July 2008 – Another Break In The Wall, or Another Wall To Break?

By Maria E. Montano

When one thinks about walls to edify, one thinks about construction, progress and development. However, when one thinks about walls that physically try to separate societies of people, one tends to think opposite with regards to human sociological development. There is no construction of mutual bonds and human compromises to meet everyone’s needs. 

In the experience of different civilizations, it has already been long proven that gigantic walls do not prevent people from crossing over or under them. Take the Great Wall of China, first built during the Ch’in Dynasty, 210 B.C. This was to keep the northern nomads, Mongols, out of China. The wall was rebuilt over and over for centuries to follow. The original plan did not work, but there are many people buried in the wall, both builders and warriors.

More recently, we had the case of the Berlin Wall; which separated the German society. Between 1945 and 1982 German families and relatives were separated by a wall at their border. This was a response to the Nazi regime, when it tried to rule the western world during World War II. Not even 45 years later that wall came down, at the hands of the German youth. Both side were able to reconcile their political differences, and again unite their cultural roots as one nation. During those 45 years the German people missed their relatives and suffered much emotional trauma; not being able to travel all over Germany as their ancestors had done. The removal of that wall was a historical moment around the modern world.

In the case of Israel and Palestine we now have the great cement slab, that stands gigantically erect, hovering over both Israel and Palestine since 2002. It is indeed a threatening sight, even in photographs. Again, an intimidating wall put up as a symbol of political authority to create separation between two societies. Yet, the wall is just a reminder of the disagreements of religious views of culturally different people, who happen to be neighbors. The wall reminds everyone that the separation is uncompromising. How will the two societies contribute to the sociological progress and evolution of the world, if not through the exchange of ideas, language, food, customs and traditions, and just plain civility?

This is an attempt from totalitarian-type governments to have full control over what people say and do: They are unwilling to allow articulation and amicable communication between communities of people. 

If there was more daily social interaction, it would allow for more bonding, and possibly an analysis of what the “enemy” is really like, once the initial prejudgement is effaced. 

Today, there is the proposal to legislate a physical wall of separation at the U.S. border with Mexico. Is this a congruent idea? What effects will it have on both societies, and, the world? Have we really stopped to examine human resources and human relations in cases of totalitarian separation of peoples and cultures? Should we not reconsider lessons of the past before we allow present governments to create more separation, going opposite the sociological evolution of civilized nations?

There is much room left for articulation and rethinking of these ideas. 

These physical walls have never proven to be a solution to world economic problems and overpopulation.

 The world community needs to come together to protest intentions of governments to create massive walls to separate nations. 

The world was developed by people who liked to adventure to faraway lands: Marco Polo, Columbus, Captain Cook, Magellan, Darwin, Neil Armstrong, and John Glenn were some who made the world a little better. They discovered lands, people, and sometimes new knowledge and ideas to further civilization. 

The evolution of humankind is that of constant migration and immigration. Cement walls were not ever made by nature, but mountains were made to climb.

Today’s proposal to build a wall between present day Mexico and the United States is yet another useless attempt to separate a society of people from their cultural and linguistic ties. Just like Germany, just like in ancient China, and now Palestine and Israel. People will always find a way to continue to communicate and to better the world. Or have we forgotten about the Ho Chi Minh trail?

We don’t need your thought control.
–Pink Floyd, circa 1973