Daily mythology: borders

Borders are a funny thing. They are drawn by some people to create countries. But: Who is drawing them? And along what criteria? I have never been asked, where borders should run, I don’t have a feeling about them, but fact is, that as soon as they are on the maps, we have walls, barbed wire, fences etc. in the landscape. Border-controls start to ask for my passport, scanners look for contraband articles….. But beyond that often there isn’t any difference in between here and there….
There are natural borders like rivers, the sea, deserts, and most obvious, mountains and sharp topped crests. For me, mountains were the most natural borders. Mother, asks the child, are there people behind the mountain? Come on, my boy, let’s not chew it over….
But there are borders drawn with the ruler, in the Middle East, in America, in Libya and other African places. Who draw them? And why? Iraq is such an artificial country. Where is petrol? Where are huge and important cities? Where is coal, iron, uranium and potassium? Even an archaeologist was member of the drawing-commission. She took care to include all important excavations inside Iraq.

Since about Jeanne d’Arc we were in the era of nation states. By definition borders are one of the conditions of that kind of country. But more and more borders are kind of vanishing (good), are being abolished for other entities like coalition of states like f.e. the EU, by caliphates like that form the IS, by commonwealths, by “coalition of the willing” (not so good?).
Sometimes borders vanish because of sudden developments – see Ukraine, sometimes because of natural might’s like fire, floods or ice – see the north of Siberia or the south of Chili or Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Often other conditions of a nation are not fulfilled. In North-Iraq kids learn Kurdish and not Arabian, often we find two or more legal systems in one country (Nigeria, Libya, Somalia…), “One nation – one language” is invalid in almost all places….
New borders are created: see the former Yugoslavia, see Scotland, see Catalonia and so on… new walls will emerge – see Israel, USA (against Mexico), Ukraine, Europe (against Africa and the rest of the world).
The world changes. Are borders a must any more? “They must be respected”, Angela Merkel keeps saying. But where is good old DDR? The question remains: are they movable or not? And: WHO draws them?


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