The wall of

Veronica Berenice

… a problem of tomorrow, the ethical impact of which future generations will have to deal with.


According to yours truly, the tragicomic statements on migration and remedies of 45th American President Donald Trump, are only reminders of a thought I wish to share.


“I will build a great great wall on our southern border, and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.” D. Trump, 2017


Among the many possible titles, surely “innovator” cannot belong to the ex-president, given that walls are not an American invention. Boundary walls intended to separate a vague “us” from an always precise “them”, are a type of architecture we have witnessed throughout our world history: from Italian medieval castles to the Great Wall in China, all the way to Jewish ghettos.

Yet, even if Trump’s statements could seem rancid, they at least testify that something metaphysical belonging to the wall still hovers over us, alongside the flight routes of our globalized world.

As much as we sometimes consider the building of walls as a natural human strategy necessary for our protection from possible invaders, we also know that on many occasions this was not the case. Walls have been built to isolate other humans within them (as in the case of the ghetto) and on other occasions less tangible but more subtle walls, such as the one dividing the civilised man from the sylvan one, from the man according to nature, from the savage who must be ‘humanised’ forcibly, as we read in the 18th-century treatises of the missionaries. The unimaginable consequences of these walls have created such a domino effect that today hordes of ‘invaders’ are being brought straight to the Mediterranean shores, home to mythological creatures and humanitarian failures.


To be intellectually honest, I intend to highlight that this article’s goal is not to enumerate the struggles of a similar organization or the faults of that government, but rather try to observe the problem and understand what unravels the serial aspect of it, which many others have noticed before me: there is no wall more efficient than poverty.


It is easier to do harm than to avoid harm; as applied from the Western World that, after having drawn on Africa’s primary resources, upsetting its delicate political, ecological, and social balances, has after years now found itself face to face with the unimaginable consequences of this foreign policy. Only one among these consequences is nudging public debate: the march across Europe on behalf of  desperate peoples, ready even to embark in poor nautical conditions to the home of the predators of their land, to try to win themselves a piece of much longed-for serenity.


To be surprised at how these poor souls do not seem to have our empathy is conceited as well as in bad taste.

This is because the hard-to-accept reality is that, even if it is difficult for those who benefit from multiple privileges to develop a fine sensibility, one wonders how it is possible to demand so much from someone who does not know if they will succeed in the difficult task of putting dinner and lunch together.

Well, this common presumption leaves yours truly utterly astonished. And this is without considering the psychological trauma that nests in anyone forced to leave the places they recognize as familiar, the people they love, and the traditions that form their native culture. To expect that, after fleeing (they flee, they are not moving) inhospitable places with nothing more than their skin, one should have the clarity of mind, the education, and the determination to become some sort of philosopher, is honestly the biggest lie that some of “us” use to justify the debasement and the necessity of building walls against “them”.


In order to make the comprehension of the extent of this problem more accessible, on Netflix there is a fascinating documentary entitled The Beginning of Life, which shows how the first years from birth are crucial for the education of tomorrow’s adults.


By proving what could seem obvious, the documentary highlights a key point: the parents that live in a condition of low income and education, and therefore have an underdeveloped linguistic knowledge, do not have the faculty of passing the number of words and contents to the newborn when compared to more fortunate men and women. This, said albeit with great pain, negatively influences the neural development of their child. Clearly, not every child begins from the same starting point and this reflects on tomorrow’s adults, their choices, and their ambitions.


The wall of poverty, of which the migration routes are symptoms (and that is very convenient to the West for many reasons, one of which is keeping the technology production sites at a “reasonable” cost) is a boomerang that always strikes back.

Any problem we hide behind a wall ends up growing and becoming a problem of tomorrow, the ethical impact of which future generations will have to deal with.


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