Border as a Tangible Reality

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Borders are a reality. I knew it before I had visited a town on the Syrian border on the south-east of Turkey almost 10 years ago. I knew it but I did not fully acknowledge it until I saw the high walls, fences, armed soldiers and even mine fields at that small border town.

I acknowledged “border” many times after that first experience.

Each time;

border was artificial.

border was problematic.

border was bureaucratic.

border was separatist.

Being in Nogales, a city that touches, the Mexican-US border, revitalized those memories, which are mostly bad memories and images from my personal experience as well as from stories I heard and watched. Standing next to those huge tall iron blocks that make the border makes you realize what border is about.

We had the privilege of being given a presentation and a tour by the border patrol officers and heard their stories. The impact of the border on me was ironically a blurring of the boundaries between reality and fiction. The fictional stories that I watched on TV and movies on drug and human trafficking were becoming real while my brain was trying to convince itself that those bitter realities could not be true.

What I learnt is that border is not about countries, border is about people.

by Derya Kaya

edited by Sophia Mayberry

One Comment on “Border as a Tangible Reality”

  1. Derya,
    Thank you for sharing your experience from your trip to the U.S./Mexico border. Your blog is very well-written. We often forget how borders affect people living on either side of them. Your post reminded me of a great book I read last semester by Luis Alberto Urrea which was titled “The Devil’s Highway”. The book is about the deadly region in Southern Arizona known as the Devil’s Highway which is commonly traversed by undocumented immigrants seeking work in the U.S. Your post reminded me of the book because the author did an excellent job of making his story about the people of the region: the border patrol agents who secure it and the immigrants who lose their lives crossing it. I would definitely recommend it if you are interested in border issues, especially as it relates to the human element!

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