Remi Poppe: ‘Close the borders!’

16 March 2015

Remi Poppe: ‘Close the borders!’

There are people who think that closing the borders of our country could solve a great many problems. There are politicians who claim that closing the borders will keep terrorists out.

There are those who believe that it would be better to allow radicalised Muslim youths in our country to go to Syria, where they could be killed. The question of how and by whom they have already been destroyed by delusions interests the border-closers less.

But how then do they think they’ll ‘close the borders’? I have an idea.

My mother was 17 when in 1917 she fled Belgium from the violence of war in the company of her mother and three brothers, under the ‘death wire’, as the Dutch name translates loosely into English, or what the Germans themselves called the Grenzhochspannungshindernis, literally the Border High Voltage Obstacle. Lucky that was, as otherwise I wouldn’t exist.

This was only a primitive sort of ‘death wire’, just five wires under high voltage with insulators fastened to wooden poles. By the time of the next war this sort of ‘death wire’ had been greatly improved. High concrete poles with their tops sloping inwards, with wires under high voltage and, at regular intervals, towers with machine gun posts and floodlights.

Along the coast bunkers; on the beach sharpened poles to prevent landings; and just offshore and in harbour mouths, sea-mines. Is that what they intend? Or something more akin to the high concrete Israeli wall, with roadblocks and checkpoints on the road to the border? Or ‘The Wall’, from the time of the GDR? For the Netherlands that would come down to 577 kms – 359 miles – along our eastern borders and another 450 kms – 280 miles – for the border with Belgium. If you want to close the borders, not much else will do, and not much is crazier either. Let’s look for better answers to problems that really exist.

Remi Poppe is former MP for the SP

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