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Greece builds a wall to keep illegal immigrants out

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Something there is that doesn't love a wall. And the Greeks are throwing chain link and razor wire at an increasing illegal immigration problem.

Being in the throes of a deepening economic depression, the Greek government's latest act of desperation will likely see results similar to others who have built walls and fences. The EU will dance back and forth on this issue and it will become yet another point of contention between Greece and its EU masters.

Keeping people out is a different task from keeping people in.

 Greek wall


Greece has completed a 10.5-km-long, 4-metre-high razor wire fence on its land border with Turkey, Greek media report. The wall cost €3 million to build and is designed to stop people trying to get around the natural barrier of the Evros river. It has been criticised by the European Commission.


The first stage in the planned structure was unveiled yesterday, with a 10-ft high, eight-mile-long trial fence to cover a section of the border near the town Orestidada.

According to the EU's border agency Frontex, the area concerned has become the main entry point for migrants travelling from Africa and Asia, with an average of 245 people per day crossing illegally in October alone last year.

Around 90 per cent of all illegal immigrants into the EU have come through Greece, it is estimated.

Mr Papoutsis insisted the new wall along the land border was necessary after the EU deployed border control troops to the region last year.

'Co-operation with other EU states is going well. Now we plan to construct a fence to deal with illegal migration,' he said.


To keep people out

From earliest times civilizations such as those of the Greeks and Hebrews enclosed their cities within a perimeter wall. In China during the fifth century BC, the Warring States took this concept one step further extending their walls to encircle entire territories. When Qinshihuang, the Qin dynasty Emperor, unified China, he joined the walls along the Northern frontier to prevent the incursions of the barbaric northern tribes. Thousands of slaves were sacrificed for the completion of this ambitious endeavor, and the Great Wall was viewed by the people as a symbol of tyrannical oppression. As subsequent dynasties expanded or contracted, so some sort of wall was built to delineate their Northern frontier.


To keep people in

Just past midnight on the night of August 12-13, 1961, trucks with soldiers and construction workers rumbled through East Berlin. While most Berliners were sleeping, these crews began tearing up streets that entered into West Berlin, dug holes to put up concrete posts, and strung barbed wire all across the border between East and West Berlin. Telephone wires between East and West Berlin were also cut.

Berliners were shocked when they woke up that morning. What had once been a very fluid border was now rigid. No longer could East Berliners cross the border for operas, plays, soccer games, etc. No longer could the approximately 60,000 commuters head to West Berlin for well-paying jobs. No longer could families, friends, and lovers cross the border to meet their loved ones. Whichever side of the border one went to sleep on during the night of August 12, they were stuck on that side for decades.

Last modified on Monday, 17 December 2012 15:27

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