East Germany: Lending an Ear

Lending an Ear East Berlin's leaders finally seem willing to listen to the country's dissenters, whose fledgling movement lacks an agenda and a Walesa

A nation's leadership often hears what it wants to hear, but few have seemed quite so deaf to the public's demands as East Germany's rulers. Thousands flee the country, protesters stage hunger strikes in churches, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev offers a gentle lecture in person -- none of it seemed to make a difference. But last week as the cries for democratic reform reached a crescendo in cities across East Germany, the leaders in East Berlin demonstrated that their hearing faculties were intact -- and that they were distressed by the rising noise level.

After a two-day session, the 21 members...

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