A ''No Trespassing'' sign marks the U.S./Mexico border wall. PAimages/Graham Charles Hunt Zuma. All rights reserved.
Each dark period of global instability has always brought its own terrifying perils: nuclear destruction, mega wars, genocide. Along with climate change, today’s pending era is one bloodily scarred with growing militarisation and securitisation. Like all periods of instability, the foundations of this one is built on dividing people, though this one seems to be manifesting in a dystopian-ly literal sense.
As Donald Trump comes into office, the most openly xenophobic US President and influential world leader of modern times, the “us and them” narrative further crystallises in the global paradigm.
Following chest-beating cries of the Great Wall that will be built between the US and Mexico, last week Trump went on to castigate Germany for their role in protecting a million people’s basic universal Human Rights (according to the UN Declaration 1948) to both leave one’s countries and seek asylum, by allowing them to apply for refugee status. What failed to flicker on Trump’s thought processes was the US’s interventionist policies role in destabilising many of the refugee-sending nations.
On Trump’s first day in the Presidency, the right-wing leaders of Europe, whose popularity rose through anti-migration sentiment, had a public meeting on how to push their collective agenda in Europe, which was hosted in Koblenz Germany by the anti-Islamic Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party. This follows a noted significant slump in interest to provide support to Syrian refugees, victims of the bloodiest war of this century, by both the UK and US.
However, within the west-centric media frenzy, it is easy to believe that the dehumanisation of the migrant and the building of walls is a phenomenon mainly restricted to the west. Though this is far from accurate. Since 9/11, incidents of securitised borders have more almost quadrupled across the world, reaching every inhabited continent.
Walls, some as high as eight meters, electric fences, razor wires, satellite surveillance and radars are creeping up around our nations; dividing parents from children, dividing able youth from work opportunities, dividing war victims and terrorist targets from security and dividing the oppressed from freedom. In many areas bloody conflicts do rage at the border, and illegal smuggling and the violence that comes with it are very real. Though, more often than not, it is the innocents who have a need to cross the border who make up the 99% and the victims of these great barriers.
Our leaders and media have proclaimed people on the move as swarms, coaches, criminals and rapists and have succeed in politicising and demonising the age-old human behaviour of migration. These walls and fences that grow around us are spun from misconceptions and lies: that barriers will stop terrorists or criminals; that terrorists are a greater threat than our own corrupt politicians, smoking, or ourselves; and that the poor, the ambitious and vulnerable on the move actually are a threat. From these divisive barriers and policies born from paranoia and misinformation, spills pain, suffering, lives wasted and lives lost.
We have already entered a world where it has become normal to demonise the migrant. With the rise of the right sweeping the west, and the growing profit made by corporations from securitising borders, let’s not forgot what migration means for those on the move. Let’s not forget what our opinions and policies formed from the comforts of our homes and castles mean for the people and families who have to face them. Let’s not forget to take time to think who these individuals are, and what drove them from what they call home in the first place.
By Rosanna Marilia Seleme Wiseman
A wall we’ll build,
Thirteen feet tall,
With spikes and lies and tails and spells.
It’ll keep them out:
The dirty ones,
The ones who smell.
A tale we’ll spin,
A web of lies,
Constructed with the blood and bodies
of the brown,
and yellow ones.
Drowning, dying, choking, crying.
Trying and trying and trying and trying.
Never stopping till they reach the top of the
virtual, physical, psychological
on our shores,
on other’s shores,
in our minds, in our hearts, in our heads
and most destructively of all;
in our souls.
The wall we’ve built
Hasn’t kept out our enemies outside our land
It has trapped them in:
Have become fused as one inside ourselves
Till we no longer recognise,
Our own lies,
From the truth,
From the fiction,
Daily Mail violence
Not because they took our jobs,
We became insular and like a parasite we have allowed our rage feed off our ‘pure blood’,
Our white blood cells thought they were better than the rest,
They said ‘We can fight off any foreign body’ without realising the infection was the white blood.
Cells, and jails and prison walls kept our friends,
Kept the ones who would tell us the truth
From reaching our shores,
And shaking our hands
And discovering that this land grew Great
Because it had stolen from
The brown and black lands.
They came not even to claim it back
This is mine, after all this time
You forced us to mine
For your die-monds,
The ones you hate came over to work
Once again for under minimum wage
To be abused
Once again slaves
Under a system of wage.
But you kept the love out,
You kept your hate in,
And you die,
A thousand times
Until these walls come crashing down,
Through the power,
And a rage,
That does not obsess over hate,
That fuels the fire in our hands,
That we pass on through the gates,
Through the borders,
Through the wires,
Throughout the times,
And releases the screws, the fences, the legal
Borders of our minds.
And love, more love, more and more love,
Took down these walls
Now we live as we once did
Walking through the lines the
old, rich, white men
drew on maps from their
high class, classical, classy, classrooms of colonialism.
We stand together,
We give back people what they were due,
the dues are repaid
We feel the dew at sunrise underneath our feet,
As our children, daughters and sons rise,
Their hands are joined together,
And as we have said time, and time and time again
There is justice
We can live in a world that is in one piece…