Barriers. They seem to be everywhere. I remember when I was a child until I was in my mid twenties. The Berlin Wall was a symbol of our divided world. People in East Berlin were shot if they tried to cross from their side of the wall to the west. It was a long lasting symbol of us and them. Then in 1989 the wall came down. Suddenly there was free movement from east to west. And the world rejoiced.
Other walls have existed throughout the ages and they too were symbols of us and them. The Great Wall of China was built to keep various Eurasian armies out. Hadrian's wall was built to separate the Romans from the Britons. And from the bible we hear about Joshua whose armies blew great trumpets and the walls came a tumbling down.
Today in our modern world, we have other talks of walls- some figurative, some literal. Donald Trump wants to build a wall on his southern border to cut down on illegal immigration.In the Middle East, Palestinians must cross through several walls each day to get to work and school. But there are figurative walls as well. Pro-Brexit voters want to separate themselves from Europe. Australian politicians want to stop the boats. Many evangelical Christians want to separate themselves from people of other faiths, people who have different beliefs about abortion, and people who have different sexual orientations. Some people want to stop migrants from coming to us, because they are different. Some people want to associate with people who are only just like them.
In some ways I like walls. I live in a multi family apartment block. I am sure that most of the people living in my apartment block are quite nice. But I am glad I don't live with these strangers. It's nice to close my door and be with just my family and not other families.
But I have come to the conclusion that any way that I separate myself from someone else is evil. This of course goes against thousand of years of human history and evolution. Then the world was huge (in terms of travel time). Different small groupings of humans clung to each other for protection. They spoke different dialects tp separate themselves from each other. Other continents were unknown. What happened in Asia stayed in Asia or if it did affect us, we did not know why?
But those days of small, isolated tribes are gone. Now it is possible to fly from Perth to London non-stop. I can Skype anyone across the world and be connected in seconds. A major natural disaster happens on the other side of the world and my pension holdings suffer. The world is no longer a vast place. It is an increasingly smaller marble where the distance between us and them is ever shrinking.
Others feel threatened by our ever linked world. They have benefitted from the separation from us and them. They have measured their self worth on the basis of "Well at least I am not like them." That is why we see far right movements speaking louder in all corners of the globe. They are feeling squeezed out in the world where everyone is getting closer. They wonder who they are if they are not different from someone else. So they call for walls both physical and virtual to keep the world divided.
But we are getting closer all the time. Technology has squeezed our world. The differences that cavemen and cavewomen used long ago for family preservation, no longer apply because we are no longer separated by months and years of travel but minutes and hours. . And we know now that our actions affect others across the globe. Over consumption, use of fossil fuels, toxic pollutants caused by industry, just don't affect my neighbourhood, but do affect others because of climate change. We should no longer think of ourselves as Australians, Canadians, Britons, or Americans. We are earthlings. Others might try to build walls, but it is a doomed endeavour. Blessings.
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