Nov 30th, 2016, 05:34 PM

If Walls Could Talk

By Lily Radziemski
The US/Mexico border (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Some will be locked in, and others will be locked out.

Never before has "the wall" meant something so much larger than its definition. While a wall used to represent a mere physical barrier between two spaces, it now represents the potential evolution of borders from immaterial to concrete, designed to keep "us" separate from "the other" in a blatant turn away from globalization.

After first announcing his candidacy for president in June 2015, Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed that he will build a wall (a great wall, a really big wall) on the US-Mexico border in order to keep out "unwanted" Mexican migrants. Of course, he insisted that Mexico would be paying for this wall. Despite the amount of attention that this attracted—as well as being one of the biggest driving forces of his campaign—it appears that Trump may not be building a wall after all, Mexico will most likely not be paying for it, and he may have to settle for a fence.

(Image credit: Flickr/DonkeyHotey)

As the world continues to watch Trump like a hawk, France has discreetly begun to construct a wall of their own. Calais, the French town surrounding the entrance to the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK, will soon be home to a wall constructed to keep migrants away from entering Britain.

The wall is all part of a £17 million deal between Britain and France concerning the refugee crisis, in which Britain has vowed to use towards strengthening security forces in Calais. Amidst the current crisis, thousands of migrants are moving towards the UK in hopes of escaping the war-torn areas from which they fled. Not only does this mean building physical boundaries, but also includes the dismantling and relocation of the refugees that are stranded in the infamous camp known as "the jungle," where they lived in limbo (and inhumane conditions). However, the wall is perhaps the most ‘concrete’ component of the deal. Confirmed on September 7th of this year, it’s expected date of completion is shocking; it’s set to be finished by the end of December, leaving only two and a half months for construction. At 4 meters high with a price tag of £1.9 million, it will be built on either side of the road leading to the channel tunnel to prevent migrants and refugees from entering the UK via trucks and smugglers. Stretching 1 km long, The Guardian has reported that local residents have begun to refer to the wall as “the great wall of Calais.”

(Image Credit:

On November 15, Obama said that he believes that Trump tapped into a particular strain to win this election, and this strain is namely the fear of globalization that has been rapidly spreading throughout the country.

Throughout the 1980s, America experienced a large-scale cultural discord. As new social issues—like abortion and gay rights—were taking center stage, the country found itself at a crossroads. Will America succeed by evolving into a nation of progression and acceptance? Or are its "traditional" American values at the center of importance?

When Barack Obama won the presidency, it became clear that this crossroad was headed in a more progressive direction, with ‘change’ being the main focal point of Obama’s campaign. However, eight years later, it seems like the world is facing a culture war of its own by rejecting the values that allow globalization to flourish. Trump won his campaign under the slogan "Make American Great Again." Many wonder what this means, or for whom this notion stands for, as America is arguably at the best place it’s ever been in terms of basic rights (aside from the straight white male whose rights have never been tampered with).

(Image Credit: Flickr/Topher McCulloch)

As the US and UK have both made drastic changes to ensure the securing of borders, they have become examples of the rejection of globalization that is taking many nations by storm. It seems like the events of 2016 have catalyzed a worldwide culture war, and the world is reclining in fear.

These walls represent more than simple barriers. They represent that this year, the world has taken a turn backwards. Globalization was supposed to break down walls. However, the apocalyptic events that have been happening over the past few months—like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump—tell a different story. It seems like a large population of the world is still clinging onto outdated fears, with little substance to their reasons. However, there is hope. Although Donald Trump won this election, data shows that if it were up to millennials, then Hillary Clinton would have won by a landslide. Even though the world is retracting away from social progress—building physical barriers against acceptance—the future is fighting it. If our generation hangs onto the acceptance and compassion towards the world that is beginning to define it, walls and bigots won’t be able to stop us from coming together anymore.