Tear Down Walls

Today, November 9, 2014, is the 25th anniversary of tearing down the Berlin Wall. I wrote about that in Facebook and I’m going to repeat it here.

No one in the US has a right to celebrate that event until we tear down the wall between us and our neighbor to the south, Mexico. Between 2006-2009, we spent $2.4 billion to construct just 670 miles of that wall. It is a disgrace and a humiliation to what this country should stand for. None of us came here without immigration by our ancestors; even the so-called Native Americans traveled thousands of miles to get here, although long before most of us. The Israelis are in the same position. Their denial of Palestinian land rights is a travesty of a different kind, but as much a human rights issue as what we are doing. Walls between cultures–my god, have we not progressed at all since the Dark Ages?

A Facebook friend wrote that there is a major difference between the two walls. The Berlin Wall was to keep people in (and I would add, keep others out), and ours is just to keep people out.

But the idea is walls real and imagined around the world that keep us separated.

Travel is one way to bring down those walls.

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Tearing down walls in Cambodia.

Here’s an excerpt that my grandson Ethan wrote when we were in Cambodia this summer; his first trip there.

“Our hotel had signs telling us that giving money to the children on the street encouraged them to stay on the street instead of going to school, which I initially found startling, but was no where near prepared for the number of 5-to 10-year-old boys and girls following us around asking us to buy a postcard or water. There have been moments on this trip that have made me so grateful. They often creep up on me, but looking down at these kids whose priority is not who has a crush on who in 3rd grade but whether or not they’ll make enough money that day to eat is incredibly eye opening.”

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Tearing down more walls in Cambodia.

Understanding what’s happening around the world is critical. Why do so many from Central America want to come to this country? Only to make a living, to get a job. The facts do not support some right-wing views that these “illegal” immigrants just want our welfare system. Sorry, folks, that may support your biases, but for the most part, it isn’t true.

Think of Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” and these lines: “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./Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,/That wants it down.”

It’s only his neighbor who wants the wall and can only repeat what his father used to say, “Good fences make good neighbors.” An old truth he sticks to no matter the facts of an apple orchard on one side and pine trees on the other.

Tear down walls.

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