Thursday, March 21, 2019 | ePaper

Borders should protect migrants, not turn them out

  • Print
Mark Sappenfield :
I might argue that the word "border" best encapsulates the leading challenge facing democracies worldwide today. The fundamental question in politics from Poland to Peoria right now is this: Who gets to define who "we" are? For centuries, European countries have defined their "we" rather simply. Poland is where the Poles live. Germany is where the Germans live, and so on. The United States was more diverse, yet until at least the 1960s had its "we" defined almost exclusively by white Christians and Jews.
Those rigid definitions, however, are put under considerable stress when free economic markets and universal human rights are brought into play. Put simply, they don't care about borders. In some ways, they see borders as an impediment.
Free markets compel the world to collaborate. They don't give a fig if you are American, African or Australian. They want you to work together to create better products and bigger markets in which to sell them. This is why groups like the World Economic Forum are seen by some as threats to national sovereignty. Their job is to expand wealth, and the greater the world's collaboration, the more wealth grows.
Human rights, meanwhile, compel us to focus on the humanity that binds us above the borders that separate us. They don't care where the refugee is from or where she is going. They care about ensuring her health, security, and innate value. This can contribute to concerns about a group like the United Nations, which is tasked with upholding not nation-states but "the dignity and worth of the human person," according to its charter.
Free markets and human rights are good, because we have seen categorical evidence that they make the world better. Yet who could say that borders are bad? Who would argue that an edict instantly removing them tomorrow would lead to anything but confusion and conflict? Fundamentally, this is what the world is wrestling with now: What are borders, really? In an evolving world, what should they do? Is it important to maintain national integrity and rule of law? Then those functions can be valued and strengthened. Is it an impediment to broader and mutually enriching collaboration on education and culture? Then those effects can be mitigated by making the border, in those cases, more permeable.
Of course, there's no perfect answer to every challenge. As with every policy, calibrating a border is a process of constant adaptation and recalibration. Increasingly, a border is becoming more of a tool than a 21st-century version of a moat and drawbridge. The world of today is asking new questions of every country. Borders can protect but not insulate.
-From the Christian Science Monitor News Service.

More News For this Category

Gold smuggling route through the country must be blocked

Two cabin crew members and a private bank official were arrested along with 5.2 kg gold bars in two separate drives at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Monday. They were

BD-Australia to fight together global scourge of terrorism and extremism

Visiting Australian Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism Paul Foley has said his country will continue to support Bangladesh and its people to address the threats of terrorism and violent extremism. He has

DUCSU should be above controversy

Dr. Foqan Uddin Ahmed :Dhaka University Central Students' Union (DUCSU), known as the country's second parliament; had played crucial roles in the Bangladesh's history. It started its journey in the

Islamophobia in Britain

How many times does Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Britain's first Muslim woman cabinet member, have to say the same thing to be heard? For the past couple of years,

Readers’ Forum

Drama is everywhere; in politics, in social works and where not! Residents of the capital were highly surprised seeing that a DNCC staff was throwing garbage from a waste van

Big shots swallow half of govt. revenues

THE government has offered around Tk 1.47 trillion in the form of tax exemptions at import stage to various sectors since 2014-15 fiscal year until January last, while each year

Rangamati killings: Nab the killers first then ensure punishment

AT least seven people, including two polling officials and four Ansar personnel, were shot dead in Rangamati's Baghaichhari upazila in a violent turn of events in the second phase of

Save Dhaka, make it a liveable city

Rayhan Ahmed Topader :Nobody owns this city. Not even those who were born here. Poor people believe that they belong to their villages. Middle class older people also came from

Deadliest Ebola outbreak in Congo

Ronald A. Klain :Five years ago, the United States was gripped with fear and awash in news coverage as the worst Ebola outbreak in history spread in West Africa. Today,

Readers’ Forum

Life is still difficult there……Despite introducing many routes by the government across the country, it is still very difficult for a commuter to travel adjacent city areas without any obstacles.