Monday, September 3, 2007

Fences and walls

When people are terrorized (in both senses, figuratively and literally) and their imagination runs out, causing them to lose control of themselves, they build fences, hoping that the demons will remain on the other side. That's what the French did, between the two world wars, when they decided to erect the ridiculous wall of blockhouses, to the north of Metz, known as the Maginot Line:

The Nazi demons simply flowed around one end of this silly barrier.

The most notorious fence of modern times was the Berlin Wall:

Thankfully, most walls are fragile. They have weak spots. And, when a breach was finally found in the ignominious barrier between the two German peoples, the wall disappeared overnight, heralding the start of a new European era.

In Belfast, the Protestants thought of the Catholics as demons, while the Catholics applied this term to the Protestants. And people found a pretty name for the ugly barrier that cuts the city into two camps: the Peace Wall.

In the Holy Land, where a legendary wall around ancient Jericho was once shattered by a trumpet blast from Joshua, today's leaders have thought it necessary to erect a wall to keep the demons out.

In Sydney, John Howard has been so terrified by potential demons on Australian soil that he too decided to build his own little fence:

The greatest surprise with protective fences and walls is that, when they're broken down, the elements out of which they were composed can be transformed rapidly into weapons.

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