23.10.14

La malaltia dels murs

The Berlin Wall made Berliners sick. In 1973, East German psychiatrist Dietfried Müller-Hegemann observed that the Berlin Wall caused psychosis, schizophrenia, and phobias in the East Germans who lived in its shadow. Those who lived near the wall suffered behavioral problems such as rage and dejection. They showed elevated rates of alcoholism and suicide. The closer to the physical wall his patients lived, the more acute their disorders. One woman even suffered lock-jaw. Müller-Hegemann called the syndrome Mauerkrankheit, Wall Disease, and though he could not thoroughly research the syndrome for fear of prosecution, Müller-Hegemann predicted depression, despondency and high suicide rates would persist in Berlin for as long as the wall stood. The only remedy was to bring it down. Sure enough, in 1990, another East German psychotherapist named Hans Joachim Maaz wrote of the “emotional liberation” felt on the November night the wall finally fell. “The wall’s fall was the emotional climax of the unloading, the cathartic breaking-through of the unconscious. The emotional blockage unclogged, the repressed came to the surface and the parts that had been split apart, united.

de la introducció de "Walls: Travels along the barricades" de Marcello Di Cintio