Separation walls and the new security state: our readers write

Our October issue featured the story “Israeli High Court Returns Palestinian Lands? Don’t Believe the Hype!” by WW4 REPORT co-editor David Bloom, finding: “A review of the decisions shows that even in the few cases where the High Court decided in favor of Palestinians, the benefits to the villages have been minimal… In a widely publicized ruling, on Sept. 4, the town of Bil’in won a case at the High Court to have the barrier moved, saving 500 acres of its farmland which had been isolated from the rest of the village by the wall. But the very next day, in a separate ruling that received little media attention, the court ruled that Matityahu East, a large, new settlement outpost being built within the wall on part of Bil’in’s land, could stay. So while the publicized decision returned lands to Bil’in, the quiet one upheld an illegal grab of other village lands.” Our October Exit Poll was: “Separation barriers appear to be the icon of the new security state from the West Bank to Baghdad to the US-Mexican border. Are there still potentialities for a just co-existence (Israeli-Palestinian, Sunni-Shi’ite, gringo-Latino), or do ‘good fences make good neighbors’ and it is just a question of where to draw the line?” We received the following responses:

From Margery Coffey in Rosalie, Nebraska:

Barriers are a sham to give money to corporations that build them. They don’t work. People will be people and will always find a way to work around barriers. The Berlin Wall did not really stop traffic. The Mexican Wall won’t either. It is just a stupid waste of materials and money but Haliburton will have plenty of cost overruns to bank.

WW4 REPORT replies: We wish we could believe that the security walls were only a pork-fest for Halliburton and their ilk, but unfortunately we don’t think so. The real aim is social control, and the pork is just a side-benefit. Just because the border wall won’t be effective (and we agree that it won’t) doesn’t mean it is not intended to be.

Which brings us to our next reply…

From Joseph Wetmore in Ithaca, New York:

The real fences are economic. We all get along fine until one group gets a bigger piece of the pie. Then, predictably, the one with only crumbs feels resentment. Those with the pie build fences to keep separate those with the crumbs and those with the fat slices of pie.

WW4 REPORT replies: Wealth disparities are a big part of the picture, but they don’t always explain everything. The wall around Baghdad’s Green Zone separates the elite from the masses, but the walls between the Sunni and Shi’ite districts separate the poor from each other. Here in the US, it is sectors of the Anglo working class who are calling most vociferously for the border wall, while sectors of corporate power are happy to have cheap Mexican migrant labor to exploit.

From Kim Alphandary in San Diego:

First, I love the title to your excellent article about Pakistan: BOOTS, BEARDS, BURQAS, BOMBS. This reminds me of the slogan: “God, Guns, Gold, Groceries and Gritz” used by Bo Gritz in his presidential campaign… These Christian Patriot types use Jihadi sounding terminology like: Eternal Warriors, Warrior-Priests, Spiritual Warfare, and Almost Heaven – a paramilitary training community…

Question: “potentialities for a just co-existence.” Hum. As I sit in San Diego County and look out my window, what do I see? Mexicans, the majority population of San Diego is Mexican. Currently the difference between Mexico and California is the well kept public spaces: roads, parks, financial districts, and maquilladoras (industrial parks). This wall is a wall keeping Mexicans from Mexicans, perhaps more reminiscent of the Berlin wall. Is this not the nature of walls, the separation of families/friends from one another?

From Jan Martell in (we think) New York City:

It matters what kind of lines to draw. Good fences make good neighbors, keeping my cow out of your corn. But there are gates and stiles for people to cross. A security barrier is not a fence, it’s a weapon of political power, and it says “You are not my neighbor, you are my enemy.”

From “JG” in New York City:

‘Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,’
Robert Frost

Are there still potentialities for a just co-existence?

Israeli-Palestinian: Eventually, maybe.

Sunni-Shi’ite: Case by case basis. In Iraq, probably not until after a real bad shakeout.

Gringo-Latino: No problem unless the brownshirts – wait, need different reference … – nativists – no too limited – stupid racist white people (that’ll have to do for now) continue to control the US from their minority position.

‘Imagine there’s no countries.’

See our last posts on Israel/Palestine, Iraq’s sectarian cleansing, and the struggle for the border. See our last Exit Poll results.

  1. Fences within the United States
    One set of fences within the US separate young people within the juvenile detention system — ephemistically known as residential fostercare — from the rest of us.

    The world inside includes mass psychiatric druggings, too few staff to keep the hundreds of residents safe, and medical neglect of physical needs.

    Hundreds of teenagers in outrageous emotional pain, removed from all they love in the world, are not likely to be completely nonviolent towards each other. Physical and sexual abuse are common between residents and even when staff end up killing a resident while he or she is in restraints, the incident receives little press. Witness a death at Tryon facility in upstate NY last year.

    When the residents run away, they run either into the arms of their biological family which can neither protect them nor get the help they need to keep their families together. Quite likely they will run into the arms of the gangs or other underground organizations which exist to take advantage of them and perhaps provide them with a high risk income.

    The fences designed to separate nationalities and cultures of people also exist to separate all nationalities of underclass young people within the United States from the rest of the population. In doing so, they insure the mass traumatization of the next generation.