Fence Walls: From the Iron Curtain to the US and Hungarian Border Barriers and the Emergence of Global Walls
Éva Eszter Szabó
School of English and American Studies
Department of American Studies
Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Fence Walls: From the Iron Curtain
to the US and Hungarian Border Barriers
and the Emergence of Global Walls
Abstract: This paper considers the resurgence of the Iron Curtain metaphor and its appropriateness in relation to the current border barriers in the US and the EU. It addresses the impact of the Iron Curtain both on Eastern Europe and on Western Europe, and it explores the legacy of this nearly hermetically sealed off borderland in the different border security and migration control approaches within the EU in the current era of emerging global walls. In my view, while the Iron Curtain metaphor is mistakenly applied to the current border barriers in the US and the EU alike, its legacy does contribute to the marked difference between Eastern and Western European attitudes and policies to the massive influx of migrants. From the Iron Curtain to the Hungarian border fence, the fence walls of the spatially identical border sections reflect not only the changing concepts of walls, but also the distinct historical experiences with migration. The current border barriers in Hungary and the EU, however, draw on the US–Mexican border barrier that aims to stop unauthorized entry while keeping the gates open in both directions for legal cross-border movement in contrast with the prison walls of the Iron Curtain.
Keywords: US-Mexican border barrier, Hungarian border fence, unauthorized migration, Eastern Europe, Cold War, Iron Curtain, border walls
US–Mexican border barrier; Hungarian border fence; unauthorized migration; Eastern Europe; Cold War; Iron Curtain; border walls
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