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The Melilla border

It has been more than 2 years since Covid19 came to stay and that has changed many things forever. One of them is the border relationship between Spain and Morocco. The land border between these two countries closed in March 2020, and it seems that it will reopen tomorrow at dawn, May 17, 2022.

During these last weeks, before the possible opening, many stories have been heard around the fence. Memories and commentaries mixed with uncertainty about what will happen in the near future:

"It is the first time in the history of the fence that it is closed for so long".

"I still remember seeing the mules arrive alone with the load, the traders would take it and the mule would return alone to Beni Enzar, where the owner was waiting for him."

"I remember once in 1975, with the green march, a lot of tanks were arranged around the border perimeter that surrounds Melilla, there if we felt fear".

"We want them to open because goods and foodstuffs that we don't have now are going to arrive".

Many people speak of the evolution of what was and what is now the fence, that separating element, designed in the key of closure and closure, both to protect and contain, and to prevent the passage of people, goods or undesirable goods.

"The Melilla fence was built in 1998, before that it was a simple school fence. It was a one-meter-high fence separating Africa from Europe," say the neighbors.

"Before all this existed (referring to the control systems that are in place and those that are being implemented with artificial intelligence) we worked with our eyes, everything was more human."

"There has always been a lot of trade between the two continents through this border, and now they want to end it suddenly. Leaving thousands of people without jobs and options."

It is curious the nostalgia that is perceived in the words of the people in relation to the fence and the border. Contradictory reflections, ambiguous feelings and more uncertainty. However, it should not be forgotten that it is an element that emphasizes the national character, tightens the control of entry, transit and exit. In addition to opening a debate between migration and mobility, and cross-border or cross-borderness in the context of a border region or zone.

Finally, we would like to share our last reflection: "trafficking, migration and drug trafficking are not going to disappear even if they put up eight 20-meter fences. It is something that has always existed and real policies are needed and not more walls."

How right this neighbor is. There are dynamics that will always continue to occur because the problems are not of the people who cross the borders, the problems are structural, caused by the interests of other people who push the most vulnerable to cross borders and fences without caring about the consequences.

For further reflection, here is a text by Marcela Tapia: "Borders, mobility and the cross-border: Reflections for a debate"



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