I remember the Berlin Wall from German radio – west and east – reporting its being built to keep citizens of the German Democratic Republic away from West German fleshpots. Like with the ‘Turkish Wall’ (Sayarer 2021) and like edifices around Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves on the Moroccan coast, the point of building walls is now, not to keep citizens put but to keep refugees out.
I am not categorically against borders. The Refugee Convention implies distinguishing between those who do and those do not qualify. Giving the latter access is discretionary. No, the issue is where the borders and where the entry points should be and — no wall is after all ever tall enough — how to deal with those who scale them. However, that whatever wall is needed should be at the the state‘s border — and that checking those who enter is for its agents — these are no longer self-evident truths. International agencies, including NGOs, private security firms and, yes, other states to whom the unthankful task of holding the multitudes is being outsourced come into play. Pushbacks at the border between Croatia and Bosnia thus prevent Austria from having to close its border — and seeing its own border with Germany being closed again, as in 2015. The Hungarian border fence of old has faded out of the news, and so with Austria’s assistance sending 21 police and two dogs. (https://hungarytoday.hu/austria-policemen-hungary-serbia-border/) The same with Turkey being paid to host — perhaps a euphemism — Syrian refugees in exchange for cash and lifting visa requirements (the latter an unfulfilled promise).
Meanwhile, Afghans crossing Turkey’s eastern border have already been on TV, so she is building her own wall, so far without the EU chipping in. Maybe it soon will. After all, Turkey holds the keys to the EU and houses 3.7 million Syrians already, with so far no less than 300.000 Afghans thrown into the bargain! Which is why politicians from the EU are scrambling to mobilise other countries for dealing with the expected Afghan exodus. (https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-council-presidency/news/eu-mulls-aid-for-afghanistans-neighbours-determined-to-prevent-new-migration-crisis/?utm_source=piano&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9707&pnespid=i7h1qeZHAwiNAUL5jYwIrQxS409Z.G7kCz9nb8vGnA) It is really ‘All Hands on Deck’ to prevent a repeat of 2015!
Meanwhile, ‘…the EU has come under a serious security threat and is a witness of state-sponsored weaponisation of illegal migration in Belarus,’ a spokesman for the Slovenian EU presidency referring to Belorussia has said. (https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/eu-calls-meeting-on-belarus-border-crisis/) Also, frontline states meet their nemesis, the smugglers, much as international NGOs, the latter insisting on the Law of the Sea and international conventions and, not in the least, international law being observed on the high seas, much as in the camps holding those who has succeeded in reaching European soil. Once more it seems that, employing their classic weaponry of controlling national borders, territorial states are loosing control.
Sayarer, J. (2021) ‘Turkey’s borders’, London Review of Books, 21 Augustus.
The illustration showing the no-man’s land and fence around the Spanish enclave Melilla on the coast of Morocco. (https://zea.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaetje:Melilla_en.png)
Door User:Howcheng – Self-made, based on Image:Melilla.png, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1248889