Self Help

Divided - Tim Marshall

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 38 min read

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  • The introduction discusses the rising trend of walls and divisions around the world despite globalization bringing people closer together. It argues walls represent deeper anxieties over issues like migration, nationalism, and changing demographics.

  • Chapter 1 covers divisions in China, noting how nationalism can be a unifying yet also divisive force.

  • Chapter 2 looks at divisions in the US, particularly around immigration and the debate over building a wall along the US-Mexico border.

  • Chapter 3 analyzes the divisions between Israel and Palestine reflected by the concrete wall separating the two territories.

  • Chapter 4 discusses divisions in the broader Middle East region shaped by issues of religion, politics, and the intersections between them.

  • Chapter 5 covers divisions on the Indian subcontinent related to issues of migration and nationalism.

  • Chapter 6 touches on walls and divisions within and between countries in Africa.

  • Chapter 7 briefly notes divisions within Europe over migration and boundaries.

  • Chapter 8 examines divisions within the UK linked to nationalism and identity.

  • The conclusion sums up the book’s exploration of how walls represent deeper anxieties over issues like identity, migration, and changing demographics in a globalized world.

  • China faces divisions within its borders such as regional unrest and wealth disparity that threaten national unity and economic progress. The government must exert strong control over the population.

  • The USA is divided along political lines exacerbated by Trump, with Republicans and Democrats more opposed than ever before.

  • The divisions between Israel and Palestine are entrenched, made worse by subdivisions within each population.

  • In the Middle East, religious and ethnic divisions spark violence, primarily between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Much of the conflict comes down to the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

  • In South Asia, population movements reveal the plight of religious and economic refugees.

  • In Africa, borders left by colonialism do not align with strong tribal identities, making unity difficult.

  • Nationalism remains strong in Europe despite the EU, as shown by the UK’s Brexit dividing the country along regional, social, and religious lines.

  • In unstable times, people group together along perceived threats, which come not just from borders but also within nations, as China knows well.

  • The Great Wall of China has long played a central role in China’s national identity and imagination. Mao mentioned it in a poem, cementing its importance.

  • Early communist leaders had mixed views on it, with some seeing it as a symbol of feudalism to destroy, while others respected Mao’s view of it. Sections were damaged during the Cultural Revolution.

  • Deng Xiaoping later spearheaded restoration efforts in the 1980s for tourism and national pride reasons. It is now illegal to damage the wall.

  • The wall was only partly successful militarily but hugely important symbolically. It remains an icon of ancient Chinese culture.

  • China faces some regional divisions, particularly between the Han heartland and non-Han peripheral areas like Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia.

  • Xinjiang suffers from unrest as the Uighur population feels excluded by mass Han migration. There is a small scale terrorist insurgency.

  • Tibet also maintains a strong separate identity despite Han migration. China maintains control for strategic buffer and water resource reasons.

  • Internal unity and control over peripheral regions is a key priority for the Communist Party to maintain authority, as internal divisions historically weakened imperial China.

  • After WWII, China was weakened and divided after years of foreign invasion and civil war. The Communists centralized power under Mao Zedong in Beijing after winning the civil war in 1949.

  • Mao prioritized reunifying China but it came at the cost of economic development. China fell far behind other Asian nations that were emerging as global economic powers like Japan.

  • Deng Xiaoping opened China’s economy in the late 1970s to address inequality and poverty. This benefited coastal regions first, risking divisions re-emerging between rich coastal and poor interior areas.

  • Inequality has grown substantially, with over 1/3 of China’s wealth concentrated among the top 1% of households. There are also divides between rural and urban, old and young generations.

  • The hukou system restricts social services and rights to one’s place of registration, creating an underclass of migrant workers in cities cut off from benefits. Addressing this poses challenges for the government.

  • Mass internal migration is planned to address imbalances but risks exacerbating inequality if structural issues like hukou are not also reformed. Uneven development and inequality threaten long-term stability and unity.

  • Beijing faces challenges in balancing budgets to fund social services in cities and raise standards in rural areas, while encouraging migration. It is considering letting local governments tax and spend more to raise revenues.

  • China has succeeded in creating a large middle class and lifting many out of poverty, but wealth inequality remains an issue. An aging population and future burden on pensions is also a concern.

  • The government controls information flows to prevent dissent and consolidation of opposition. It uses the Great Firewall to restrict foreign internet access and divides internal online networks.

  • The level of censorship varies by region, with stricter controls in places like Tibet and Xinjiang. VPN use is tolerated for some business but not activism. Emerging media that report sensitive issues are often blocked.

  • New regulations since 2010 have tightened control by pushing social media to private spheres like WeChat that are easier to monitor than public platforms. New cybersecurity laws in 2017 aim to ensure “digital sovereignty.” Maintaining control online amid rapid technological change poses ongoing challenges.

  • China has passed broad “catch-all” cybersecurity and surveillance laws that give the Communist Party wide discretion to interpret what constitutes a security threat.

  • This includes requirements for foreign companies to store user data within China and provide it to authorities on demand. The laws are vaguely worded so they could apply broadly.

  • The goal is to prevent the internet from enabling organized opposition by keeping information divided and regulated. However, censorship also hampers China’s economic development potential.

  • President Xi Jinping has personally led China’s crackdown on internet freedoms since coming to power in 2013. He has consolidated power and promoted his ideology within the party.

  • The government sees maintaining control as critical, even if it holds the country back economically. Unity and the party’s power come before other concerns, just as for Qin Shi Huang over 2000 years ago.

  • Thus China pursues a balancing act between developing its economy while strictly controlling information flows to preserve one-party rule, willing to sacrifice some growth for stability.

  • President Trump wanted funding for a border wall but Congress allocated zero dollars for it in a spending bill. Still, CBP solicited wall design proposals despite lack of funding.

  • Proposals included a China-style wall with turrets for tourism, a fence on the Mexican side and wall on the US side with a nuclear waste trench in between. One cited patriotic reasons to keep out “outsiders” and preserve American culture.

  • Walls can reduce illegal crossings but are really symbolic of controlling perceived problems. Trump’s wall symbolizes preserving the nation and “America First” views.

  • The US-Mexico border history is complex, with the boundary changing over time due to wars, purchases and Mexican immigration policies backfiring by bringing in more Americans instead of Mexicans. Texas independence and annexation extended the border to the Rio Grande.

  • Changing demographics mean some states may become majority-Hispanic and adopt Spanish legally. In the long run some regions may seek greater autonomy, worrying those who want to preserve traditional American identity. The wall epitomizes this ongoing tension over national identity.

  • The US-Mexico border was established after the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, but the border was only lightly demarcated at first with few boundary markers.

  • Border security increased in the 1920s during Prohibition to combat alcohol smuggling. The US Border Patrol was formed in 1924 and fences were built, though they were not very effective.

  • Migration from Mexico increased during the Great Depression as jobs became scarce in the US. Around 500,000-2 million Mexican immigrants were deported in the 1930s.

  • More immigrant workers were brought in legally during WWII to meet labor demands, but barriers started going up again in the 1970s due to economic concerns and increased migration.

  • The Secure Fence Act of 2006 approved 700 more miles of fencing along the border during George W. Bush’s presidency, with bipartisan support. Obama continued building fencing but adopted a more lenient policy toward undocumented immigrants already in the US.

  • Barriers have pushed migrants into remote desert areas where thousands have died, but many still find ways around or over fences. They only slow illegal crossings rather than stopping them. Hypocrisy also exists with US businesses that hire undocumented workers.

  • The passage teases the idea of basing NAFTA immigration laws on Mexico’s laws as a hypothetical possibility, but does not seriously suggest this would or should happen.

  • It discusses how America’s immigration policies have been influenced by terrorist incidents and Trump has taken a harsher stance than predecessors with travel bans, border wall, and deportation efforts. However, evidence suggests terrorists are not entering via the southern border and refugees pose little threat.

  • A physical border wall may seem appealing but faces many practical challenges in terms of budget, land ownership issues, natural geographic barriers, and treaties with Mexico. Estimated costs are extremely high, in the tens of billions.

  • While enforcement efforts continue, a cheaper alternative may be improving security measures while maintaining the symbolic idea of a “wall” through barriers like fences. But political compromise would still be needed given the hurdles described.

So in summary, it teases the idea of basing NAFTA laws on Mexico’s as a thought experiment but does not advocate for it, and rather discusses the challenges around actually building a full border wall.

  • Trump remains committed to building a border wall as a symbol of protecting American values and stopping illegal immigration, despite legal and physical challenges.

  • Race appears to be one of the widest divisions in America. While 72.4% of the population is white, minorities are growing rapidly, with Hispanics projected to become the largest ethnic group.

  • The anti-immigration rhetoric around the wall increases tensions. Hispanics report higher levels of discrimination, with 52% saying they’ve faced unfair treatment due to ethnicity.

  • The clearest racial divide is between white and black Americans, stemming from the legacy of slavery. On average, black Americans have lower education, wealth, health and life expectancy compared to whites.

  • Racism still plays a role in these disparities. From infancy to the workplace to the criminal justice system, statistics show black Americans facing worse outcomes. High-profile police shootings of unarmed black men have highlighted these issues.

  • While progress has been made, over 150 years after emancipation more work remains to achieve parity between white and black populations in American society. Religion is another division, though most Americans remain Christian.

  • The passage describes the increasing divisions in American society along racial, ethnic and political lines. There is a growing clash between principles of assimilation and multiculturalism.

  • Americans are increasingly identifying themselves by ethnicity, religion or other identities, further polarizing and fragmenting the nation. While diversity is encouraged, this can also lead to some groups separating from the wider society.

  • The 2016 presidential election exposed divisions, like when Trump criticized a Muslim-American family whose son died in Iraq. His remarks implied their religion made them different from other American families.

  • Politically, there are more “consistent liberals” and “consistent conservatives” with growing contempt between the two sides. Views are increasingly entrenched.

  • There are also geographical divides, with committed Democrats found in urban areas and Republicans in rural towns. Some see an “urban globalist” vs “non-urban nationalist” divide.

  • Extremism is also growing on college campuses, where some students pressure administrators to fire professors with dissenting views. This threatens free speech and the middle ground.

  • Events like the Charlottesville white supremacist rally further inflame tensions. While there is outrage, some leaders refuse to fully condemn extremist groups, exacerbating divisions.

  • The passage describes the Israeli separation barrier between Israel and the West Bank, which consists of both a concrete wall and barbed wire fencing. Only 3% is concrete wall but this is what is usually referred to and depicted due to its visual impact.

  • The wall divides communities and makes travel difficult, oppressive and intimidating for Palestinians. It is a symbol of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • British artist Banksy has painted murals on the Palestinian side criticizing the wall and occupation. He opened the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem right next to the wall to draw attention to the issue.

  • The wall’s existence and route are disputed. Israel says it provides security from attacks, while Palestinians see it as a land grab that encroaches on their territory. The barrier divides the West Bank and makes a contiguous Palestinian state difficult.

  • The ongoing dispute over land and borders dates back to the creation of Israel in 1948 and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank after 1967. Palestinians seek an independent state while Israel maintains control over settlements in the West Bank. The wall is emblematic of this unresolved conflict.

  • Jerusalem was captured by Israel in 1967 but Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israelis see East Jerusalem and the West Bank as separate while Palestinians do not make this distinction.

  • The separation barrier roughly follows the 1949 armistice line (Green Line) but extends into Palestinian territory in some areas. Its route is disputed.

  • Israeli opinions on settlements in the West Bank are divided. Religious settlers claim biblical right to the land while secular settlers argue Jordan dropped its claim. Internationally, settlements are considered illegal.

  • Palestinians see the barrier as stealing their land and creating facts on the ground to legitimize future land claims. Israelis argue it provided security by stopping suicide bombings, though critics say attacks decreased for other reasons.

  • Israel has built other barriers on borders with Gaza, Egypt, and Syria for security. Views are divided on whether barriers are permanent but many see them as temporary until a final agreement.

  • Israeli Jewish society is divided along ethnic, religious, and cultural lines. The main divisions are between Ashkenazi (of European descent) and Sephardi Jews (of Middle Eastern/North African descent), and between secular, traditional, religious, and ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) groups.

  • Intermarriage rates remain low due to cultural and religious differences between the groups. Neighborhoods, schools, religious sites, and social circles tend to be segregated.

  • Haredi Jews have higher birth rates and poverty rates than other groups. Their focus on religious study leads to higher unemployment.

  • Religious political parties representing Haredi and other Orthodox interests often hold influential kingmaker roles in coalition governments.

  • Secular Israelis resent subsidies for Haredi communities and their exemption from military service. Growing Haredi numbers also concern secular groups.

  • Despite internal divisions, most observers agree that in times of external threat Israeli Jews overwhelmingly unite and rally around the state of Israel.

  • Israeli Arabs, who make up around 20% of the population, have full citizenship but face economic and social disadvantages compared to Jewish Israelis. Growing Arab numbers could increase their political influence over time.

  • Arab Israelis have equal rights under law but often live separate lives from Jewish Israelis. They are educated in Arabic schools and live in Arab towns/neighborhoods.

  • Arabs fare worse socioeconomically, with higher poverty rates. Public education spending was historically lower in Arab areas.

  • The Arab population is divided along religious/ethnic lines, with Christians faring better economically than Muslims or Bedouins. Half of Bedouins live in unrecognized villages lacking basic services.

  • Most Arab Israelis do not serve in the IDF due to its involvement in the occupied territories. Bedouins are more likely to serve.

  • Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are divided politically between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.

  • Hamas won elections in 2006 but seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007, splitting Palestinian governance. Reconciliation efforts have failed.

  • Gaza remains tightly blockaded by Israel and Egypt for security reasons, causing economic hardship but also bolstering Hamas’ rule. Tunnels provide goods but also arms for militant groups.

  • Small concrete walls and barriers have sprung up around sensitive buildings in many Middle Eastern capital cities like Baghdad, Damascus, Amman, Sana’a, Beirut, and Cairo in response to the endemic terrorist violence plaguing the region. Over 150 attacks have hit the region this century.

  • The template was the “Green Zone” built in Baghdad after 2003 to protect the provisional government. It was ringed by giant concrete slabs similar to the West Bank barrier. Explosions could be regularly heard outside but provided protection.

  • As the threat grew, roads leading to the Green Zone were lined with concrete barriers nicknamed after US states for their size - “Colorado”, “Texas”, “Alaska”. While they saved lives, they were not foolproof against shaped roadside bombs and came at a heavy cost in resources and lives to construct and maintain.

  • In summary, small concrete barriers have proliferated across capitals in the Middle East as a response to frequent terrorist attacks, providing some protection but at significant monetary and strategic costs.

  • The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 contributed to destabilization across several countries and the growth of violent Islamist ideology. It trained jihadists who later participated in the Arab uprisings of 2011.

  • Conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt and Yemen showed that regional instability has little to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • The Arab world suffered hugely disproportionate levels of terrorist attacks, deaths from conflict, and refugees from 2014. Many countries have fallen apart or are internally divided.

  • The main religious division is between Sunni and Shia Muslims, dating back to a succession dispute after the Prophet Muhammad. This split has been exacerbated by the rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran seeking influence.

  • Wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and sectarian tensions stem partly from this divide. Both Sunni and Shia extremists have carried out violence to further political aims.

  • As conflicts intensify along sectarian lines, the age of walls is rising as different religious groups separate physically across the Middle East and North Africa.

Several Middle Eastern countries have constructed border fences and barriers in recent years due to regional instability and security threats. Jordan has built a high-tech 160-mile fence along its Syrian border, funded by the US, to stop refugees and potential terrorists from the Syrian civil war. Saudi Arabia has extensive fences along its borders with Iraq and Yemen, partly funded by the US, to prevent cross-border attacks and illegal immigration. Turkey is building a wall along part of its border with Syria for similar security reasons. Kuwait maintains a barrier along its border with Iraq as a buffer due to their historical tensions. The barriers demonstrate how conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have indirectly impacted neighboring countries and increased their security concerns. While aiming to control borders, the fences also help protect US military personnel temporarily deployed in some countries like Jordan.

  • The Kurds are an ethnic group split between several Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, where they suffered discrimination and atrocities under Saddam Hussein. Their lack of a unified homeland contributes to issues in the region.

  • Factors that have hindered the Arab world include colonial borders that ignored cultural divisions, lack of natural resources, authoritarian governments, censorship, and restrictions on individual freedoms.

  • A 2002 UN report highlighted three deficits holding the region back - lack of political and religious freedoms and knowledge, poor communication of ideas, and low women’s participation. Progress has been limited despite some reforms.

  • Many blame the “closing of the Arab mind” centuries ago, when religious interpretation became static rather than allowing original thinking. This may explain why other cultures surpassed Arabs in development despite similar challenges.

  • Proposed solutions that have been tried with little success include nationalism, socialism, strongmen, and various political systems. Religion and identity politics have often replaced weakening states. Sectarian divisions and tribalism also impede unity.

  • The 1916 Arab Revolt dream of a unified Arabia will likely never be realized due to deep divides. The outlook is pessimistic unless individual liberties and separation of religion and politics can be established. Education and economic progress alone will not solve the issues.

  • India has constructed a 2,500 mile border fence along its border with Bangladesh to prevent illegal immigration and smuggling. The fence uses barbed wire, walls, sensors and cameras for surveillance.

  • Despite these measures, many continue to cross illegally due to economic reasons. The death of 15-year old Felani Khatun in 2011, who was shot while climbing the fence, highlighted the human costs of such barriers.

  • The divisions in the region stem partly from borders drawn by colonial powers cutting through communities, and religious/ethnic prejudice between Hindus, Muslims and other groups.

  • In 1947, India and Pakistan gained independence but the borders separated Muslim-majority from Hindu-majority areas, displacing millions and leading to violence that killed millions more in the process.

  • The borders drawn along partly religious lines continue to be a source of tension between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. India also accepts large numbers of refugees from neighboring countries and regions like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet due to its relatively stronger economy and democracy.

  • Millions of people have migrated from Bangladesh to India over the past several decades, fleeing poverty, persecution, and natural disasters in Bangladesh. Bangladesh borders India on three sides, making cross-border movement relatively easy.

  • The largest waves of migration occurred after the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, when millions of refugees fled to India. Many have continued migrating each year since due to hard living conditions in Bangladesh.

  • Assam state in northeast India has been most impacted, with its population doubling since 1971 mostly due to illegal immigration. This has caused resentment among locals who feel overwhelmed.

  • India lacks clear refugee or immigration laws to deal with the situation. The 1985 Assam Accord aimed to deport illegal immigrants but was not effective. Fences and technology have been used to secure the border with limited success.

  • The challenge involves balancing humanitarian concerns, Assam citizens’ interests, and complex relations with Bangladesh, which sometimes refuses to take back migrants. There are calls for India to establish a legal framework to better manage refugees and illegal immigration.

  • Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries, with 165 million people living in an area smaller than Florida. Much of the land is at or below sea level and at risk of flooding.

  • Climate change is predicted to raise sea levels and temperatures, which could flood 20% of Bangladeshi land over the next 80 years. This would displace tens of millions of climate refugees internally and abroad.

  • India already struggles with illegal immigration from Bangladesh and views it as a national security threat related to potential separatist movements. It has built fences along the border.

  • Future mass displacement from Bangladesh due to climate change could severely exacerbate tensions with India over accepting refugees. There are also concerns about maintaining religious and ethnic balances.

  • The Rohingya people in Myanmar, who are ethnically related to Bangladeshis, have faced persecution including being denied citizenship. Hundreds of thousands have fled to Bangladesh as refugees in past decades but place a large humanitarian burden. Their numbers fleeing violence have risen again dramatically in recent years.

  • The region along India’s northeastern border with Myanmar faces instability due to conflicts between the Myanmar government and ethnic minority groups like the Rohingya and Nagas.

  • The Rohingya crisis has led to hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to Bangladesh, creating a humanitarian crisis. Both countries want the Rohingya to return, but conditions in Myanmar remain unsafe.

  • The Naga people are divided between India and Myanmar by the border. Their insurgent movement occasionally stages cross-border raids, leading both countries to build a fence along parts of this section.

  • India is constructing barriers and installing surveillance technology along many of its borders to curb militant infiltration and prevent tensions from escalating into conflict, especially with Pakistan over Kashmir. However, not all borders require fencing due to close relationships with countries like Bhutan and challenges along others like the Himalayas with China.

  • Overall, population growth and historic divisions have left India managing complex border issues. Fencing aims to enhance security but risks separating communities and may further inflame certain disputes.

  • The India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders are heavily disputed and militarized. Both sides frequently violate agreements on defense infrastructure near the border and cross-border shootings are common.

  • The Line of Control dividing Kashmir is also poorly regulated, with both sides ignoring stipulations on defense construction. There are regular ceasefire violations and accusations of sponsoring terrorist attacks.

  • The Pakistan-Afghanistan border, known as the Durand Line, divides Pashtun communities and is not recognized by Afghanistan. This has facilitated cross-border militant activities by groups like the Taliban.

  • Iran is constructing a border wall with Pakistan to prevent drug smuggling and infiltration of Sunni militias from Pakistan.

  • Despite ambitions for regional cooperation, border tensions and recent trends towards border fortification go against this goal.

  • Religious divides, particularly between secular India and Islamic Pakistan/Bangladesh, represent deeper ideological barriers beyond physical walls.

  • India also faces significant internal divisions in the form of its deeply entrenched and religiously-justified caste system, which forcibly segregates society and denies equal rights and opportunities. The caste system remains firmly embedded in daily life despite some urbanization.

  • There is a 1,700 mile long sand wall separating territory controlled by Morocco and that held by the Polisario Front in Western Sahara. It has sand berms up to 7 feet high with landmines stretching for miles on both sides, making it one of the longest continuous minefields.

  • Morocco built the wall, known as the “Wall of Shame”, in the 1980s to keep Sahrawi rebel fighters from the Polisario Front away from areas it considers its own. It is heavily guarded by the Moroccan army.

  • The wall divides the land between what Morocco terms its Southern Provinces along the coast, and the inland “Free Zone” claimed by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

  • The Sahrawi people traditionally inhabited this land but were separated by the wall. They speak Hassaniya Arabic and had a nomadic way of life. Morocco has encouraged immigration, changing the population makeup.

  • The Sahrawi strive for independence but their cause receives little attention internationally. The conflict has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths over several decades. The wall stands as a barrier upholding Morocco’s annexation of most of Western Sahara against Sahrawi aspirations for self-determination.

  • The Sahrawi people of Western Sahara wish to be independent from Moroccan control and determine their own future, but they were subjected to colonial boundaries drawn without their consent.

  • Many African countries suffer from violent secessionist and civil wars due to the arbitrary way colonial powers established nation-state borders, often dividing ethnic and tribal groups between multiple countries.

  • Tribal identities and associations remain strong in Africa, as tribes were not considered when creating colonial borders. This tribalism can both promote community but also hinder the development of national identity and cohesion in some states.

  • The pre-colonial Kingdom of Benin had a massive capital city that was more advanced than European cities at the time, but it was destroyed by the British in 1897 as they consolidated power, erasing a center of African civilization and culture. Colonial domination disrupted existing political structures in Africa.

  • European colonial powers arbitrarily drew borders in Africa, combining many different ethnic groups and kingdoms into single nation states like Nigeria. This threw together hundreds of tribes that had their own distinct cultures and forms of government.

  • When the colonialists left, they expected these diverse peoples to form united democratic nations, despite having little in common and no experience governing together. This created contradictions within the colonial legacy.

  • Many postwar leaders recognized redrawing borders could cause wars, so they maintained the colonial boundaries hoping to build nationhood over time. But most failed to unite people and relied on oppression, further dividing groups.

  • Today some groups are still struggling with or rejecting the borders imposed on them. Various secessionist movements exist seeking self-determination, and territorial disputes have led to conflicts like in Nigeria, Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and others. The artificial borders created by colonialism continue impacting tensions and instability across Africa.

  • Bakassi Peninsula was historically part of German Cameroon but claimed by Nigeria after independence. It went to an ICJ case which ruled in favor of Cameroon based on colonial-era treaties. Not all Nigerians accept this ruling.

  • There is debate around whether ethnic/tribal divisions in these disputes are truly deep or exploited by politicians. While politicians may use ethnicity, the divisions provide flammable material.

  • Tribalism can split politics along ethnic lines and encourage corruption as people favor their own tribes. This is problematic across Africa and a challenge for national unity and development.

  • Some countries have managed tribalism better through power-sharing systems, national languages like Swahili in Tanzania, or strong centralizing leadership like Nkrumah in Ghana. But tribal tensions generally distract from development.

  • Poverty, inequality, and crime are widespread issues across Africa, exacerbated by factors like tribalism, corruption, and conflicts. Migration across borders causes tensions as richer countries seek to limit influx of poor migrants.

The passage discusses the rise of gated communities in Africa and elsewhere as a way for the wealthy to retreat from poverty, crime, and inequality in cities. While the poor remain trapped in cycles of poverty and insecurity, the rich are building ever more exclusive, fortified enclaves protected by security systems.

Gated communities offer luxury amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts. They promise safety from crime, though some research shows they may paradoxically increase crime risks by abandoning public spaces. They weaken social cohesion by being exclusionary and diminishing shared public spaces.

Not only the ultra-wealthy live in such compounds - Africa’s growing middle class can afford gated flats. Lagos, Nigeria shows extremes of wealth and poverty side by side. New reclaimed cities like Eko Atlantic cater exclusively to the rich.

Gated compounds affect attitudes to government by reducing reliance on public services. They may weaken community and family ties that have traditionally been strong in Africa by creating more insular, class-based “tribes” cut off from extended families. While providing security, gated communities also symbolize rising inequality and societal divisions.

  • During the Cold War, travel across borders in Western Europe was relatively straightforward but required checkpoints and scrutiny to cross into Eastern Europe due to the Iron Curtain dividing the continent.

  • The Berlin Wall was a stark physical and ideological divide between communist East and capitalist West Germany/Berlin. It was erected in 1961 to stem the flow of East Germans fleeing to the West for more individual freedoms and prosperity.

  • Over its existence, around 140 people died trying to cross the wall illegally through tunnels, cables, or homemade contraptions. While it effectively halted the mass exodus, it also psychologically and mentally imprisoned East Germans behind it for decades.

  • The wall came to symbolize the division of Europe and ideological conflict between Soviet-led communism and Western capitalism during the Cold War. Its fall in 1989 was an iconic moment signaling the decline of Soviet power and the reunification of Germany.

  • Europe was divided during the Cold War by the Iron Curtain, with Eastern Europe behind the curtain under communist rule. Travel between East and West was difficult.

  • Reforms initiated by Gorbachev in the Soviet Union led to loosening of restrictions in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s. In particular, Hungary began dismantling its border with Austria in 1989.

  • This allowed East Germans to travel to Hungary and eventually thousands made their way to West Germany through Hungary. The opening of Hungary’s borders was a key early step in the fall of the Iron Curtain.

  • Protests in East Germany grew and the borders were fully opened in November 1989 when the East German government announced new travel rules. Scenes of jubilation ensued as East and West Germans reunited.

  • Germany was politically reunified in 1990. However, integration proved challenging as the two parts of Germany had been divided for decades under very different economic and political systems.

  • Significant economic and social divisions persisted for years between the former East and West Germany, with the west remaining more prosperous. Remnants of the “wall in the heads” between east and west Germans still exist to some degree today.

  • After the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification, there was an optimism about a borderless, unified Europe with free movement of people, goods and capital between member states. However, significant divisions remain between east and west.

  • The 2004 EU expansion brought in poorer eastern European countries, leading to large migration westward for work. This created tensions over job and welfare competition that fueled anti-EU sentiment.

  • The 2008 financial crisis exacerbated these issues as taxpayers bailed out banks while facing austerity. People questioned the benefits of EU membership.

  • National identities remain strong in Europe and most citizens still primarily identify with their nation rather than Europe. Creating a shared European identity has proven difficult with huge cultural and economic differences between members.

  • Rising nationalist populism in many countries challenges the EU project. Separatist movements have also grown, highlighting tensions between national and supranational identities. Brexit was a manifestation of these pressures on European integration.

  • While a borderless Europe aims to prevent conflict, ignoring nationalism is a mistake as it remains a powerful force. Balancing national sovereignty with cooperation will likely remain difficult for the EU.

Tony Judt argued in 1996 that neglecting nations and states risked empowering virulent nationalists. This prediction has come true as rapid migration has caused attitudes towards immigrants to harden and support for nationalist parties to grow across Western Europe.

The migrant crisis that began building in 2011 peaked in 2015 with over a million refugees entering Europe. While leaders were initially welcoming, they became unprepared to handle such large numbers. Many Europeans also became unwilling to accept more migrants.

Borders within the EU started tightening as countries sought to regain control over immigration flows. Hungary was one of the first to erect razor-wire fences on its borders with Serbia and Croatia. Other countries followed suit with various border barriers and controls.

This rise in border protectionism threatens one of the basic EU ideals of open borders. It has stranded asylum seekers in some countries and strained relations between EU member states with differing views on immigration. However, some argue Europe needs migrants due to demographic issues like aging populations and low birth rates.

Public opinion has hardened against immigration due to fears over terrorism, threats to public services, and perceptions of unfairness. Education level is a significant factor, with less educated citizens more likely to oppose immigration. While EU leaders were caught off guard by this backlash, controlling borders has become a priority for many governments and their publics.

The passage discusses tensions around immigration and integration in Europe. It notes that while EU freedom of movement benefits EU citizens, non-EU immigrants can intensify a sense of injustice in waiting rooms.

It describes Denmark introducing a 2016 law allowing seizure of valuables from asylum seekers to contribute to costs. Though controversial, the government aimed to address rising concern over refugee numbers and costs.

There is concern that newcomers may not share “European values” around freedoms and equality. Debates have emerged around issues like gender segregation, burqas, and free speech limitations.

While Muslims make up relatively small percentages across EU countries, some perceive numbers as larger due to urban concentrations. Negative views of Muslims are more common in Eastern/Southern Europe. Views are rising in places like France due to terrorism and migration.

Integration challenges include self-segregation in poor urban neighborhoods, as happened historically with Polish/Italian immigrants. However, dissenting religious voices within Muslim communities may now hamper integration more than far-right counterparts. Negative perceptions have caused divisions within and between EU societies over immigration.

  • Far-right nationalist and populist parties have gained more prominence and support across Europe in recent years, driven partly by fears over immigration and Islam. Parties mentioned include Golden Dawn, Sweden Democrats, Party for Freedom, Freedom Party, and Jobbik.

  • Germany took in over 1 million asylum seekers in 2015, straining resources and changing some communities. This fueled a rise in support for anti-immigrant groups like PEGIDA and AfD. Attacks on migrant shelters increased. Eastern Germany saw more extremism and opposition to immigration.

  • PEGIDAorganized large protests starting in 2014 criticizing immigration policies and “lying media.” Support waned due to scandals but revived with the crisis. AfD emerged to capture this constituency politically.

  • AfD entered the German parliament in 2017 on an anti-euro, anti-immigration platform rejecting multiculturalism and Muslim influences. Similar parties grew in popularity in Netherlands, France, Austria and elsewhere.

  • The rise of far-right nationalism poses a challenge to the liberal, pro-integration vision of the EU and has polarized debates around immigration and national identity across Europe.

  • Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Romans in 122 CE stretching 73 miles across northern England to defend their conquered territory against tribes they couldn’t rule to the north. It marked the limit of Roman control in Britain.

  • The wall helped shape what would become the United Kingdom, dividing lands above and below it culturally for over 200 years. England became more Romanized below the wall, while Wales and Scotland retained Celtic cultures above it.

  • By the 4th century CE, Romans began withdrawing from Britain due to issues on the continent. The wall fell into disrepair without Roman maintenance and Britain lost its unifying force, leaving local defenses vulnerable to invaders from the north.

  • Over centuries, the wall gradually disappeared as its stones were scavenged and reused. By the 1700s, it meant little to locals and significant sections were destroyed during road construction, becoming a diminished structure. The wall outlines lasting divisions in the geography and identity of the UK.

  • The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in the 2nd century AD to separate Roman Britain from Scotland. Over time, much of the wall was destroyed as locals took stones from it to build roads, buildings, and other structures.

  • In the 1800s, conservation efforts began and sections were cleared and maintained as an important historic monument. The best preserved section now is a 20-mile stretch in Northumberland.

  • The wall still stands as both a physical barrier and symbolic one, reminding the British of when they were first politically connected to Europe and divided into England and Scotland.

  • Scotland and England have had a complex relationship spanning hundreds of years, from periods of conflict to times of union. They were united under the same crown in 1603 and through the Acts of Union in 1707, forming the Kingdom of Great Britain.

  • Scots and Scottish identity remain distinct from the English, though genetic differences have diminished over time. Scottish Gaelic was historically more widespread but declined due to English influence.

  • Powers have increasingly devolved from London to the Scottish parliament, but a 2014 independence referendum voted to remain in the UK. Scottish identity and the question of self-determination continues to shape Anglo-Scottish relations.

Northern Ireland has deep sectarian divisions along religious and political lines dating back to its creation in 1921. The population is split between mostly Protestant unionists who want to remain in the UK, and mostly Catholic nationalists who want a united Ireland. This divide has fueled intermittent violent conflict for decades, most severely during the Troubles from the late 1960s to 1990s which cost over 3,500 lives.

While a peace agreement in 1998 reduced violence, Northern Ireland remains deeply divided. Concrete peace walls zigzag through poorer areas of Belfast separating Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. Symbols of paramilitary groups are displayed on murals. Schools and neighborhoods also tend to be segregated along religious lines. Changing demographics may further exacerbate tensions, as the Protestant population declines and Catholics become a majority.

Brexit has also exposed new divisions and risks upsetting the fragile peace. The land border with Ireland is problematic, and how trade and movement across it will change post-Brexit could have major consequences. Overall, sectarian divisions and segregation remain deeply entrenched in Northern Irish society and institutions, though efforts at reconciliation and integration have faced challenges.

  • Major corporations and civil service: Many top positions are filled by people from private school backgrounds. Over half of UK newspaper columnists and 43% of BBC Question Time guests attended Oxford/Cambridge.

  • Political parties: Labour was traditionally the party of the working class but now draws similar numbers of middle-class voters. It is seen as focusing more on progressive/cosmopolitan issues than traditional working-class concerns.

  • Society: David Goodhart identified a divide between “Anywheres” who are globally mobile professionals and “Somewheres” with strong local/national identities. Brexit reflected some tensions between these groups.

  • Immigration: Mass immigration fueled by the EU enlarged was not matched by investment in public services. Concerns about pace of cultural change were dismissed by elites as bigoted. Surveys found many felt Britain had changed beyond recognition.

  • Globalization impacts: Jobs declined for some low-skilled workers. Working-class culture has been marginalized in national discourse. Both factors fueled populism and anti-establishment views. Overall, there are imbalances of power and representation between different social/regional groups in the UK.

The passage discusses the changing religious diversity and demographics in the UK. While most British people accept ideas like ethnic and gender equality, attitudes toward immigration and religion are complex.

Christianity is declining significantly, though many still identify culturally as Christian. Islam is now the fastest growing religion due to higher birth rates and immigration. If trends continue, Islam could become the most widely practiced religion.

However, the actual Muslim population is overestimated. Muslims are concentrated in urban areas, which can lead to parallel societies and challenges with social cohesion.

Religion, especially Islam, complicates the UK’s social changes as some religious beliefs do not align with modern liberal values like gay rights. There are concerns that some forms of Islam seek to impose religious laws on all or reverse liberal changes.

The future remains unclear - will Islam integrate further into UK culture or will some areas face “Islamification”? Ordinary citizens feel disconnected from the dominant progressive narrative but still support a modern society. Managing religious diversity and social cohesion will continue to be important issues.

  • Orwell observed that many English intellectuals feel ashamed of nationalist pride and institutions like the monarchy. This provides insight into some pro-Brexit voters who value national identity.

  • The UK has overcome nationalist, religious and class divisions in the past through shared experiences building a coherent society. Brexit is again testing social cohesion.

  • Divisions like Northern Ireland’s peace walls show how far the UK still needs to go to overcome such rifts. It’s important to balance the concerns of different communities.

  • The essay warns against a future where communities retreat into separate enclaves, weakening the whole of society. Competing narratives must be reconciled to bind communities together in a shared national identity.

  • Buffer zones and walls are created by conflicts as contested or controlled spaces. Stepping into them can be unsettling, as each side monitors the other.

  • Examples of divided areas like Cyprus, Gaza, and borders illustrate the tensions but also some security benefits of separation. Walls may provide temporary solutions but not resolve underlying issues.

  • Mass migration due to global poverty and conflict will likely continue. While some advocate open borders, walls will still be used by wealthy nations to control migrant flows in the near term. More lasting solutions are needed.

The essay argues that while an open borders policy may seem logically appealing from a humanitarian perspective, it would not actually work in practice for several key reasons.

First, large-scale emigration from poorer countries would likely cause those countries to decline further as they lose educated citizens. This could destabilize and impoverish countries of origin.

Second, mass migration often triggers unease and polarization in destination countries. Groups become wary of outsiders, fueling nationalist and anti-immigration sentiment. This is evident from current political trends in Europe and elsewhere.

Third, the idea of distinct nation states with controlled borders, while flawed, has brought stability over the past century. Dismantling national identities could undermine that stability.

While increased foreign aid and development assistance are needed long-term to reduce pressures for migration, completely open borders are not a viable solution given real limitations of human nature and the entrenchment of national identities. Controlled, sustainable immigration policies that integrate newcomers while respecting host communities are preferable. Overall development assistance and economic opportunities in countries of origin are key to addressing root causes of unauthorized migration.

The passage discusses how, despite rising nationalism and identity politics, there is potential for increased unity between groups. It notes several examples of inter-faith and international organizations that have been formed to help unite people and resolve conflicts, such as the United Nations, EU, African Union, etc. These represent a formal recognition of the shared human condition and demonstrate efforts by larger groups to find common ground and lasting solutions while still maintaining separate identities. Significant money is also donated internationally in aid by wealthier countries.

Overall, the passage suggests that while nationalism may currently be increasing, the overall arc of history could bend back towards greater unity between groups. It acknowledges humanity’s efforts through organizations and diplomacy to unite despite differences, recognize our shared equality, and negotiate disagreements through open discussion. So even as divisions rise temporarily, the structures are in place for cooperation and understanding to empower unity going forward if pursued constructively.

Here are summaries of the two sources:

‘The politics of humor: the Berlin Wall in jokes and graffiti’, Western Folklore, vol. 48, no. 2 (April 1989), pp. 85–108

This article analyzes jokes and graffiti related to the Berlin Wall in East and West Germany. It examines how humor was used by both sides as a form of subtle protest and commentary on political situations. Jokes poked fun at leaders like Honecker and mocked the premise of the Wall. Graffiti expressed dissent, frustration or hopes for reunification. The jokes and graffiti gave East Germans an outlet for criticism in an authoritarian state and helped shape popular perceptions of the Wall and division of Germany.

‘Das sollen Flüchtlinge künftig leisten’, Spiegel Online, 24 May 2016

This Spiegel Online article discusses proposals by the German government about future requirements for refugees. It notes plans being discussed that would see refugees required to perform community service work after 15 months of receiving benefits. This could involve tasks like helping senior citizens with chores or assisting local governments and aid organizations. Supporters argue it would help refugees integrate into German society better. But critics say it risks exploiting refugees and could saddle them with unrealistic work expectations too soon. The plans remain under negotiation between German political parties.

  • Iran-Iraq War occurred from 1980-1988 and involved Iran and Iraq fighting against each other.

  • Iraq was mentioned in relation to the Iran-Iraq War, the 2003 Iraq War, and the Iraqi Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

  • The 2003 Iraq War lasted from 2003-2011 and involved a US-led coalition invading Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein.

  • Irish Kuristan is an autonomous region within Iraq inhabited by Iraqi Kurds, who make up the majority of the population there.

  • Numbers listed - 0, 111, 116, 144 - may refer to specific pages where these topics are discussed.

Amy Howarth

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