On October 9, 1989, in Leipzig, East Germany, exactly one month before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the whole city was talking about the non-violent demonstration planned for the evening. Everyone had been ordered not to go to the city centre in the evening. Everyone saw the tanks deployed, especially around St. Nicholas Church where weekly prayer meetings for peace were held and which had become the symbol of the protest against the oppressive regime. More than 8,000 soldiers and paramilitary militias of Communist workers were mobilised, with orders for a relentless crackdown. All the inhabitants knew about it: tonight, the order to shoot had been given. The fear of a bloodbath was great.
In the evening, 2000 people defied the ban, praying for peace in St. Nicholas church as they do every week. The other churches in the city centre are also full. The tension is at its peak at the end of the prayer; outside, weapons pointed at them will be waiting. The slightest spark will set things off. And then, like the young man who offered his 5 loaves and 2 fishes, someone proposed to light candles and for all to go out holding them in our hands while singing and praying. Here is the testimony of one participant: « When you carry a candle, you must use both hands. You have to protect the flame so that it doesn’t go out. This means that you can’t carry a stone or a stick in your hand at the same time. And this is the miracle! The armed forces were a bit shocked and began discussing among themselves. Then they withdrew. A member of the Central Committee of the East German government confessed: « We were prepared for everything, we had thought of everything, except for the candles bathed in songs of prayer.”
It was the flame of little candles that turned the tide: about 70,000 people dared to go out and gathered at Karl-Marx-Platz. They marched through the city centre, calling « Keine Gewalt! », « No violence! », even passing in front of the railway station and the Stasi headquarters, without any provocation, but with determination. In their just and non-violent struggle, they were ready to be killed, without killing in return. The lamb led to the slaughter? When millions of other people are ready to follow, what can those in power with their weapons do in front of such a mass of unarmed demonstrators? The fall of the wall was already underway as a result of these feet in the street and these hands holding candles aligned with their resolute vision. The spark ignited the fire? Via the international news, the whole country was informed. Millions more in the Soviet Bloc were encouraged to dare to contribute to the change that was happening. Awareness and time are more important than violence and rage!
Thank you for helping to make known the date of October 9, 1989, a decisive date for the rest of history: the fall of the Berlin Wall, through the awakening of consciences and hearts without violence, without a violent revolution. Thank you to the people who will forward this post. Peace in the world begins with such small acts, which can seem as insignificant as candles held in the hand, and yet they make a difference!