Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Security walls

I have been fascinated by the media coverage of the breach in the security barrier that seperates Hamastan/Gaza from Egypt*, and the way it contrasts with media coverage of the variously named separation barrier, security fence or apartheid wall that criss-crosses Israel's Green Line with the West Bank.

I don't know who built the barrier, or its history. Looking at the BBC coverage, for example, or the Al-Jazeera coverage, we see a quite solid structure, that takes quite hefty bull-dozers to destroy. And we see the Egyptian authorities using water cannon to respond to stone-throwing Palestinians, and we see them reinforcing the wall with deadly barbed wire. Look at the poweful pictures at ViewImages and you see quite a formidable barrier.

It got me thinking about other barriers and walls which striate the neo-liberal globe we inhabit today, which are also regularly ignored by most liberals and anti-imperialists.

In particular, it made me think of a powerful article I read in the Independent a while ago**, about the poor villagers separated from their farm lands - and, even in some cases, forced to move out of their homes - by a fence built by India on its eastern border.

AlertNet has now published an excellent article on some of the other barriers that don't hit the news, "Seven Security Barriers You Might Want to Know About". Highly recommended.

Meanwhile, wikipedia lists 23 countries around the world with seperation barriers.

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It is also worth noting that Israel is not the only country associated with "demographic aggression". China, for example, has settlers in Tibet, fully backed by the Chinese state.

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Footnotes:

*Incidentally, such breaches in the security barrier which seperates Gaza from Egypt are not new - here is a report on the same thing happening this time two years ago, with a response from the Egyptian authorities which no doubt would be condemned as brutal if it had come from Israel.

**Google skills obviously not at optimum; can't find article.

5 comments:

Daniel of "Daniels Counter" said...

this was interesting in deed!

Watching Them, Watching Us said...

There are similar walls here in the United Kingdom - e.g. the Peace Lines in Belfast and Derry in Northern Ireland

The Subtopia blog has photos of the US /Mexico border and other "military urbanism".

La Empanada said...

To think about: Egypt's role in keeping Palestinians Palestinian.

Daniel of "Daniels Counter" said...

what about prison walls, and the walls that surround the estates of the rich in Rio for example

bob said...

Thanks for all of these good examples. In our neo-liberal world, based on the free movement of capital, the free movement of people is not encouraged; walls and gating are a dominant feature.