Just over twenty-five years ago we breathed a sigh of relief when the wall dividing Germany crumbled. The 'anti-fascist rampart', as the East German regime called their fence, was recognized for what it was, a medacious abomination. Surely the erection of such barriers would henceforth be unthinkable, completely unacceptable wherever fundamental human rights are claimed as essential societal values.
"I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in!"
A quarter of a century later, however, fences are back in fashion. And there is no Cole Porter to articulate the plea of the thousands of north-bound refugees. Hungary is fortifying its border with razor wire. There is new fencing in Calais. 'Anti-migrant ramparts' are en vogue. How tragic!