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The fence of shame
2013


Whatever name we call it – wall, barrier or fence – its goal is the same: to restrict any human and geographic relation between “us” and “them”. When politicians fail with diplomacy and conciliation, radicalization appears as the only solution. Since the Middle Ages, there has never been as many walls, barriers and fences built, or old walls reinforced at the border between two countries.

In 1993, India started building a separation wall along 3200 km with neighboring Bangladesh. Either made of concrete or of a high fence barbwire, this separation is impossible to cross and is guarded by the Indian troops of the Border Security Force (BSF). The official reasons given by India to justify the existence of such a wall are the protection against infiltrations of Islamist terrorists and to stop Bangladeshi immigration. The historical course of the frontier (defined in 1947 at the fall of the Empire of British India) has divided the greater region of Bengal with dramatic human consequences.

The number of arrests, victims of torture and casualties have made this frontier the most dangerous and bloodiest in the world. Despite the complaints of the victim’s families, the crimes perpetrated by the BSF remain mostly unpunished. The Bangladeshi authorities, to maintain their crucial friendship with the big Indian neighbor, tolerate the existence of this wall and cover up the events in the border areas.

Almost all the victims are Bangladeshis trying to cross the border. For reasons either economical, of family, sanitary, or environmental, they try to go illegally to the other side of the wall. It is hard to blame them, as Bangladeshi suffers all evils: extreme poverty, enormous overpopulation, frequent natural disasters… The risk taken is huge, as according to the figures given by the human rights organizations: a person has been killed on the border every five days over the past five years.

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