Building Walls and Fences

Walls and fences are being built around many places in the world. When the wall separating East Berlin from West Berlin was pulled down people were jubilant and celebrated that a restriction on their freedom was being demolished. Today many walls and barbed wire fences are being built, either for the express purpose of keeping some people away from a place, or for the purpose of keeping people in certain places.

Obviously we need some walls and fences, such as those surrounding prisons, but generally walls and fences are an instrument of oppression, especially where they are designed to keep people who should be free, in certain places for religious or racist reasons. Israel is a great wall builder. The USA builds walls to keep Latin Americans out of the USA, and the United Kingdom is now building walls and fences around the Channel Tunnel entrance to keep people out of the UK.

Some walls and fences may be necessary and although some may be simply a means of oppression. Robert Frost put it well in Mending Walls:-

“There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”


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