Thursday, January 3, 2013

Facing the Wall

Back in 1967 I stood in front of the Berlin Wall and felt the horror of a political system that felt a need to wall its citizens in.

Today I stood at the Nogales Wall and felt that same horror, but I also felt shame.  It's my country that has built this wall to keep citizens of other countries out.

People are dying on the north side of the Nogales Wall, just as they died at the Berlin Wall from 1951 through 1989.

Something there is that does not love a wall, / that wants it down wrote Robert Frost.

My guide tells me that in 2011 this wall grew from a mere car barrier, three feet high, to its present height of up to 30 ft.  In Nogales itself, the previous wall was 12-15 feet high, reports the MCC Latin American Advocacy Blog,

That rusting metal wall stood for over ten years.  In 2011 Tucson's mayor, Arturo Garino, recalled when the border in Nogales was marked by only five strands of barbed wire or a chain-link fence.

A photo of Nogales in 1936 shows a street marking the US-Mexico border with no wall.  From then to 2013 the world has changed, and if this wall is any indicator, it has not been progress.  Frost evokes the Stone Age as he tries to understand why people build walls.

The cost of building the new 2.8 mile fence was $11 million and an unrecorded number of lives.  

The Berlin Wall lasted 38 years.  How long will this wall be here?  

Let's storm this wall the way we fought apartheid: note its birth, its growth and changes, and work for the day we can tear it down, as we did in Berlin.

See more photos at

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