The Globalising Wall

Fences have a longstanding relation both with liberal individualism and imperialism. But it was only after 1945 that walls took over from fences, with an unprecedented determination to divide. They spread like a bushfire from Berlin to Palestine, from the tablelands of Kashmir to the villages of Cyprus, from the Korean peninsula to the streets of Belfast. When the Cold War ended, we were told to expect their collapse. Instead, they grew taller, more impenetrable, longer. They began resembling a mighty Wall. They globalised. Their spectre is upon us from the West Bank to Kosovo, from the streets of Baghdad to the favelas of Rio, from the killing fields of old Ethiopia to the US-Mexico border. Globalisation was meant as their death knell, only it ended up strengthening them.

  • Why?
  • What are the forces sustaining this Globalising Wall?
  • How does it feel to live in its shadow?

These questions emerged as part of an art project which led us, Danae Stratou and myself, to travel to seven of the world’s most notorious dividing lines. What follows is a mix of political economy, travel log, and photographs the purpose of which is to capture the ‘logic’, role and essence of the sharp, cruel divisions permeating a globalising world.

Biographies of Yanis Varoufakis and Danae Stratou

5 thoughts on “The Globalising Wall

  1. Not my wisdom. Just reading from High-school texts ………Why try to re-invent the wheel and use big impressive words?


    ………Historians agree that the Spartan code of law came from a man named Lycurgus. It was Lycurgus who claimed to have gotten the ideas for most of his laws from a combination of other cultures (Crete and Egypt among them) and edicts given to him by the Oracle at Delphi.

    One of the most revolutionary things Lycurgus did was redistribute all the land in Sparta into 30,000 equal shares. He also did away with the hereditary ownership of land. He then forbade the Spartans to use anything but iron as a currency and to abandon industry and trade. The idea was to leave the citizens free for government and war.

    The government was nominally headed by two kings. The real power was in the two houses, the Assembly and Senate, the members of whom were elected by the people. All male citizens became members of the Assembly when they reached age 30. The Senate made the laws and acted as a supreme court. The Assembly had final say on all laws. (The US government structure was based on the Spartan system of extensive checks and balances, which is not functioning very well lately as it is being pulled apart by the few)

    Agis & Cleomenes (2nd time redistribution of wealth took place in Sparta)
    At the Hellenistic era Sparta had numerous and also important political and economical problems. The matters of the state slowly became more and more shoddier and the reason was the entry of gold and sliver coins, meaning the Sparta opening to the world trade system. As a result the loss of the control from the side of the Spartans, although it was the first time that they entered to the then globalize economy! The problem of the oligarchicism was now the highest problem, because at the beginning of the third century only seven hundred (700) individuals had political rights and from them only one hundred (100) had property! All hopped to the return of the Lycurgian law, and thus, these changes happened during the kingships of Agis and Cleomenes…… etc……


    The author of the most famous Athenian laws was Solon, who was elected archon, or ruler, and put in charge of making the struggling city-state into a thriving polis.
    The first thing Solon did was cancel all debts. This was an astounding thing. People who owed their lives as payment on debts were suddenly freed.

    Then, Solon turned to the laws themselves. The first thing he did was make all laws apply to all people. …….etc…(But we don’t want to listen. Do we? What would happen to my Cayenne?)

    • Thank you for this. Although I must admit, I resisted reading. There is surely ample distress in our lives without looking for more. But, obviously, I did, and felt some part of the power in these places, both good and bad. It is always so difficult to contemplate our specie’s capacity for cruelty, as it seems so much easier to liberate than the many beautiful polarities we have the potential for. And so much harder to find any way out.

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