Mr. Schnek maintains that comparing the Berlin Wall to the Southern Border Wall is an insult to those Germans who lost their lives trying to escape East Berlin. The “Berliner Mauer” lasted some 28 years (1961 – 1989). During that time, there were an estimated 5,000 successful defections to the “West.” The number of those who died trying to escape East Berlin range from the “official” tally of 140 to over 200.
Emblematically, the Berlin Wall and Trump’s Wall share ideological similarities. Nothing symbolized a polarized world divided by an “Iron Curtain” more than that concrete barrier running through Berlin. The Berlin Wall represented a haunting reality of the stark ideological contradictions within a world caught up in unsettling Cold War rhetoric. That wall had become the embodiment of a radical change in global politics and a drastic disparity between societies.
By building the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union sent the “West” a potent, provocative message. Specifically, that it – and communism – would not tolerate the kind of humiliation that had been experienced during the Berlin Airlift. Naturally, the Soviet-backed regime claimed that the Berlin Wall was necessary to preclude “fascist aggression” from the West (“antifaschistischer Schutzwall”). That is to say, East Germany wanted to keep out “Western agitators.”
A Wall along the Mexican border would send a powerful, disdainful, and jingoistic message. The border wall metaphorically would divide the Americas between “Gringos” and “Latinos;” and, as such, it could become the catalyst for the hysteria-driven cancers of xenophobia and bigotry to metastasize. The wall could reverse the progress that the United States has made in its foreign policy with our southern neighbors.
Many have stated that people can legally come to the United States with proper documentation. Yet, what if an individual who wants to make a better life for himself is unable to pay for those travel documents (i.e., pay bribes)? We have this notion that those crossing the southern border illegally are all a gaggle of criminals or people looking for “hand-outs.” How about those who actually come to the United States and make a contribution to this nation? I know two such individuals who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and were wounded in combat defending the enduring and endearing values of this nation.
Mr. Schnek, your letter is offensive to those immigrants who, although undocumented, worked to make a better life for themselves, and to those who courageously served in this nation’s Armed Forces. You, sir, escaped hardships and are now enjoying the freedoms of this nation. Suffice it to say, you should be compassionate to those who wish to do the same; unless, of course, those freedoms that you now enjoy have made you forget and, as such, you have become an uncaring, pompous hypocrite.
John Di Genio