Since President Donald Trump took office two years ago on the chanted slogan “Build the Wall,” I’ve reflected on the “Peace Walls” that I will encounter next month when I arrive in Northern Ireland. I do not support walls or gated communities, but I recognize people who want walls, gates or fences have real safety concerns and that they feel the only way to protect their community is by erecting a wall.
In the Northeastern United States where I live one can travel across the state of Massachusetts without encountering protective barriers like walls. But increasingly fences are becoming more prevalent and taller. In suburban and rural areas walls are mostly decorative or knee-high stone borders around pastures. The closer one travels to larger cities decorative fences become thicker and taller, more impenetrable to outsiders. Still, fortunately, they are few and far in-between.
One of the concerns many people have in Northern Ireland today is the possible return of hard borders between Ulster, UK and the Republic of Ireland. The concern over hard borders with government agents has become greater due to the possibility of a no deal Brexit. There are over 34 kilometers or 21.1 miles of “Peace Walls” across Northern Ireland and the neighborhoods adjacent to the interface of these walls are some of the poorest.
Here are a few news stories about walls that divide communities.
Uncovered Love Thy Neighbor: the new politics of walls. Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall we are building more walls than ever.
Northern Ireland Foundation, “Working for a cohesive Northern Ireland Society” Peace Walls
Trump Wall – all you need to know about U.S. border in seven charts https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46824649