Arbitrary lines drawn on a map in some conclave between monarchs in a remote time, borders are the new barricades against our own human condition.
While it is no longer possible to deny that nature is global and the economy functions on scales that are measured in billions of consumers, politicians cling to the old ghosts of racism, injustice, and selfishness to profit from fear and social resentment. Criminalizing migration is today’s thing.
Along with the process of presidential succession in the United States and change of command in Mexico, a new wave of intolerance is rising against the displacement of people in search of better life opportunities, a phenomenon as old as civilization itself.
It is easy to imagine – based on the rhetoric that has kidnapped the Republican Party – various scenarios in the very near future in which the United States war machine once again invades Mexico in the name of combating the multinational mafias of the drugs and with the excuse of the need to build gigantic walls to try to deny the historical condition of the United States as a nation that was, is and will be, built by immigrants.
Whether through the use of special forces, regular troops or even through the suicidal use of weapons of mass destruction, the rhetoric of hatred and xenophobia continues to grow in circles of political-media power in adherence to the eternal formula of using the most vulnerable social groups. — whether they are called “Morenos” or Jews — as scapegoats for the consequences of an economic order based on environmental depredation and labor exploitation.
Beyond the major truisms – such as the fact that immigration of Hispanic origin constitutes the most dynamic social segment of the American economy and society – it is clear that behind the demonization of immigration there are structural reasons. As with the issue of 100,000 annual deaths from fentanyl consumption – a social tragedy in itself – the fact is, above all, a symptom of deeper problems.
Among them nihilisms and lack of hope caused by ecocide. “Humanity has opened the gates to hell.” The statement by Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations during the last General Assembly sounds like a desperate attempt to draw attention to the consequences that we already suffer from climate change. Regardless of the tabloid tone of his proclamations and the use of religious language – maintaining that “humanity has opened the gates of hell” from the main multilateral pulpit on the planet is it – the diplomat’s call illustrates the extreme moment we are going through.
Every day we see thousands and thousands of people crossing the southern and northern borders of Mexico, saturating the immigration shelters, and leaving a painful burden of misery and despair on the streets throughout the country, and now also in various “sanctuary cities.” “From the north of the continent, especially New York. We are facing the construction of a new “normality” in which the insensitivity and/or intolerance of broad social segments are capitalized by the professional agitators of the extremist right who continue to advance in large regions of the planet.
For these purposes, borders are no longer just the lines of division between countries, nor even strips of a few hundred kilometers deep in which societies on both sides learn to live together. Now, the borders can be found within the countries themselves. Perhaps the best example is the emergence of a “third world” within the most economically advanced countries. The European case stands out, of course, but these gaps can be clearly seen behind the growing and dramatic economic inequality of recent decades in almost the entire planet.
This without entering into the issue of the borders between the use of new technologies – digital divides -, what we have on the horizon with Artificial Intelligence, and advances in scientific matters that could have as a superior example the difference of several decades in the life expectancy between those who have everything and those who lack everything.
Beyond the attempts, also rhetorical, of the Mexican government and the dozen countries that play along, to promote great plans to address “the real causes” of migration and, in order to stop or avoid it, the true great paradox behind of this phenomenon is that the vast majority of the world already registers negative demographic growth rates (below two children per woman, which would be the zero growth rate), which is why in a couple of decades the world population will begin to decrease, seemingly constantly and inevitably.
Who but immigrants will pay for the pensions of the Baby-boomer generation? We asked ourselves a decade ago. Today, judging by the level of political noise against those who commit the sin of wanting to escape misery and, often, violence, the answer could well be “nobody.”
And in the meantime, we will continue to get used to and become desensitized to the images of babies being crossed in the middle of barbed wire walls or found drowned on some beach in the Mediterranean Sea or the Rio Grande.