Good wall makes good neighbours. But when the Berlin Wall was brought down on November 9, 1989 a large number of citizens living on either side of the city burst into celebration. However, within a few years many new walls came up in now unified and apparently much powerful Germany. These walls still make a distinction between the people of the erstwhile East and West Germany. The leaders of the Green Party claim “that this is not unification rather it is the control of East by the West.”
No Borders: Journeys of an Indian Journalist penned by Mukul Sharma explores the “un-revealed, un-discussed process of German unification.” Violence is often reported between East and West Germans. And Nazi groups are once again active in West Germany.
penned by Mukul Sharma explores the “un-revealed, un-discussed process of German unification.” Violence is often reported between East and West Germans. And Nazi groups are once again active in West Germany.
But No Borders is not just a book on the collapse of Berlin Wall and its impact. In fact, as the name suggests, it is the collection of the part-reportage and part-researched based articles on extensive field work. These pieces explore the radical changes, interventions, popular protests of the common people in the large part of the world. The author of No Borders after visiting 14 countries in 15 years – between 1990 and 2005 – came to the conclusion that there is not much distinction between the exploiters and exploited – be it of India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil etc. He explains as to how drug addiction is wreaking havoc in the United States. Though 80 per cent of the drug addicts are Whites, “the so-called war on the drugs are waged on the African-American and Hispanic neighbourhoods.” In spite of this high drug addiction among Whites half of Blacks had to go to jail before the age of 30.
Globally too the war on drugs actually means something else to the American establishment. It is less interested in checking the menace of drugs within the country and more keen to take on the people of the source countries in Latin America, South Asia, East Europe and Africa. The fact, however, is that the drug lords of the respective countries used their relationship with the CIA to increase their hold on power. The real victims of this war on drugs are the poor cocoa and opium growers.
Mukul Sharma highlights the exploitation of Indonesia where “the foreign mining investment projects cover all the mineral areas in the country especially those endowed with gold and coal resources.” Similarly the multi-national oil giant, Shell, while drilling in Nigeria has devastated a large part in the south of the country leading to the death of over 1800 people in the last few years.
The book brings to notice the problems of the dock workers and coal miners of the United Kingdom after the privatisation of docks in 1989 and coal mines in 1994. The struggle of landless workers of Bihar in India, Nepal and South Africa has been dealt with in detail.
Various people’s movements against the environmental pollution and industrial wastes, be it in the United States or any other country, have got proper attention. The book also carries the interview of Moula Bux Khaskhili, president of All Pakistan Trade Union Organisation. He charged as to how the trade union movements in Pakistan were crushed, at the instance of the World Bank and IMF, by successive governments. The book draws attention to the plight of male and female labours working in the garment industry in Bangladesh.
Discussing the changing pattern in the fishery business in the last two decades, the author opined that a new entrepreneur class was slowly replacing the traditional fishermen in South India. He explained as to how “the expansion of capital and technology has the capacity to transform the whole sector and simultaneously coincides inevitably with certain limitations that capital and technology can never overcome.”
He attributed the frequent clash between the fishermen of India and Sri Lanka to, inter alia, the “universalizing impact of capital and technology.” The capital, technology and market “are tearing down spatial barriers of intercourse and are attempting to expand and conquer the whole surrounding environment.”
No Borders essentially focuses on the people’s movement. But since the book is a journey made in the last 15 years some of these struggles have undergone a change while some others got intensified – and some lost their appeal.¨