Almost every civilization, including our democratic society, has constructed walls, mostly for keeping the “other” out. Sometimes the “other” is an enemy, where conquering, exploiting and enslaving citizens becomes the objective. In other cases, walls are built to keep out those whom society deems as undesirable.
A wall never works. Technology eventually catches up and produces mechanisms to scale the ramparts. Past civilizations continued to build higher and stronger fortresses, but eventually these walls were breached and societies fall, as opponents becomes hell-bent in destroying the barrier. Walls carve a separation that perpetuates the wounds on both sides, and the effects of the wall continue to influence people’s lives in terrifying ways.
Our ancestors have been on both sides of the wall, as conquer and vanquished. Will we ever be able to deconstruct the barriers in our minds to realize peaceful coexistence with our neighbors and put a stop to our perpetual compulsion of building and destroying walls?
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.
–Robert Frost, Mending Wall