A new wall being built to separate Sunni’s and shite’s in Iraq. This is a very ominous image, an image of danger and division. It sends a wave of fear to developing countries of what the now all powerful USA is capable of doing to countries which are not strong. Walls and fences have been built through out history and the current leaders are continuing that tradition in the name of security and peace. Major divisions were and are,
Berlin wall for east and West Berlin
Israeli wall for itself and west bank
Iraq wall for Sunni’s and shites
Iran wall for Iran and Pakistan
Saudi wall which separates it from Iraq and Yemen
Thailand wall for itself and Malaysia
Indian fence for Bangladesh and Pakistan
Pakistani fence for Pakistan and Afghanistan
Botswana electric fence for Zimbabwe
USA fence for Mexico.
Building a wall in today’s context is a malaise of deep internal division in the minds of political leadership and also a lack of true leadership qualities amongst the leaders of the nations. Walls per-se are isolatory and kills the spirit of the people. You cannot shut out people by barriers of concrete / fencing and still expect peace and prosperity. If a wall is built the inborn urge of people living close to the wall is to break it. Because the human spirit is free and doesn’t wants to be bonded. Building a wall is like treating a symptom without attempting to treat the disease underlying the symptom. Then why are so many walls being built. Security, economic factors and political reasons.
Walls if built by a nation to protect itself from perceived and real threats have a certain degree of political substance. But it’s to be noted that no wall has been permanent and the greatest wall of the world, “the china wall” has no relevance in today’s world as the territories which the china wall divided are part of a single nation today.
Economic mismanagement in nations creates poor living conditions which force their people to migrate to neighbouring countries in large numbers. Bangladeshis migrate to India, Mexicans to USA. So if there a pocket of prosperity and poverty side by side it’s natural that migration will be in the direction of poverty to prosperity. That issue becomes a political hot potato for governments as it involves human rights also.
Building political walls in other nations has been a policy of the British and now USA, which is the reason for so many conflicts in the world. Many political walls are regions of fierce conflicts and some of them evolve into physical walls of concrete and electric fencing. Many a time the people separated by those walls share similar customs and traditions, are from the same or similar ethnic groups and there is a longing for them to be united again.
South Koreans and North Korean people are similar with relatives on either side. Indians living on border area share a bonding with their ilk on the side of the Pakistani border. A naïve solution would be the re-unification of these countries. Will that happen? No it will not because these walls are built and sustained purely for political reasons.Inspite of causing family divisions, increased military spending and conflicts these walls are being sustained. It’s easy to build a wall by deception or triggering off underlying ethnic divisions but to bring down a wall takes a leader of great stature like Mr.Gorbachev who bought down the Berlin wall. If you talk to people of the countries involved you would know the difference it made to their lives. Considering the fact that the world hasn’t produced too many great leaders its better that the world leaders put a halt to constructing new walls and fences and learn to be diplomatic in solving issues.
If the USA is building a wall today in Iraq tomorrow it can trigger ethnic tensions between Christians, Hindus and Muslims in India and build walls between say Mumbai and Pune? So will it build a wall between various ethnic factions through out the developing countries? The present wall in Iraq is a reminder to tell the world that the US is strong nation and nobody should dare to mess with it. While its capabilities in building bridges are limited no one should question its authority and power to build walls and divide people.