It is 2017 and Donald Trump is planning to build a wall on the US/Mexican border. This was one of the key policies on which he was elected as President. It has become synonymous with his politics; a politics of division, of separation and of distrust. On Friday, thousands of protestors joined hands along the border to protest the plan, forming a human barrier of almost 1.5km.
Back in 1989, Germany rejoiced as the wall that had divided the country physically, socially, economically and politically for the last 40 years was torn down. Back when I was an A-Level student studying German politics, I was astounded as I learnt of the post-war history of this nation. I couldn’t believe there had been a physical wall dividing this country, separating families and friends. It sounded like the plot of a dystopian novel, not the recent history of a European nation. But then, it’s not all that surprising given that physical and imagined walls are what divide our world.
Borders, fences and walls are all symbolic of the dark side of human nature that strives to shut out the world and divide land, people and property. As Donald Trump shouts about the wall he will build to stop Mexicans from illegally entering the US, I think of the late director Derek Jarman writing of his garden in Dungeness: ‘There are no walls or fences. My garden’s boundaries are the horizon’. I wish the rest of our world was like Jarman’s borderless garden, which thrived despite it’s inhospitable location on the harsh Kent coastline.