Fragile Fences and Walls



These are the sketches for the illustration to my resent story Closed Borders and a fast brainstorm for the name. The drawing is inspired by an old idea for a graphic novel I’m working on, a story that takes place in a world I’ve created. One day you hopefully will be able to read it in paper form.

Closed Borders is a story about the dangers of the way we are treating refugees in this world and the effects suffering has on us humans. Suffering causes violence. We can’t keep bombing and exploiting poor parts of the world and at the same time close the borders for those who want to get away from the poverty and war we in the rich part of the world are creating.

In a world where people were allowed to move freely, the resources will be better distributed. People would move where there are better possibilities of survival. The borders make sure the poor stays poor and the rich stays rich. In a world of limited resources wealth creates poverty, inequality creates conflict. 

By the same reasons high security banks are sometimes robbed and people sometimes escape from well guarded prisons, a border can never be completely closed. There is no better place to recruit terrorists than in an overpopulated refugee camp. We need to get people out of the camps.

When people really want to cross they do anyway, especially with a resourceful organisation in the back. The fence between the Spanish enclave Melilla and Marocco is one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen. It looks like it’s taken from some kind of apocalyptic science fiction movie, and it’s still not enough to keep people out. Lots of people have been killed in the intent to get in.

Besides being morally wrong and discriminative, taking away people’s freedom is a strategy doomed to fail sooner or later. The closed borders are creating the problems they are supposed to protect against.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. It gives me additional perspective. Recent relatively common thoughts for Americans are the notion that “safe zones” are a solution in Syria. And then there’s our own wall. I think this conversation gives glimpses of some insight.

    I know it’s long.

    In watching last night`s Super Bowl…
    we`ll talk about that, next.



    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to a brew a beer.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to St. Louis, son.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A beer for my friend, please.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, but next time, this is the beer we drink.
    (inaudible) Anheuser (inaudible) Busch.


    REID: That not so subtle Budweiser ad that ran during the Super Bowl
    highlighting the immigrant story behind the founding of Anheuser-Busch was
    one of many ads carrying what sure felt like political messages. Another
    ad focusing on immigration last night is from the company 84 Lumber
    showing a mother and daughter on what appears to be an arduous journey to

    The first cut of that ad, which depicted a massive border wall standing in
    their way did not air last night. It was rejected by Fox for being too,
    quote, political. Well, here is the part of the ad that did air.


    REID: Sorry. The part that did not air is what you just saw. The ad, as
    you can see, ends
    with the family spotting a huge door in the wall and pushing it open. Then
    it cuts to a man driving with tools and lumber in the back of his truck
    with a tagline that reads, “the will to succeed is always welcome here.”

    And joining me now is Ali Velshi, chief business correspondent for NBC News
    and Maria Hinojosa, anchor and executive producer of NPR`s Latino USA.

    Thank you both for being here.

    Maria, I`ve got to ask you, because last night, as you started to see the
    anger sort of building up on Twitter again particularly ad and the
    Budweiser ad, when did these sort of basic American ideas of immigration
    and the plucky will to succeed become a political statement against the
    American president?

    MARIA HINOJOSA, NPR: Yeah, well, you know, when did we think this was going to
    happen because immigration is the story of America unless you were brought
    here as a slave {or were already here as native}. But I think that for me it felt very
    manipulative. I think that`s kind of what I`m coming away from.
    And especially if you put those two ads back to back.

    But particularly the ad about the journey of the young woman and her child.
    So I watched it during the Super – well, no, I didn`t – I taped it and
    watched but I happened to stop on that ad. I watched it, this part that
    you`re seeing here. And I was really taken by the love between the
    daughter and the mother. I found it beautiful, and I found the
    cinematography beautiful. And I was like, oh my god, there`s a humanizing
    here. What`s going to happen? And of course then it cut off. And I
    didn`t see the rest of it until this afternoon when I knew I was going to
    be coming here.

    REID: Right.

    HINOJOSA: And I was really upset and angry. I felt so manipulated by
    this, because it`s the normalization of a wall. So the wall exists. It`s
    already built. It`s normalized. And then to normalize something that is
    completely not true. The notion that there is a door, that there will ever
    be a door in that wall, that kind of hope. And I feel like it`s preying on people`s
    emotions, that it`s like, oh, you`ll feel for that mother and that child.

    REID: Right.

    HINOJOSA: But in the end, door didn`t open for you and so sorry. Open for
    them because I guess god made it open.

    ALI VELSHI, NBC NEWS: So ironically, the CEO – I`ve been in this business
    for 24 years. I`ve been covering business. I`ve never heard of 84 Lumber
    in my life. It`s probably now the best known lumber company in the world.

    REID: Sure.

    VELSHI: The CEO of that company was a Trump supporter. The story was
    about the door. So, Maria`s reaction is actually correct.

    HINOJOSA: That`s fascinating.

    VELSHI: All of those who were mad at it, the Trump supporters who didn`t
    like the Anheuser-Busch, there was boycott Busch hashtag and all of those
    who didn`t like the 84 Lumber ad, the 84 Lumber Ad was somebody who wanted
    to focus on Donald Trump saying, there`s going to be a big, beautiful, huge
    door in that wall.

    HINOJOSA: Oh, my goodness.

    VELSHI: That`s what that is about. That is a Trump supporter saying we
    need the wall, but we need the door.

    REID: That`s the first time that I`ve heard that, honestly, because all of
    the talk we`ve heard about this ad has been that it was…

    VELSHI: Overtly political and aimed at Trump.

    REID: Right, that it was a thumb in the eye of Donald Trump, but this is
    the first time I`m hearing the other side of the story.

    VELSHI: So, remember that Coca-Cola ad last night is an old ad, it`s from
    2014. And when it ran in 2014, virtually nobody thought it was political,
    some people did. But virtually nobody did.

    There were some people in 2014 angered by the idea of an American patriotic
    song being sung by different voices and different languages, but in my
    opinion those are the people who go home and kick their puppies.

    So that wasn`t political on that level. Coke probably said we don`t want
    to get crazy political this time, so we`re going to run an old ad. But
    even that has overtones of…

    HINOJOSA: It just – again, it begins to feel so manipulative. The ad
    with Anheuser-Busch of
    the immigrant who is coming from Germany and it`s just like he experiences
    one moment where somebody says, we don`t like your kind here.

    VELSHI: You don`t look like you`re from around here.

    HINOJOSA: OK, and then suddenly…

    VELSHI: Life is great. And he`s like – and they are like welcome, come
    through the door. And here`s a beer for you, by the way.

    VELSHI: But it`s not – you feel manipulated because we`ve probably seen a
    thousand ads like this in our history, right, this celebration of the
    immigrant culture that is America.

    REID: But here`s the question.

    HINOSA: The white guy makes it, the Latina woman and her child, the door
    opens because of god.

    REID: Yeah.

    But, you know, I have to ask you this question, because the thing that I
    saw a lot of people tweeting last night was this idea that the companies
    that advertised in the Super Bowl made this
    conscious decision to not advertise to red America, which is sort of the
    opposite of what you guys are talking about.

    But what do you make of that, that people are saying that seems like a
    business decision to advertise only to blue America.

    VELSHI: I`ve heard that a lot today. I don`t buy it. If you`re Bud, if
    you`re Anheuser-Busch, why would you do that? That`s just a bad political
    decision. If you`re AirBnB, I entirely understand that decision and I
    think that`s what they did.

    REID: But they are also apologizing for their own behavior.

    VELSHI: Right. Right.

    REID: …had a problem with this.

    VELSHI: But they know where their audience sort of is. They`re also a
    tech company, they`re west coast-based. They know that`s where they have
    to go.

    In the case of 84 Lumber, it seems a lot of the motivation was that they`re
    in the lumber business where they`ve got a shortage of labor and they`re
    trying to get young, conscious people to say, hey, I like this company.
    It`s got a good image.

    HINOJOSA: I`ll take it one step further, if anybody in Latin America was
    watching that ad, they are thinking, I want to work for that company. I
    think I`ll go take that trek because they actually…

    VELSHI: We can get New York that`s restaurants and things like that….

    HINOJOSA: They depend on undocumented immigrant labor to make the lumber
    that we all – they are invisible. You never see them anywhere, because
    they are in the back woods working on lumber. I think this was a ploy to
    say, come over.
    We want your work.

    REID: And you what`s amazing? I think you might have had to have lived in
    some place like Florida to know just how dependent the building and
    construction industry is dependent on undocumented immigrant labor, low
    paid in many cases undocumented immigrant labor.

    Thank you very much for that. Ali Velshi and Maria Hinojosa, wow. Thank
    you very much for joining us. And that is All In for this evening.
    … Good evening … and
    happy Monday.

    [I haven’t included a link for video of the beer commercial and the German (Bush).]


  2. Oops. I have two emphasized portions. I meant to do boldface for both of those, not bold for one and italics for the other.


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