Wall: A Monologue
David Hare, New York Review of Books, Volume 56, Number 7 · April 30, 2009
All right. Let’s be serious, let’s think about this.
Please, please: consider the state of affairs, consider the desperation, consider the depth of the despair. A country has reached a point at which 84 percent of its people are in favor of building a wall along its borders.
Have you ever known anything of which 84 percent of people were in favor? And yet there it is, over four fifths of a nation—can you imagine that figure?—saying something completely bizarre. The Berlin Wall was built to keep people in. This one, they say, is being built to keep people out.
You might call this an extraordinary state of affairs. Hardly a normal state of affairs. And that’s the word you hear all the time in the Middle East. “Normal.” The Palestinians ask, “When will we have a normal life?” And so do the Israelis. Indeed, the Israeli state was founded in 1948 with the principal ambition of being normal, of being a normal place like any other. The Palestinians call the foundation of the Israeli state the nakbeh: the disaster. And now sixty years later Israel believes itself, in the frequently expressed view of the majority, in need of a wall.
Except, of course, they don’t call it a wall. They call it a fence.
But this wall is a philosophy, what one observer has called “a political code for shutting up shop.”