Readers, today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. At it’s greatest strength, the barrier separating East and West Berlin stretched 96 miles. 96 miles of concrete and barbed wire. 96 miles of trenches and kill-zones.
And that- all of that- is nothing.
Nothing in comparison to the wall Israel has built in, around, and through the West Bank territory.
This wall dwarfs it’s older German counterpart, stretching a staggering 272 miles, with over 100 more set to be constructed. Began in 2002 during a fresh wave of Palestinian uprisings, the wall has since served to control the Palestinian people, separating Palestinians not only from each other, but from such resources as water, farmland, and even hospitals. From 2000 to 2006 alone, at least 68 Palestinian women have died in childbirth while being prevented from crossing Israeli checkpoints, with another 35 miscarriages and 5 childbirth deaths.
And as the world celebrates the fall of the wall in Berlin, where is the outrage against the wall in Palestine? From Kennedy to Reagan, the leaders of America have demanded that the Berlin wall be torn down, yet on this wall, nearly three times the size, there’s been not silence, but applause.
New York Republican senator Chuck Schumer has declared “Israel has no choice but to build the Security Wall.” Even liberal-darling and 2016 presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton has asserted “This is not against the Palestinian people… This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism.”
Because why not punish all Palestinians for the actions of some? After all, this country forced all Jewish people into reservations after the Jewish Defense League killed all those people.
Oh wait, we didn’t do that, because we’re not a bunch of goose-stepping monsters.
People, I don’t what else to call this. This isn’t some nuanced treatment of different races or religions, it’s full-on ghettoization. No matter where you stand on violent protest, this wall punishes each and every man, woman, and child as if they were the perpetrator, forcing and and all into an open-air prison.
Put yourself in their shoes, if only for a second. You wake up each day knowing that you can never travel more than 50 miles from where you live. If you’re hurt, you have to pray not that you’ll be okay, not that you’ll have money to pay, but that the border guards will have the humanity to let you through in time.
So in the West, why can’t we?
People, I don’t think I’m asking a lot. All I want you to do is be angry. So righteously outraged that those in power will have no choice but to decry the wall in Palestine with all the same fervor that they did the wall in Berlin.
It’s too late to say “never again”. It’s never too late to say “no longer”.