Political Borders Create more Division than Unity
Since the age of kingdoms in Europe, humans have identified themselves according to the nations in which they live. These nations are marked by borders, sometimes physical barriers such as rivers or mountain ranges; but are often imaginary lines. Though the lines are believed to be there, or to at least exist in someway. It is difficult to consider civilized life without them, and few would refute their power to unify the masses. Regardless, it would seem that many are left out of these lines with no true place to call home. To boot, these borders can even create political strife and civil war within and between them. What are the costs of the security of a nation when only a minority reaps its benefits?
One of the major refugee crises of modern times is the mass exodus of Syrians being removed from their homes and left displaced elsewhere. Many Syrians are now in geographic limbo, desperately walking the land or trapped in various camps across the world. Paul Salopek of National Geographic notes: “There are about 1.6 million Syrian war refugees in Turkey…eight million or more are internally displaced within Syria or…stations as Lebanon and Jordan.” The crisis within the Middle East is likely a direct result of its political geography. The area was mapped according to the will of national superpowers at the close of World War II, and ever since has been an area of major turmoil. An ever-rising number of the geographically displaced coming from here only exemplifies this theory. Still, these types of political borders, or “colonial lines,” are causing strife around the world.
Africa, a zone of major colonial activity during the European age of Imperialism, is now suffering from civil conflict between warring tribes. At the close of colonialism, the lands of Africa, which had been previously controlled by European super-powers, were forced out of their control and given back to the people of Africa. However, when the new nations were drawn (much according to the European claims), tribes were both separated and lumped together within the confines of the new borders. An article in The Atlantic by Max Fisher describes a land dispute between the African nations of Cameroon and Nigeria. The dispute is over a peninsula filled with oil; a piece of land both nations would benefit from owning. However, consulting both their current maps and colonial maps, both nations believe it belongs to them. Who is to decide then? These lines do not really exist, they are merely assumed to have merit.
All around the planet, these lines divide and cause strife for those who were forced into them. Africa is a jigsaw puzzle with no rhyme or reason, and the Middle East is pumping out new refugees daily. Rampant nationalism bordering upon jingoism is far too common, while sympathy for the geographically displaced is virtually unheard of. Can these borders be removed though without upsetting the natural balance of things?Regardless, political borders are up for question as suspects in the division of the human race.
“Fleeing Terror, Finding Refuge.” National Geographic. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.
Fisher, M. (2012, September 10). The Dividing of a Continent: Africa’s Separatist Problem. Retrieved November 4, 2015.