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Yearning to be free

November 13, 1984



To Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest, and Budapest they have come in search of it. They are East Germans, and what they're looking for is freedom: In hope of gaining asylum in the West they are occupying West German embassies in these four Soviet-bloc capitals.

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It is yet another example of mankind's unquenchable yearning for freedom, pointedly expressed from Afghanistan to Chile, with stops between.

In the narrow view the sit-ins put West Germany in a difficult position. It is concerned that they will damage efforts to improve relations with East Germany and cause the East German government to turn off the flow of legal emigration. This year the East German government has permitted more than 25,000 of its citizens to emigrate legally to West Germany. In addition, since 1961 when the Berlin Wall was built, 38,000 East Germans have surreptitiously fled to the West.

The sit-ins should remind Westerners not to view the Soviet Union and its satellites naively. People fortunate enough to live in freedom should appreciate it. As the sit-ins show, it is especially prized by those who lack it.