A future without walls


London to Ho Chi Minh by train (and boat!): Day 38.

The Great Wall of China has been maintained and added to for more than two thousand years. As well as being a remarkable feat of engineering, it has a beautiful aesthetic which somehow manages to frame the stunning landscape that it was made to divide.

Two thousand years ago, this landscape would have been the scene of countless battles between different nations. Fueled by fear, greed, hatred and jealousy, one tribe would try to gain the better hand – always at the expense of the other and usually to the detriment of the most vulnerable people in that society.

China’s Great Wall didn’t just keep out unwanted invaders. It kept out ideas, wildlife, friendships, diversity. It strengthened the notion of ‘us versus them’ and created a fear and distrust of others that seems to have remained to this day.

Years later, the people of the United States of America have chosen their next president. A man who builds walls. A man who tries to divide us. A man who targets the weak and serves the elite.

It feels as though we’ve gone back to ancient China. But there is a massive difference this time… us. We’ve never, ever had such a strong movement for the environment, for human rights and for justice. We’ve never been more ready to challenge the monster. We’re here to break down walls, to live every moment with desperate compassion, to become allies, united in our differences.

No hatred. No fear. No greed.

Perhaps in a few thousand years, tourists will flock to see the place where we came together to create a just world. And one thing’s for sure… It won’t be at a bloody wall.

Next stop: Shanghai — at Mutianyu Great Wall 慕田峪长城.

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