Mr Mayor, tear down this analogy


The Mayor of Berlin joins the fray:


Walls are really having a rough time at the moment. It’s like it’s perfectly OK to have a fence around your house and lock your door so that random strangers won’t just walk in from the street, but when you talk about a whole country, whoa, steady there, champ, don’t be a xenophobe! Essentially, if you don’t believe in walls, you think that anyone should be able to enter your country anytime and for any purpose, to visit or to live. It might strike you as very enlightened and virtuous; it strikes me as absurd and insane.

Putting that aside, I’m also tired of people – including the Lord Mayor – lumping all the walls together without any distinctions about their purpose and intent. The Berlin Wall was bad because it divided a nation and imprisoned half of it, against the wishes of both halves (sans the communist overlords of one half). Trump is not proposing to build a wall separating the states of New York and California from the rest of the country, or the South from the North. His wall will stand between two separate sovereign nations with different cultures and histories. Furthermore, a majority of the residents of one nation thinks that the residents of the other nation shouldn’t be able to waltz in at their leisure . That’s why we pretty much have different countries instead of a borderless world (like some desire). So not only is the Lord Mayor’s comparison spurious, but his invocation of Korea and Cyprus mixes cause and effect. The walls there exist to prevent one country from invading and subjugating the other. For South Koreans they actually prevent, not cause, slavery and pain, which would come with a “reunification” on the North’s terms. The border in Cyprus separates two different ethnic and religious populations with a centuries-worth of history of enmity.

“Imagine” might or might not be a good song, but it’s not a political textbook.