Can Europe Make It?

Borders of our mind

Our leaders and media have proclaimed people on the move as swarms, coaches, criminals and rapists and succeeded in politicising and demonising the age-old human behaviour of migration.

April Humble
26 January 2017

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.


The Wall

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 cockroaches,

The ones who smell.

A tale we’ll spin,

A web of lies,

Constructed with the blood and bodies

of the brown,

and black,

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


We’ve built

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,

The fact,

From the fiction,

The figures,

From the

Daily Mail violence

We suffer,

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


To say,


This is mine, after all this time

You forced us to mine

For your die-monds,

And gold,

And silver,

And coal.


The ones you hate came over to work

Once again for under minimum wage

To be abused

And scarred,

And raped.

Once again slaves

Under a system of wage.

But you kept the love out,

You kept your hate in,

And you die,

You die,

You die

A thousand times

Until these walls come crashing down,

Through the power,

And love,

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 care,

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,

And Now,

We give back people what they were due,

and Now,

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…




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