A Recap of the World’s Walls: Calais Is Next

By Paulina Anaya.

The world has loved walls since the concept of territory evolved. The Great Wall of China was built some 2,200 years ago. Why? To fend off invaders and protect the mainland and its people. As dynasties and states expanded territory, so did the Great Wall. Then, when Emperor Constantine appointed Constantinople as the new capital of the Roman Empire, what did they do? They built 14 miles of walls around the city to keep invaders out. Finally, when World War II ended, Germany was divided according to the Potsdam Conference. The country was divided into four zones, each one occupied by either the United States, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union. The relationship between the democratic West and the communist East was a hard one, so as relations deteriorated so did the dream of a reunification of all four zones. In 1949, the Allied Powers joined zones to form West Germany, and the zone occupied by the Soviets was consequently named East Germany. The same division happened in Berlin, but because it was situated within the Soviet territory, West Berlin became a democratic needle in a communist haystack. In order to avoid massive emigration to the West, the Berlin Wall was erected. Indubitably, behaviors and trends come and go with time, along with their corresponding conflicts, but even in 2016, humans continue to like walls.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been talking about a wall for months; he wants Mexico to finance a wall along the border between both countries, something to which Mexico has responded negatively to. Shocking the world, the candidate and his statements have made world news since his Presidential campaign began. Now, plans for another wall have been set into motion, this one being in Calais, the French town across the English Channel which has become a “Jungle” camp. Migrants have flooded Calais for years, using the town as a temporary resting quarter and camp for refugees that seek to reach the UK. The squalid conditions of this migrant “Jungle” have caused debate around the world as to how the issue should be handled.

With a growing conflict in the Middle East, the refugee influx in Calais has increased exponentially over the years, and nor the French government nor the UK are too happy about it. The past two years have left Europeans shaking as the number of extremist attacks, many of which carried out by Islamic extremists, have escalated. Much of the European Union, and now, the UK thanks to the “Brexit”, is at odds when it comes to policies on immigration and refugee crises. British Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill has announced that a wall will soon replace the fence now standing meant to block immigrants from reaching the UK. Despite opposing views, the four-meter high wall, along with other security measures, of a net worth of $23 million, agreed upon by both France and the UK, is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2016. Perhaps this year will be the “Jungle”’s last, only time will tell. So for now, where will the next wall be?


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