Saturday, April 21, 2007

Just another brick in the wall

By Libby

I remember when the Berlin wall came down. It seemed to be such a sign of hope at the time. I wondered if finally we had realized as a civil society that wars and walls aren't a good way to solve conflicts. It turned out to be a fool's hope. Since then we've seen many walls erected, literally and figuratively. The polarization of politics has divided us as nation just as surely as any bricks and mortar structure could have and all too many people advocate reaching for the trowel to solve our problems. Hate immigrants? Build a wall on the border. Loathe the hoi polloi? Build a wall around your community. Dislike opposing views? Close off comments on your blog.

Walls have been built in troubled locations in the Middle East from Israel to Tal Afar but as far as I can see they haven't done a thing towards building peaceful coexistence. They've only served to reinforce the divisions between warring factions. Now, in the latest attempt to close down conflict, the US has abruptly decided to erect a physical barrier between two Baghdad neighborhoods, effectively blocking whatever cordial relationships existed between two largely sectarion enclaves.

My man Cernig has this story well covered so I won't repeat his points but I would add that it seems to me to be a completely counterproductive tactic that is already the subject of much criticism from the affected Iraqis, who were not warned or consulted prior to the construction. It serves no practical purpose and symbolically it sends the wrong message on all counts. Better we should be building bridges, not barriers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes about as much sense as a wall between the US and Mexican border.

8:00:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Exactly Rocky. As in none.

9:33:00 PM  

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