I was in my mid-teens when the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain fell. I was more interested in girls, hanging out with friends and, sadly, bus spotting than the fall of Communism across Eastern Europe and the USSR.
But my over-riding memory is of willing the people on to rise up and demand their freedom as images of massive chunks being chipped off the Berlin Wall were shown on John Craven’s Newsround.
Now a similar thing seems to be happening across the Arab world. After decades of oppression, these people are demanding their freedom too as we watch in wonder, hoping they realise their dream.
Thanks to the internet and ease of communication with websites such as Facebook, the world is becoming a smaller place. Slowly but surely, people are wanting the same civil liberties and freedoms we enjoy in the Western world.
Middle Eastern countries have become very rich through oil, but this wealth doesn’t seem to have been passed down to the people. Stellar-rich princes are buying football clubs and building their own offshore islands, but little has been done to improve the general way of life of the people.
Removing dictators is never easy. But my biggest fear is for the Libyan people. I believe Gaddafi has only ever cared about himself, not them. Can you believe he is using snipers against his own people? That aircraft are bombing their own? But they must not give up, as now is the time.
Gaddafi’s power over the people is hanging by a thread. The people of Iran tried an uprising a few years ago, but it was quickly quashed. I bet they’re now watching developments with interest.
Surely these ‘Presidents’ must feel their time is coming to an end as people will no longer tolerate living in fear? With Libya, there are many unanswered questions. Its involvement in the Lockerbie bombing, funding of the IRA, killing of British police officers and the Berlin bombings? Maybe those answers are not too far away.
These are potentially momentous times for Arab people. I’m sure, like in Eastern Europe, there will be conflicts. But as things have eventually settled there, so I hope peace and democracy descend on the Middle East.