Hope for 2016 - A World Without Walls
By Kola King
Tuesday, December 29,
twenty six years ago, the Berlin Wall fell. The fall ended 40 years of division
between the capitalist west and the communist east. As the Cold War began to thaw across Eastern
Europe the communist rulers in East Germany gave the nod for the walls to be
brought down. Today, walls are springing up again in Europe. The Berlin wall
was the symbol of the East-West conflict. It was an ideological divide between
capitalism and communism. It was the Iron curtain. Back then the wall separated
families and communities. Those who made attempts to cross the wall were either
shot dead or arrested. But despite all this, many made several attempts to
circumvent the wall by building tunnels and other underground devices.
According to records, it is estimated that
about 2.5 million East Germans had fled from East to the West between 1949 and
1961. Because of man’s ingenuity, people found a way around the problem and
sought refuge in the west. Those in the east were poor and wanted escape out of
poverty. They did all they could to leave, risking life and limbs in the
process. The wall separated communist East Berlin from West Berlin.
of the Berlin wall further marked the fall of communism. Communism was tossed
out through the window. For now, the division between the two ideologies has
become blurred. Even socialist Russia and communist China have embraced
capitalism wholeheartedly. Both socialism and communism are in dog’s disgrace,
as it were.
walls and barriers are springing up in Europe not to check the spread of
communism but to stem the tide of refugees streaming into Europe from Africa
and the Middle-East. Thousands of people are running away from war and internecine
conflicts and famine, hoping for a better life in Europe. They are risking
their lives just to cross the Mediterranean Sea and enter into Europe. And in
the process thousands have perished at sea. Daily the television networks bring
to our homes the terrible conditions in which the refugees go through traveling
to Europe. The plight of bedraggled women, children and men as they make the
journey to Europe is heart rending. This
has set the world thinking.
it is heartwarming that the world of virtual reality has broken down many
barriers. It has connected people in
ways never before imagined. Now communication is instant. The world is now a
global village. However, the gains of the world of virtual reality are
gradually being rolled back by the new barriers being erected in Europe against
refugees. The European Union is at the receiving end of this tidal wave of
humanity. The Island of Lampedusa in
Italy has become a Mecca of sorts for refugees.
there is need for enlightened policies that would help solve the problem at
hand. It is fitting that the European nations have come up with quotas on the
number of refugees to be admitted into member countries. But this problem goes
beyond the European Union. Time has come for the United Nations to step in and
intervene. For instance Canada and Australia have huge landmass with very small
populations; hence they should be encouraged and persuaded to take some
have been around since the dawn of time. The Chinese built the Great Wall of
China, which opened in the year 206. It
is the world’s longest walls and biggest ancient architecture. Walls are
erected by man to fence criminals and marauders. Nations also erect walls
against perceived foes. Because of fear we build walls to protect us from the
unknown. There are invisible walls everywhere. There are racial walls and
social walls. There are religious walls and political walls etc. There are also
other walls erected because of ancient prejudice and hatreds. Man is the only creation that erects walls.
Birds have no walls. Animals have no walls. They roam in freedom.
Israel has built walls and barriers in Palestine occupied territory in order to
fence off the Palestinians. With this Palestinians need permits to go back and
forth. They have to carry passes before they are allowed to pass through
Israeli checkpoints. And even pregnant women from Palestinian territory are
known to have delivered their babies while waiting to cross the check points. There
is also the Gaza- Egypt barrier to monitor the movement of goods and persons
along that route. Also Saudi Arabia has erected barriers against its neighbours
- Iraq and Yemen. Tunisia is also building walls against migrants from other
parts of Africa. Hungary is building barriers near its border with Croatia. In
North America there is the Mexico- United States border which splits
communities in half. Thus walls are springing up in every corner of the earth.
aimed at stopping the flow of movement of humanity. But the world has become a
fluid society. Yet people are moving for
economic reasons. They are also moving because of wars and conflicts in many
trouble spots. People are also moving because of drought and environmental
degradation. To stem the tide of migration therefore it is better to solve
economic imbalance and crises caused by wars and conflicts in Africa and the
Middle East. It is better to build the economies of Africa and check high population
growth in the continent.
It is clear that no matter the height nor the
depth of the walls, this will not deter people from seeking refuge wherever
they hope to find a better life. Whether from Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen,
Syria or Libya, people have dreams of a better life for themselves and their
children. Neither the seas nor mountains will deter them from fulfilling their
dreams. Even the possibility of death will not deter them. There is every
indication of a trend towards a borderless world, just as you have in virtual
reality. Since everybody wants a better life the world must adapt to the
changing times. This is the time to seize the momentum.
King is a Nigerian writer and journalist. He worked for several years as a
reporter, correspondent and editor in some national newspapers in Nigeria. His
writings have appeared in Kalahari Review, The Missing Slate Journal and Litro
Magazine. His works are also forthcoming from Mosaic Literary Magazine and
Synesthesia Literary Journal.