63 walls of shame. The fences that divide the peoples. A dossier of Caritas Italiana

(Source: Original text in Italian)

« In the Shadow of the Wall » is the title of a dossier that will be presented on the occasion of the seminar « Beyond the Walls: communities that meet and tell », scheduled in Rome on 14 and 15 September 2017.

When the Berlin Wall was demolished, Caritas Italiana affirmed in the early study to be made, citing the University of Quebec, we could count on the planet 16 fences between country and country. Today are 63, completed or at design time. « Globalisation, which should have resulted in a gradual abatement of the remaining barriers – affirms the study of Caritas – was actually a cause of reborn security concerns.

A third of the world’s countries currently present fences of different types along its borders.  » Widening the gaze on the frontiers of the world, the data collected leave little doubt as to what the actual trend of the new century is. In Africa There are 12 walls, two in America – the one separating the United States from Mexico and the one dividing Mexico and Guatemala – while there are 36 walls that make Asia and the Middle East a real mosaic. and the old Europe – the heart of the reunification between the two Germans and between East and west of after Cold War – counts as many as 16 fences, most of which in its eastern part. A true boom of the « fortified frontier » that has reached its peak in recent years: 13 of these fences are dated from 2013 following the reopening of the Balkan route of migrants.

In 2015, all over the world, the work of 17 fences began, to which the 4 started in 2016 were to be added. Since 2,000 « about 10 kilometers of cement and barbed wire have segregated lands and reaffirmed borders » from Hungary to Bulgaria, from Saudi Arabia to India « to curb migrants and protect themselves from terrorism ». These are the two classic motivations for barriers that, as well as physical, become psychological and cultural. Finally, there is also a third typology of walls: the one between rich and poor as in Pretoria, South Africa.

A geopolitics of the division that is, also, typically European: if on the Balkan route, starting from 2012, the wall of the Evros between Greece and Turkey was built, and then the one between Bulgaria and Turkey, last year there was a real explosion of the walls Anti-immigration. In 2016, the border controls between Hungary and Fyrom (former Macedonia) were restored and 175 kilometers of barrier between Hungary and Serbia were built. There has also been an impressive increase in investment for border controls. The budget of Frontex, the EU border control agency, from 2014 to today has almost tripled from 97 million euros to 281 planned in 2017. An unprecedented economic expenditure for border control that coincided with the record of deaths: in 2016 – affirms the world Organization for Migration – they lost their lives in the Mediterranean 5,143 people, 1,382 in North Africa, 398 On the US/Mexico border, for a total of 7,927 frontier victims; In 2015 the victims in the Mediterranean were 3,784, 800 in North Africa, 337 on the US/Mexico border, for a total of 6,259 victims.

Every wall, says Paolo Beccegato vice-director of Italian Caritas « documents a collective bankruptcy. The main responsibilities are political, local and international, but every wall with its specific history is also a cultural, social and international relations failure.  » This is why he hopes for a « deeper understanding of what these barriers are causing, especially in the lives of civilians and among the poorest. » A phenomenon to say the least « troubling » for Paul Beccegato who asks the world of politics « a radical rethinking of international relations by putting at the centre man and all men, the solidarity between nations and the construction of relations and not of walls ».




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