One Way Borders

On December 23, 2013, in Commentary, by mkennedy

Michael Kennedy

Modern convention states that borders are barriers that keep people separated. National borders, people say, exist to keep people divided. We are presented the image of a border as a line which stops people crossing back and forth. This is half true.

Most borders are, in reality, one way barriers, except in times of war.

During the cold war, a wall was erected around West Berlin. The odd thing about about this wall, something rarely mentioned to avoid embarrassing some, is that those who were WITHIN the walls were the ones who were free. One can visit exhibitions in Berlin commemorating the wall and see many stories about people ‘escaping’. But one notices a distinct lack of explanation as to WHY people were escaping. Having seen the Checkpoint Charlie museum myself, I noted that there next to no discussion as to what was making people want to leave the east. There perhaps are facts which might embarrass many of our respected ‘intellectuals’. They were in fact escaping Communism. By fleeing East Germany into the surrounded West German outpost, West Berlin they were escaping the yoke of communism, and were on a stepping stone towards freedom. All along Europe during the cold war, was an iron curtain designed to keep people IN Communist countries. They were not worried about keeping people out from Western Europe. Few people want to go the OTHER way. This was a unidirectional border, build by the Communists to keep people IN. Keeping people out was simply not an issue.

In Israel and the West Bank there is another uni-direction wall, which is even more ominous than the Berlin wall, though seldom mentioned, again to avoid embarrassing or critiquing some. Like the Berlin Wall, this is unidirectional wall. This keeps Palestinians OUT of Israel. Israel does not worry too much about Israelis wanting to move the other way. Unlike the Berlin Wall, this wasn’t to keep people trapped, but keep people out. Despotic regimes use border controls against their own people, benevolent ones for their own people.

Likewise, the Australian border is unidirectional. We try to keep asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Afghanistan OUT, but there is no converse border protection policy. Few Australians are wanting to smuggle themselves into Indonesia for permanent residency. Indonesia is not concerned about people smugglers smuggling Australians BACK to Indonesia.

So those who argue for open borders and free movement across those borders are silly. These idealists argue that borders shouldn’t contrain movement of people and make themselves out to be fighting for free movement of people worldwide.

But fighting for open borders, when that border protects ONE nation, not the other, is an attack against that nation.

Those who argue that national borders should be removed for the sake of ‘all mankind’, should be reminded that national borders are created by people to protect themselves, and don’t limit to all.

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