Eighth Wall Separating Americans and Mexicans

Cartoon by Ali Tajaddod

The new US administration is planning to divide off American people from Mexicans by erecting a wall along the two countries’ common border at a time when the world looks to bridging differences and getting closer together.

Mahmood Askarieh
Mahmood Askarieh

The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989, marking the end of the Cold War era. Nevertheless, there are still other walls across the world separating humans because of their nationalities, religions or living standards. Politicians and military men have been the architects of these walls, whether those that have collapsed or the ones that still stand. Now, another wall is going to join the lot in order to separate Americans and Mexicans, a wall whose architect is neither a politician nor a general, but a capitalist! Perhaps that is why Donald Trump insists that neighbouring Mexico pay for the wall’s construction.

The Berlin Wall is now referred to as “The East Side Gallery” because hundreds of painters from across the globe have painted on it. The paintings all depict the association between the concept of the “wall” and dictatorship. Among the paintings on the wall there is one by an Iranian artist who emigrated to Germany years ago. He has hands-on experience of the Berlin Wall when it stood tall. He has also seen the wall collapse with his own eyes. On the remains of the wall he has created a work of art which portrays feelings of excitement, fear, hope and joy on people’s faces at the historic moment when the wall is broken open.

Kani Alavi, the painter, describes what he feels about US President Donald Trump’s executive orders which bar the nationals of seven countries from entering America and instruct the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

“The US claims it is a democratic country and can even save the world with its policies. But then, it talks of building a wall. This is not in conformity with the country’s culture at all,” Alavi said in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

One of Alavi’s paintings has been showcased at the UN headquarters in New York. The painting delineates humans embracing each other from either side of the wall.

“When I think that now I’m not allowed to travel to the US and see the tableau I myself have painted, I ask myself why I painted it after all.”

Draw the line at the Middle East instead of building walls!

During his election campaign, Donald Trump pledged to prevent drug gangs and Mexicans from entering the US. When his remarks were met with strong popular objection, Trump said he meant those Mexicans who he regards as “criminals.” Now, bargaining is underway over who should bankroll the construction of the wall on the US-Mexico border. The row turned a phone conversation between Trump and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto into a war of words on January 27. The Mexican president has announced he will not even pay a single dollar for the realization of Trump’s election promises.

In the meantime, irrespective of whether Trump flew off the handle during his phone conversation with the Mexican president or whether any tension during the conversation is denied, the world experienced a key event which infuriated a considerable number of its inhabitants! And no one will ever deny this anger throughout the course of history. At a time when the world was proud of the collapse of all its arbitrary and geographical borders, and all humans around the globe, especially the elite and intellectuals, were taking pride in the fact that cultural differences have not only not divided nations and not led to crusades, but rather are a source of honour and dignity for the international community, a wall was built in the twinkling of an eye driving a wedge between the citizens of the US and those of seven other countries. The wall is one which is impossible to get over, even with the highest-flying planes!

The tragedy is that Donald Trump, the architect of the wall, has emerged from within a society and culture that claims to enjoy the world’s biggest democracy. Was the US presidential election rigged? How is ballot-stuffing possible in a well-organized system which serves as a “role model”? Is this the very same culture which is supposed to set an example to other nations?

At its apex of maturity, a so-called model of democracy and human rights bears a fruit like “Trump!”

Will such a system really have anything to offer? So far, hundreds of thousands of humans have lost their lives under the banner of “new order” and “democratization of the Middle East” projects. Thousands of towns, villages, schools, factories and the like have been destroyed. People in the Middle East, including those of these very seven countries, have been paying heavy prices for Washington’s unilateral wall building for years.

Of course, these walls have always been ridiculously short for the military as well as for White House warlords! I wish the US would draw a line at the wealth and resources of the regional countries. Lasting security together with global peace and tranquility is subject to US statesmen renouncing vanity and megalomania. In order to save nations and to ensure security and welfare for US citizens, the new guests of the White House should make this wise decision: They should forswear the “US feeling of self-styled mastership over the world” instead of building walls! The wall serves to block and separate people, no matter whether the wall is visible or not!

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