Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Essay Period Thoughts: Attempts to Keep Sane 5


            Who drew the first border? Better question: why? Perhaps clan borders were drawn on ‘biological’ terms; family ties, whose blood runs in whose veins, the claimant and protection of people-as-property (vessels for labour, breeding.) This seems deeply silly to me, although I know that many organisations persist in seeing borders as drawn on grounds of race. All biology persists in showing borders and membranes as totally imperfect and necessarily penetrable; our body is as much reliant on the non-human bacteria and microorganisms that dwell within us as on the food, air and water we must also drag into ourselves. Perhaps it was thus the imaginary narratives we create to territorialize space that has spawned the myth of the border as perfect seal. One has just to look across a map to see the wealth of permeated membranes supposedly dividing nations. Between Uganda and Rwanda, the border disappears into forest where many pass from one nation to another; the Kaliningrad Oblast sits between Poland and Lithuania, detached from Greater Russia like a replicating bacteria; various blobs and fissures scuffle up the Spanish- French border, requiring exhaustive and boring bureaucratic debate to clarify who’s a what and why. Borders are even more laudable if you try and explain them to animals. Why should a wolf care about the Finnish-Russian border when there is forest, snow and prey either side? Why would a critically-endangered mountain gorilla care that it is specifically ‘Ugandan’?

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