Borders, Walls, and Fences

A fascinating read that focuses on the Baghdad wall being erected and also talks about other walls being put up as “security measures” around the world.

So, you’ve no doubt heard by now about the controversial plan American military strategists hatched to build a massive concrete wall around the neighborhood of Adhamiyah in Baghdad. This, the Americans said, was part of a larger effort to secure the area and prevent terrorist movements within the neighborhood. It was of course billed as a protective measure for the Sunnis, even referring to it as a “center piece” for a larger objective of turning different neighborhoods through out Baghdad into “gated communities” that would by some stroke of miracle stem the uncontrollable sectarian violence.

Only thing is: neither the local Sunnis or Shiites are down with it. Even less surprising, the American government didn’t really consult with anyone prior, not even the Iraqi PM who announced his own total disapproval of the wall and ordered its construction to be halted. Did the American government really think that anyone in the Arab community would embrace the idea of extending a wall through out their ancient city – I mean, given the tantamount associations most Arabs have with the Israeli wall that has literally carved the Palestinian people out of Jerusalem and into peri-urban prison-like reservations?

Needless to say, Jerusalem and Baghdad are looking more and more similar despite these massive 12 foot high concrete walls segregating the different religious sects. So far, 3,000 separate slabs of concrete blast wall have been placed around the Sunni city since the plan was put into action 2 months ago, each weighing roughly 14,000 pounds. “These barriers included both Jersey barriers — short concrete dividers commonly seen on roadways in the United States — and larger 20-foot blast walls that commonly surround bases and living areas.”