How to destroy a border

“Maybe infinity begins at the point we can’t see past, can’t love past. How small we are when this point is ourselves. The problem with borders, I was beginning to realize, isn’t that they are monstrous, offensive, and unnatural constructions. The problem with borders is the same as the problem with evil that Hannah Arendt identified: their banality. We subconsciously accept them as part of the landscape–at least those of us privileged by them, granted meaningful passports–because they articulate our deepest, least exalted desires, for prestige and permanence, order and security, always at the cost of someone or something else. Borders reinforce the idea of the alien, the Other, stories separate and distinct from ourselves. But would such fictions continue to stand if most of us didn’t agree with them, or at least quietly benefit from the inequalities they bolster? The barbed wire begins here, inside us, cutting through our very core.”

–Kate Harris, from her forthcoming memoir, Lands of Lost Borders: a journey on the Silk Road

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