Fence builders need not apply

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  • Tearing down barriers: the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Germany

    Tearing down barriers: the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Germany

As Bermuda continues its journey towards a more inclusive society, one of the lingering obstacles is the struggle to eliminate leftover emotional fences

stemming mainly from a past of social injustice. This even though much has been achieved in the building of community social bridges over the years.

This is a continuing endeavour, with a steady demand for as many workers as possible, but it should be pointed out that fence builders need not apply. At least not the type of fences that tend to keep people emotionally divided because of political or ethnic differences. There is still too much of that going on in the world today, with much of the suffering a direct result of bureaucratic and political fence building by those opposed to freedom and human decency.

Recent history is still echoing with those powerful words from United States President Ronald Reagan, when he urged the head of Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev, to “tear down this wall”. That wall was built in 1961 to keep people from East Germany from fleeing to the West, where there was hope for a better life of freedom. The spirit of freedom prevailed, and on November 9, 1989 the world watched as people refusing to wait for bulldozers began tearing down that wall with their bare hands.

The removal of that wall, which was a symbol of oppression, sent waves of hope around the world that no price is too high to pay for freedom and justice. But the greater lesson was that walls built to divide for the sake of power are never thick enough to withstand the freedom push of good, freedom-loving people.

Many walls in the world today are not built with bricks and mortar, but with hatred, prejudice and corruption, and the battle for global justice is being fought on many fronts with mounting casualties that include women and children.

It seems mankind has failed to realise that bridges bring people together, while most walls are designed to do the opposite. With a General Election in the not too distant future for Bermuda, we need to check carefully any fences that should be removed so that we may allow a more inclusive atmosphere to spread throughout all of our communities, promoting positive growth.

There will never be a time when there is no disagreement on various issues of the day. However, disagreements handled with respect for different views should assist in having a more constructive approach when dealing with even the most sensitive issues, and we all know there are many.

This means our leaders on both sides of Parliament in their deliberations must make greater strides to keep the concerns of the electorate as the highest benchmark for building bridges to unite, rather than fences to divide.

With deeply entrenched political positions on certain matters, which is common in party politics, the road ahead could get bumpy. Even that the electorate will accept as a part of democracy.

What they do not want are more emotional fences that hinder the journey to a Bermuda we all want to be proud of.

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Published Oct 12, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 12, 2016 at 7:25 am)

Fence builders need not apply

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