“Imagine there’s no countries…” John Lennon sang those words from my heart. Why do we have countries? Specifically, why do we have borders between countries? Who are we protecting, and from whom? What are we demarcating? Those little pieces of paper called visas — what purpose do they serve?
Most of our entries into countries have been via air. In general, there is not much to distinguish them. A long line, followed by a bored official. The one place where the wait was enlivened by speculation about a sign was Manila. What could a wang-wang zone be?
We’ve made a few border crossings over land. From Thailand to Myanmar, and back. From South Africa to Swaziland, and back. That one was made memorable by a large jar of condoms, available for you to help yourself as you came into the country.
The last border crossing of note was from Costa Rica to Nicaragua, and back. It was a confusing crossing. Instead of one station, you had to make your way through half a dozen, presenting papers and paying fees at each one. There were soldiers with machine guns on the Nicaraguan side. As we went through, we looked back at the Cuban migrants, who have been stuck at this border for months. Why can’t they pass through?
Why do we have to divide up this world into small sections? Imagine what a world without borders would look like.