Friday, 20 January 2012

The Wall Between Greece and Turkey Built in 5 Months

The mainstream media site reported today that on Thursday the contract to build a 12.5km wall between Greece and Turkey was signed by the two governments. The fence is due to be built in 5 months. The article – and the Greek government – claim that the wall will “deter illegal immigration and trafficking”.

But the wall is much more than that.

It is a visceral, physical construction of the racism at the heart of the European Capitalist/Imperialist daydream. It is a symbol designed to send out a message of control; that Europe is closed and that us who are enclosed are safer. Safety and control are far from the same thing. I don't want to live in a place that conflates the two.

The wall will also be a blank page, because it exposes the fake heart of any claim from European power to uphold the rights of refugees (how can a wall discriminate between 'types' of migrants?). In the process it again exposes the constructed of illegality that the control regime has itself constructed.

The wall will also be a straw man, because Europe’s borders don't start and end at its external edges. Despite this sickening news, the wall doesn’t take our eyes off the daily realities of random stop and searches, imprisonment, dawn raids and internal port controls that target migrants from outside of the white world. This wall will be a thread in a much bigger web of control. It is just another barrier among many.

But building a wall and controlling the thing the wall is supposedly built against are not the same thing. The controls get bigger and more complex, but the ways around them are not put out, because the desperate desire or desperate need to move endures. The ways around control might become harder (side effects of the wall could include higher smuggler fees, or changed routes), but they also adjust and change.

Because for all the fake reassurance of control this wall affords the forces of repression, the reality remains; people who desperately want or need to move, will continue to find a way, and they will continue to find a welcome from movements of solidarity. The wall will create a false sense of control. And in that false sense there remains possibility to undermine it.

But for now, solidarity with those at whom this wall will target can and must begin with opposition to its construction.