There are almost 200 countries on the planet today. Over 30 have decided to build physical barriers to separate their nation from another. An additional three are being proposed (by Greece, Russia and Afghanistan). I have spoken to some who have said that these are logical and somewhat inevitable constructs, designed and built to control the ‘problematic’ migration of people. A logical argument if you conveniently forget that a state boundary is an arbitrary construct of political social or economic circumstance. There is a ‘passport free travel zone’ within the EU which ranges from areas as diverse as Czech Republic, Sweden, Italy, Austria, France, and Germany (to name a few). Throughout the 19th Century these countries along with the united Kingdom and the USA were the most destructive territories ever to act in human history, killing millions; now there are bound by treaties which, guarantee a certain freedom of movement.
Walled cities and barriers have played their part in that history. But they lack the sophistication necessary to deal with the inevitability of mass human exodus which readily occurs due to, ideological differences, war, famine persecution or simple economic migration is never resolved via these methods.
Economic migration has been (and will continue to be a logical cause of an unequal global society); it would seem to be trite in the extreme to attempt to quell this movement with such an antiquated technology.
Every wall construct in history fails, from the great wall of China to the Berlin wall.
The problem is that they are immobile. They lack the ability to move change and adapt as the social issues which they prohibit. They stop, after a time being relevant, people are too ingenious in finding alternative routes across, under through or over them. The US / Mexican border is a prime example. Covering an area which is too large to patrol without the cost becoming counterproductive (almost 2000 miles – the distance from the North Eastern tip of Spain to Russia – via Belarus); there is always the potential to cross for those who are desperate enough to attempt to do so. But the problem is simply one of economics. When you have an area where its citizens have greater economic opportunities aligned with an area who offer its citizen’s less; then migration will ensue, legal or otherwise. It is telling that the world’s largest and ‘greatest’ democracy resorts to such primitive measures to deal with a complex issue… and fails.
Despite this there seems to be little / no desire to reverse this trend, in today’s post 9/11 world terrorism is so often cited as a threat thwarted by the erection of these structures, and has become such a globally accepted ‘fear’ under which to act – that the sight of electrified fences patrolled by soldiers and mined with explosives are an image which we are fleeing from all too slowly.