Not for the first time, the human race seems to be in a frenzy of building walls. We have the physical barriers, such as that which separates Israel from the Palestinians in the West Bank, the Saudi Arabia barriers with Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, etc., the various Russian barriers with Norway, Finland, China, Poland, etc., Turkey and Syria, Turkey and Greece both on the mainland ands on Cyprus, Spain and Morocco, Egypt and the Gaza Strip, India and Pakistan, Loyalist-Republican areas of Northern Ireland (UK), Malaysia and Thailand, South Africa with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and so many more.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States wanted to build a 2,000 mile wall along the US-Mexico border. Where differences in political beliefs were once accepted and could be debated rationally, we are becoming societies that build virtual walls against those differences, so that we look at each other as if the devil incarnate. Spend any amount of time on a political site on Facebook and you will read comments so full of hate and insults that you are forced to wonder when actual war will break out between the sides.
More and more walls. Walls around your neighborhood, walls around your city, walls around your country. Walls around other people, and ultimately walls around yourself.
A wall is fear. And fear, whether justified or not, can be an understood response. Certainly, we fear the criminals in our society, but walls kept out the innocent as well. We fear “the stranger”: beliefs, culture, ways of dressing, languages other than our own become forces from which we need to protect ourselves and our children–for we fear that their coming is a threat to our national identities and our way of life. We focus on the few that are a threat at the expense of the vast. majority who only want to live, to breathe, to be free. Where we once had witch-hunts because we feared what we believed to be supernatural forces out to do us evil, we continue these hunts even today by just substituting a different “evil” : the Black, the Hispanic, the Jew, the Atheist, the Muslim, the homosexual, and on and on.
I do not want to be a wall.