i’d tear it all down…
i’ve been given cause to reflect on my time in tijuana this past week, well the past several months actually. with the caravans to the border then the death of bush sr just exacerbated it.
as the people of central america have been coming in caravans and waves i can’t help but think of the centuries of violence and manipulation that the northern hemisphere has, and continues to inflict on those in the south. when refugees move north in the hope of safety for their family and experience massive amounts of violence in various forms i wonder how people can react without empathy. how difficult a decision it must be to leave all one knows behind for the unknown.
my time on the other side of the wall last fall only reinforced all the work we all did to close down the school of the americas, to refuse to support corporations that benefit from the fascist regimes installed by the united states, the wto, the imf…
last october i spent several days walking along the wall that continues into the ocean. i watched the border patrol in their vehicles. i watched families walk to the wall and look through the fence, able to see san diego’s skyline so clear.
when i got to steamboat, i found this book called coyote’s bicycle. it is about a young man from a small northern village who was left behind to take care of his grandfather when his whole family migrated north to find work. upon his grandfather’s death, he made the journey north, arriving in tijuana. he walked the wall and learned a great deal from others who are paid to get people across the border, known as coyotes. he learned what triggered the border patrol’s response (seismic devices go off when people start walking/running in certain areas, not so with bikes), he learned who and how to pay off the people who patrol so that he could get his clients across. spoiler, he used bikes and created a very lucrative business. it is a very good story, a true story that made me feel maybe not so bad about a couple of stolen bikes. the story ends with the u.s. doubling the number of border patrol personnel. it didn’t seem to bother those who move people over the line. they have learned that about half of the people who patrol are willing to take a bribe. increase the numbers patrolling, increase the number of people to bribe…its all the same to them.
here are some of the images i took when walking by the wall. i didn’t take pictures around the actual crossing area. there are armed guards…also i was pushing a loaded bike…so my hands weren’t that free.
some things i’d like to point out about when “they” close the “border”. it is closed to all people who travel back and forth. many of them do it for jobs, school, and medication. i talked to many people who work on one side and live on the other. i also met people on both sides who require medication from one side or the other. when the border is closed, no one can access these basic needs.