrack, and the soundtrack was called MTV Europe.
Because something that propelled me through this state of happiness that lasted years was the constant reminder from MTV Europe. MTV Europe was only two years old when the wall fell, and in some sense probably still finding it’s feet and it’s audience. And to my constant joy, a large part of that audience turned out to be the youth of eastern Europe. The MTV of the early 90’s would with great fanfare welcome new countries of eastern Europe as they gained coverage there. In 1992 Ray Cokes started the show MTV’s Most Wanted, where people could call in and wish for songs. And armed with only a handful of words in English, people would call in on crappy telephone lines from what then seemed to be remote parts of Europe we hardly have heard of, and ask songs for they loved ones. The youth of Europe was united to a single rhythm.
But in 1993 I moved, and for various reasons I didn’t have MTV until 1997, when to my dismay I found MTV Nordic on my TV instead of MTV Europe. The magic bond to the youth of Europe had broken, and the sense of freedom and globalization I had in the early 90’s had disappeared, as the new Europe had become normality. But if I ever despair about the state of the world, I only have to remember back to those early 90’s and the nervous teenagers that was using Ray Cokes as an expression of their newfound freedom.
It’s getting better. Peoples thirst for freedom will win in the end. Sometimes it goes slowly, sometimes fast, sometimes it may go a bit backwards. But it is getting better.