I asked the policeman and said
How much must I pay for my freedom?
He said to me, son
They won’ t build no schools anymore
They won’ t build no hospitals
All they’ ll build will be prison, prison
Prisoner, Lucky Dube
Build your wall high. Build it high and mighty like your dreams to be better. Build your wall and adorn it with barbed wire, steel teeth to stab the sky.
Build a wall around your failures, like you paint circles around potholes. So that people know that it’s there and that you’re not doing something about it.
Build it higher than your determination to be more than just a random collection of shacks. Build it higher than the shame you feel about your black skin that makes you look like one of those lesser people.
Build it for your protection. Build it to protect you from yourself. Build it because this is us and them time. This is after we is weevil time. This is survival of the fittest time and concrete blocks is the way to solve the problems of the people who give you power every five years. Every five years, for fifty years. Build the wall and lock it and throw away the key. Throw it far, but not too far. Throw it so that you can find it in another five years when you need to
Sentence them to five years behind the wall, because Golden Grove is not wall enough and Royal Gaol is not wall enough. And the La Basse’s pollution is not wall enough.
And after the five years of neglect, remember them behind the wall. Take all the buses and all the rum and all the roti and make them jump and wave for your glory. And then send them back behind the wall again with full bellies full of nothing and minds full of your eloquent promises.
Forget proper drainage. Forget penalizing the polluting industries. Forget regulating the waste that goes into the dump or at least legislating on the proper disposal or recycling of plastics or electronic waste.
Build your wall because this is the best plaster for this huge, massive, festering, pus-filled sore of a community.
Build it and they will sing your praises, because yours is the only name they know and the only one that matters.
Build it to show the world how forward thinking you are. Show the world that even Third World people can be hateful and suspicious and racist. Build it and show that colour is no reason for solidarity or sympathy or interest in consultation for the creating of solutions. Build it weak like the levees in Lousiana. And when the storms come and the people start to try to escape, maybe you’ll also have people waiting to shoot them as they try to break free of your wall.
Better build it so that they cannot escape. Build it better than the mind walls you build when they’re in your failing education system. Build it better than the walls in their minds that keep youth men on the blocks, their anger looking for any opportunity to manifest and young girls desperate for somebody to mind them.
Build it so that you can escape to your fantasies of civilization borne out of your obsession to be less like yourself whoever it is that you are. Build it like you built your own palace as a statement to your absolute contempt for babies dying in under-equipped, inefficiently run hospitals. Build it so that you cannot hear their children wheeze or see their young men’s eyes glaze more with anger.
Build it because they are the problem to which you have no solution.
Make it soundproof, to block out the sounds of gunshots, the sounds of defeat, the sounds of self-hate ricocheting off walls, bubbling in foetid drains full of someone else’s waste.
But most of all build it politician proof, so that they can escape the poisonous tongues more dangerous than any of the dump’s most noxious emissions.
Build walls because, yes, this is what the nation needs. More division. Physical separation. A wall, because even poor people deserve to live in a gated community. Like the rich ones who can only be safe behind their high walls.
Put in a buffer zone. Build back trees to atone for all the others that have been uprooted for progress’ sake. Make it so that we on the outside don’t have to deal with what’s on the inside.
Build it so that we can be even more suspicious and terrified of ourselves and know that them and us will love you for it.