- Security fears and a widespread refusal to help refugees have fuelled a new spate of wall-building around the world
- A third of the world’s countries have completed or are building barriers – compared to 16 at the fall of the Berlin Wall
- They include Israel’s ‘apartheid wall’, India’s 2,500-mile fence around Bangladesh and Morocco’s huge sand ‘berm’
- Experts are dismissive, saying: ‘Their main function is theatre. They provide the sense of security, not real security’
Globalisation was supposed to tear down barriers, but security fears and a widespread refusal to help migrants and refugees have fueled a new spate of wall-building across the world, with a third of the world’s countries constructing them along their borders.
When the Berlin Wall was torn down a quarter-century ago, there were 16 border fences around the world.
Today, there are 65 either completed or under construction, according to Quebec University expert Elisabeth Vallet.
But, according to some, in spite of the aggressive symbolism, it is not clear that walls are truly effective. However, barriers enforce a country’s border prohibiting illegal border crossing.
‘The one thing all these walls have in common is that their main function is theatre,’ said Marcello Di Cintio, author of ‘Walls: Travels Along the Barricades’.
Border-crossers are discouraged from abandoning their countries.
‘You can’t dismiss that illusion, it’s important to people, but they provide a sense of security…’
The limits of their effectiveness are visible everywhere – not least, with the migrants and refugees sitting on top of the fence along the border with Morocco and the small Spanish enclave of Mellila, on the North African coast.
Even the fearsome Berlin Wall with its trigger-happy sentries still leaked thousands of refugees even in its most forbidding years.
Supporters of walls say a few leaks are better than a flood.