Monday, March 09, 2009

Iron Curtain : Ribbon of Life

The BBC has been running a series called Natural World over the past 15 weeks. I have only caught the last two episodes: A Farm for the Future, and the one named in my title. Both of those have been excellent, and all of them are still available to view on the BBC's iPlayer, though only for those in the UK I fear. They will not be there for long, as the series finished on Friday, but it is possible to download this last episode to your computer, where you can keep it for 30 days to view at your leisure. I'm sorry I didn't post this sooner. [Click on the title above to go straight to the video.]

This is what the BBC says about Iron Curtain : Ribbon of Life

"When communism crumbled in 1989, it created an opportunity for wildlife. The Iron Curtain that divided communist Eastern Europe from the capitalist West had created a no-man's-land protected by barbed wire and minefields - a last haven for many rare animals and plants. This film tells the story of the movement, led by biologist Dr Kai Frobel, that set out to save the wildlife of this precious strip.

"Now as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, we can also celebrate the birth of the biggest conservation movement in the world, a ribbon of life stretching 13,000 kilometres across Europe, protecting everything from bears and wolverines in Finland to rare eagles in Bulgaria."

I found this account deeply moving. I remember the sense of bitter frustration, that after six years of war to free the world of Nazism, the countries of Europe should find themselves once more hideously divided, this time by a country which had fought with us for freedom. I remember all the stories and films about families divided, and about people trying to escape from East to West, and losing their lives in the attempt. I remember my feelings, and my joyful tears, when the Berlin wall finally came down in 1989.

As I watched the story of how conservationists have set out to preserve the rare and the beautiful, inadvertently saved for us by this inhuman barrier, I wept again. It is a miracle.


Kissedaprincegotafrog said...

You're right, impossible to see BBC videos overseas (but I can listen to radio programmes) but, having seen past BBC documentaries of this kind, I have no trouble imagining how good it is. Many years ago, there was a wildlife documentary series called The Flight of the Condor that I would truly like to see again.
I have to admit that I would take issue with the term "communism crumbled in 1989" - it was totalitarianism and dictatorship in the Eastern bloc that crumbled. But that's a whole different discussion !

Sheila Joynes' Musical Diary said...

It was a fascinating programme - especially when they tracked the movement of the deer, who turned back when they reached the "wall" which is no longer there!