After Schengen by Ignacio Evangelista

The “After Schengen” photo series is about photographing some of the old border crossing points that still exist abandoned and out of order, in some states of European Union. Border crossings have a function of geographical boundaries, but also a coercive role, since they prevent the free passage of people between one and another state. So, they are places that, along with a cartographic dimension, are provided with historical, economic and political reminiscences, aspects absolutely related to Landscape from a contemporary and transversal perspective.

These places that previously the Schengen treaty, delimited territories and in which the traveler had to stop and show his documents, currently appear as abandoned places, located in a space-time limbo, out of use and out of the time for which they were designed, as these states have opened their borders to the free movement of people and goods.

The observation of these places in the present time, gives them a dimension related to viewing and reading of some episodes in recent history, with the passing of time and memory in the landscape. These quasi-archaeological ruins have become part of the current landscape, forming a presence of the past that lies dormant in the present.

These places throughout Europe form a network of empty spaces between living spaces, and when the reason for its existence is finished, they form symbolic places that cause new thinking from the present, and a way to visualize time and history. Paradoxically, these spaces currently uninhabited, with no function or meaning, that appear devoid of human figures, emphasize the humanity of the countryside.Every time I get to a border crossing to take pictures and I am confronted with all kind of signs (stop,achtung, arrows) and barriers which at some point have regulated movements, itineraries and behaviors which now appear absurd and out of context, some old and familiar voices speak to me about the arbitrariness of control systems, about their pure artifice, their alienating character and the huge imbalance between the power of the states and their relationship with individuals.

This revolutionary treaty was signed in 1985 and came into force in 1995; next year 2015 will be its 30th anniversary, respectively.

These old border crossing points are slowly disappearing, some are renovated and reconverted to new uses, some are destroyed for vandals, and some other just fall down due to the passing of time. So, after some few years there will be no possibility to look at this strong signs and symbols of the recent european history.

This project was awarded with the 2.013 CENTER Project Development Grant, otorged by CENTER (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA) juror: Denise Wolff (Aperture Foundation)

Coll de Bertrés E-F copia Drasenhofen-Mikulov A-CZ copia Eisenberg - Vaskeresztes A-H copia Hardegg - Cizov A-CZ copia Klingenbach - Sopron A-H copia Lindoso-Aceredo P-E copia Mörbisch am See - Fertörákos A-H copia Nickelsdorf - Hegyeshalom A-H copia O.v Orl. horách - D.Zdrój PL-CZ copia Portalet E-F copia Rattersdorf - Köszeg A-H copia Slavonice-Fratres CZ-A copia Ždarky-Pstrazna CZ-PL copia Fratres-Slavonice A-CZ copia


Tourism at the border: The Dawki-Tamabil border and Mawlynnong Village: India-Bangladesh

Tourism at the border

The Dawki-Tamabil border and Mawlynnong Village: India-Bangladesh


Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

The rolling Khasi Hills, described by the British as ‘the Scotland of the East’, was the natural connect between the floodplains of Assam and Bengal, before the British ruled Indian subcontinent was partitioned into India and Pakistan in 1947. It was the land border and an important point of commerce between Assam and Bengal, through the Dawki Bridge built by the British over the Umngot River in 1932, connecting the Khasi-Jaintia Hills and South Assam in present day Northeast India with Sylhet district of present day Bangladesh. On the Indian side is border town Dawki in the Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, 80 kilometres from the state capital of Shillong, and on the Bangladesh side is the border town of Tamabil, 55 kilometres from the province headquarters of Sylhet, Bangladesh.

The beautiful and verdant Khasi Hills today sits on a maze of limestone mines and rat hole coal mines, frequented by diesel fuming trucks ferrying the coal and limestone out of the place, and a huge ugly monolith cement factory has seemingly obliterated the many Khasi monoliths which had erstwhile dotted the countryside, the symbol of Khasi animist belief-system. There has been huge environmental impact of such coal and limestone mining in Meghalaya, which forms a substantial part of the border trade at the Dawki-Tamabil crossing.

The road leading to Dawki, away from the maddening traffic of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, is one of the most beautiful hill roads in this part of the world, and is lined with local taxis and private cars and buses ferrying tourists. The impact of tourism is seen right from Police Bazaar in downtown Shillong, where taxi drivers jostle to attract tourists to visit Cherrapunjee and Mawlynnong, mostly on day-visits. A growing number of tourists have started coming from Bangladesh through the Dawki-Tamabil border crossing. The revival of people-to-people contact on a formal basis between India and Bangladesh here holds a lot of promise for the development of this sub-region.

Mawlynnong is a small village in Meghalaya near the Dawki-Tamabil border, 18 kilometres inside from the state highway, now assigned to be the international highway between India and Bangladesh. The village is at the end of the arterial road and the vast plains of Bangladesh can be easily seen from any high point in the village. There are around 95 households in the village and the people belong to the War sub-tribe of the Khasi tribe. All the villagers are Christian by faith and are almost equally divided into two churches, one being the Church of North India and the other being the Protestant Church. The village livelihood is sustained by farming in their plots of land in the community forest adjoining their village, and the major crops are of betel nuts and betel leaves, pineapple, jackfruit, bay leaves, broomsticks and honey. The villagers work in their fields and regularly contribute to community work, which is a part of their daily community living. Their favourite activity is fishing and they go in groups along trails to crystal clear streams with their fishing rods, often entering Bangladesh.

The people of Mawlynnong have been in many ways connected to ideas from around the world, and the values and growth of this community has not been isolated due to lack of proper road infrastructure. Villagers from Mawlynnong participated in the First World War in the British Army, fighting for them in Europe. The village being very close to the border-trading town of Dawki, which had connected them to the outside world, much more than other Northeast Indian tribal communities. Mawlynnong was part of an active corridor for the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) insurgents during the height of the Khasi insurgency against the Indian state, due to the unhindered access through the porous borders across to their insurgent camps inside Bangladesh.

These are the very paths, which lead to the amazing living root bridges (ficus elastica or the Indian rubber plant), clear streams and gushing waterfalls that have opened up the village of Mawlynnong to their newest community activity, which is tourism. Mawlynnong is now known more by tourism than by their sweetest pineapples and the strongest betel nuts in the entire East Khasi Hills. The ‘cleanest village in Asia’ tag has ushered in tourism here in a big way here. The border is now a harbinger of trade and tourism to the people of Meghalaya.

Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman is a Doctoral Candidate at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam, India. His research interests is on border studies in Northeast India and transboundary water sharing and management issues between China, India and Bangladesh. He can be contacted at

European Border Guards Day


The European Day for Border Guards (ED4BG) is an annual event, organised by Frontex, taking place second half of May each year.

ED4BG presents Europe’s border-guard community with an opportunity to share experiences and best practice. It provides a forum for topical discussion, exchange of views between key border-management players, and a platform to bring together the worlds of public service and private industry.

One of the event’s key objectives is to foster a community of EU border guardianship with shared values and priorities. Above all it is an expression of appreciation and celebration of Europe’s border-management authorities and their personnel.

Pressure on Greece’s border with Turkey mounts as more refugees flee Middle East

Pressure on Greece’s border with Turkey mounts as more refugees flee Middle East



After a temporary respite in the number of irregular immigrants seeking to make their way into Europe through Greece’s land and sea border with Turkey, recent data show a dramatic shift in migration patterns.

Figures show a clear growth trend. In the first seven months of the year, Greek authorities arrested 15,104 undocumented migrants trying to enter the country via Turkey, marking a 143.6 percent increase over the previous year.

The situation is exacerbated by thousands of Syrian refugees trying to escape the violence in the Middle East, making their way from Turkey to Greece.

“If they decide to flee the refugee camps set up in [Syria’s] neighboring countries, the situation will get worse,” Panagiotis Nikas, director of a first-reception service told Kathimerini.

“At the same time, we are holding our breath over the situation in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries,” he said.

Authorities on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos stopped 4,071 immigrants in the first half of the year compared to 1,998 the previous year. Up to 1,025 where intercepted on nearby Samos in July when the number of arrests for the first half of 2013 was 962. On Chios, authorities detained 735 migrants in July against just 293 in the first half of last year.

Data also show a spike in the number of border crossings at Greece’s northeastern Evros region, where a much-hyped 12.5 km razor-wire fence along the Turkish border and beefed-up border control have failed to stem the tide.

In the first half of 2014, border guards arrested 748 immigrants, a 64.4 percent increase over the previous year’s 455 arrests.

“In the past four months, the number of people trying to make their way through Evros has skyrocketed,” said Panagiotis Charelas, president of the nationwide federation of border guards.

“Where last year we only had a few scattered incidents, operations this year have become a daily routine,” he said.

Burden sharing

Last year, Greece spent more than 63 million euros to prevent illegal immigration into its porous border. Only 2.6 million came from Europe’s border control agency Frontex.

Adding to the country’s woes, according to the Dublin Regulation undocumented migrants found anywhere in the EU must be returned to their country of entry, often Greece.

Cash-strapped Greece has called for greater burden sharing among the nations of the 28-member bloc.

“Right now, Greece and Italy have to shoulder a disproportionate burden despite of the fact that our borders are also Europe’s borders and despite the fact that most migrants do not wish to settle in Greece but to move further north,” Nikas said.

Officials in Athens hope that if Dimitris Avramopoulos, slated to become Greece’s next Commissioner, were to take over the immigration portfolio in the next European Commission, Greece will be able to push for greater EU involvement in the problem.

Economic Nomads in a City of Flows – Africans in China

Sam PIRANTY Guangzhou, China:

At about five o’clock every morning outside the Don Franc hotel in the Xiaobei Lu district of Guangzhou, I’m awoken by a cacophony of noise. The main culprits ruining my morning lie in are some serious squabblers.

About 20 men from the North-Western provinces of China, dressed in polo shirts and trousers are furiously bartering over currency exchange rates as they transfer what looks like hundreds of thousands of dollars and Yuan. Nearby sit about ten Uyghur men from Xinjiang, with thick, twitching moustaches aggressively touting rides on the back of their three-wheeled motorbikes with make-shift umbrella roofs to keep off the rain. Next to them Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Moroccans and Lebanese argue and laugh over prices of kitchen doors, rubber ducks, clothes, hair extensions, toilet seats, football boots and mobile phone accessories with their Chinese counterparts. Stall holders sit drowning in various products, their heads the only body part visible above their sea of goods. Amongst the morning soundscape one also hears tales of Lagos, Luanda and Lesotho as traders from Cairo to Cape Town and Senegal to Somalia discuss their latest travel and business plans as the morning train chugs along the overhead tracks.

Everyone and everything is on the move, every day. Cash quickly changes hands, goods are hurried into clapped-out Nissan vans, and buyers jump into taxis whilst answering two mobile phone calls at once. It is true that there are many African traders in this part of the city, but to simply label this, as many commentators have done, ‘Africa Town’, ‘Chocolate City’ or ‘Little Africa’ is misleading. In fact, most people who live locally have never even heard those descriptions. This is a part of a city, orchestrated by flows of people and cash, that is constantly moving and adapting. No label sticks. ‘Chocolate City’ does not exist.

The history of the Xiaobei Lu area is fascinating. Recounting the tale told to him by a long-term Guangzhou resident, researcher Roberto Castillo suggests that only 30 years ago the area was farmland. “The first people to come were internal Chinese migrants from Hunan,” he says. “They developed the land and built some of the buildings and structures that are there today. Once the land had been developed, then came migrants from the Middle East.”

Many of these migrants acted as middlemen, sourcing and distributing products for their African clients. However, from the mid-1990s, many of the African traders permanently residing in the city today decided to cut out the middlemen and head straight to Guangzhou themselves. “By around 2004,” Castillo continues, “there were more and more Africans, and by 2006-7 almost all the Arab traders had moved away.”

The early period saw many African traders concentrated around the Xiaobei Lu and Sanyuanli areas. However, over time Castillo suggests that we could no longer talk about a concentration of African migrants in one or two places. “There are many Africans spread in many different places,” he explains. “What was once a more stable, set community is now an archipelago, spread throughout North-Western Guangzhou.” The population is also a larglely transient one, with many traders staying for a week or two before moving onto another destination. Knowing how many African migrants are currently in the city is a difficult to impossible task.


[A Nigerian building supplier argues over the price of kitchen doors for his new hotel.]

The hotel I’m staying in is famed for its African clientele which is the main reason why every so often immigration police, dressed in light blue and black uniforms, loiter outside and in the markets asking every black man or woman for their passport. The hotel is used as much for sleeping as it is for storing goods. Beds get lost underneath colourful bags bursting at the seams with clothes, shoes and various kitchen appliances. Many have to squeeze through the door and clamber up the mountains of bags to fashion a place to sleep, three inches from the ceiling.

Coming back from breakfast, as I walk, shoes clicking down the hallway towards my room, a man pokes his head around his door: “This is why Africa is moving up and why you have an economic crash. White men always walk so slow,” he shouts. David* is from Nairobi and has been in Guangzhou for three days. His room is already full to the brim with bags of mobile phone headsets. The reason he looked out of his room was because he thought I was the porter coming to collect his goods to take to the port. “I have spent about $20,000 here,” says David. “Once I get everything shipped back home, I’ll have doubled that. Africa has lots of phones. They all want to talk but are too lazy to hold them so they need headsets. I’ve got no time to waste though, I go to Vietnam next. It is cheaper there.”

David is reiterating something I was to hear from dozens of others. China, and Guangzhou in particular, has always been known as the place to come and purchase cheap goods. However, with rising living costs and greater visa restrictions, many African traders are looking elsewhere to source their products. Vietnam, Thailand and Turkey were all consistently mentioned as more lucrative places to visit.

I arrange to have a drink with David later in one of the bars surrounding the hotel. David takes me down a crooked, winding alleyway and up a flight of stairs lit by a neon sign saying ‘African food. This Way’. As we enter the bar there is a tense atmosphere. Everyone is on edge. You could hear a pin drop if it were not for the rather scratchy sound of a Chinese football commentator coming through the speakers. There is no fight or argument. Chelsea are playing a friendly game. We take a seat at the back of the room as we order a couple of beers.

“You know, I have watched Chelsea in eleven different countries,” says David. He is talking to me but with his eyes fixed on the six different screens all showing the same match. “I have watched them in India, China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Kenya, Tanzania, England, Scotland.” He pauses before whispering to me in a Scottish accent that England will never win the World Cup again. He seems upset when I agree. “And then also in Bangladesh and Uganda”.

David travels regularly between Africa and parts of Asia sourcing goods and shipping them back home. ‘What kind of things do you trade?’ I ask David. “Everything. Seriously, everything.” he answers. “If you wanted something, I could get it for you. I move wherever a product is cheapest. You have to be alert and ready to go at a moment’s notice, else, as a trader you will never make money.” We pause for a moment as Chelsea hit the crossbar and the whole bar hold their heads in their hands before David continues, “I have been travelling for almost thirty years. Flights are so cheap now. I don’t stop.”

David spends about six weeks a year in Kenya, his country of birth. I ask him where home is for him. “Ha. Home?” he replies. “What is that? A house? Home is where you feel calm, home is where you feel settled, right? Well, for me, I spend most of my time in the air or on a boat. Home for me is on a flight from Beijing to Tokyo. Home for me is on a train from Beijing to Guangzhou. Can it be possible that home is moving? Well, whatever, home for me is moving.” Chelsea go on to win and with David in a good mood we move on to another watering hole.

Later that evening I am introduced to a number of other traders all from East Africa who spend the majority of their time away from that part of the continent. All of them tell me about how they hop from one trade hub to the next within a network of Asian marketplaces sourcing goods and sending them to various African buyers. They are the modern-day economic nomads.

My conversations with them are frequently interrupted by phone calls or text messages from one of their many mobile phones. Each trader has at least three – one for each country they trade in or as one told me “one for each girlfriend.” The text messages and phone calls are not only from girlfriends or business associates however. Many are from members running text networks alerting those without visas to the location of the immigration police. I recall one afternoon in a market in Sanyuanli where I was distracted from buying a pair of shoes by an orchestra of text tones. Suddenly the market was empty and sure enough as I went outside to see where everyone had gone, dozens of immigration police were waiting, checking passports. In a place where for many African traders, particularly Nigerians, visas are particularly difficult to extend, mobility is key.

Visa stop

[Guangzhou immigration authorities check the passport of every African passing by.]

On a number of occasions, I meet African traders with Chinese partners and children who have lived in Guangzhou for over a decade and are still on a tourist visa. Robert, a Nigerian who owns a luxury clothes shop has lived in Guangzhou for almost 13 years. He lives with his Chinese wife and three children in a gated community in the city. Robert’s passport says he is a tourist but he argues that despite its business restrictions, it doesn’t bother him.

“You see, I have always been a tourist,” he says. “What does it matter what your passport says? Yes, it would be good for my business if I had a resident visa but China does not like foreigners. It does not like foreigners, but we know that. Therefore we should not complain when they don’t extend or give us good visas. You come to Guangzhou to do business. You go to Vietnam to do business. You don’t go to Guangzhou to come home.”

One morning Robert takes me on a tour of the city in his old blue Mercedes. He takes great pride in letting me sit in the front seat which he has just upholstered himself. As we drive around the outskirts of the city, windows down, the amount of construction work is remarkable. Cranes, scaffolding and tower blocks dominate the skyline, growing by the minute. “They moved the farmers there you know,” he says. “Many of the farmers were given lots of money and moved into the edge of the city in those flats. I know this because one came into my shop to buy a suit. It was the first one he ever bought.”

Robert is referring to the rapid urbanisation development where rural land owners receive pay-offs to move into urban areas. “When the farmer came into my shop, he was a bit scared,” he recalls. “He told my wife he had never seen so many Heiguis [which roughly translates as ‘black ghosts’ or ‘black devils’]. When he saw my children, he could not believe it. He asked my wife if they needed to go to hospital. We laughed a lot but you know many Chinese still think like this. But in Guangzhou it has changed. Before they used to say we smelt when we got on a bus or laugh at us in the street all the time. Now it is less. I think the Chinese are getting used to us.”

We then take a tour of the centre of the city. Along the highways Robert points out various grey and rather dull offices and high-rise buildings which aren’t quite what they seem. “That one has five churches in it,” he reveals. “There are two Congolese churches and a few Portuguese churches, you know, for the Angolans.” Many African churches in Guangzhou are illegal under Chinese law and so have to conduct their services discreetly from old office blocks and halls.

We drive further and he points at a factory, now derelict and empty. “That was a place where they used to make fake drugs, illegal drugs to sell in Africa. Look at it now. Empty. Even the buildings here are tourists. One minute they are a church and when the police find out, they have to move. One minute it is a factory and now it has to move. The problem is China is too big. The police can’t see everything like people without visas and places without official homes. “We Africans are too quick for them.”

The sense of impermanence and transiency runs throughout the African communities in Guangzhou. Some of this is self-made, some of this is forced upon them by Chinese authorities and their visa restrictions.

As the heavens open and the rain starts to pummel down on his precious Mercedes, Robert winks at me and presses the electric window switch. “Business in China can be good you see. You have to put up with a lot but if you stay in tune with what people want, you can make a lot of money. Prices are becoming too high though, so soon we will move on again. I will take my family to another place. I am a tourist after all!” Robert laughs and lets me out at one of Guangzhou’s new spectacular metro stations. I disappear underground, down the escalator, next to a Ugandan. Despite the heavy presence of many Africans in parts of the city, out in suburbia all eyes are firmly on him.

In da club

[Nigerian rapper Lo-D, Cameroonian M-One and a Ghanaian MC perform at a night club in Guangzhou.]

Later that week I am taken out by David to a nightclub which according to him is known for its ‘African nights’. A few hours after we arrive, at around 4am, we watch Lo-D, a Nigerian musician, as he raps on stage alongside a Cameroonian rapper from Moscow and a Ghanaian MC. After their performance I talk to Cameroonian, M-One, about his lifestyle. With his name adorned on his cap, diamond-encrusted watch and flashy outfit, he is clearly doing well for himself.

“I work the circuit between Moscow, Beijing, Guangzhou and other places,” he says. “Europe won’t have me, well, not yet, but Asia and Russia love me.” He goes on to tell me about how he regularly tours all over the Asian continent and shows me pictures of his Russian supermodel wife. “You know in the UK you can be popular but only 50 million people will know you. Here, you can be popular and 1 billion people know you.” Mid-conversation we are interrupted by another musician, from Angola. “You know why he’s popular here? Because the younger Chinese, they like people from Africa. They know what Africa has done for China. It is the older ones who are racist but the older ones are not the guys who will buy the music.”

That morning, I stumble back to my hotel with David, slightly tipsy through the bustling crowds of taxi drivers, currency exchange men and African traders. I wake up at around 2pm in the afternoon to find a note under my door from David. ‘Bangkok calls. Had to go. Going home for a few hours.’

There is a population of longer-term African residents living in Guangzhou, but the majority are just passing through. They slip beneath the radar of statisticians and economists and defy the easy categorisation journalists crave. With decreasing transport costs, their fluidity and transience offers a glimpse into the economic nomads of the future, where home is on the move.

*names have been changed to protect interviewees’ identities.

Photographs by Sam Piranty.

This article was made possible by a grant from the ChinaAfrica Reporting Project managed by the Journalism Department of the University of Witwatersrand.

Namibia: Removal of Redline Soon a Reality


WINDHOEK — The erecting of a border fence between Namibia and Angola and the removal of the infamous veterinary cordon fence, known as the ‘redline’, could soon be a reality.


When this long envisioned dream is finally realised northern communal farmers will be able to export their beef to international markets – but only once the north’s livetsock sector is declared free of deadly animal diseases.


Speaking at the opening of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Namibia’s Livestock Support Activity Workshop this week in Windhoek, Dr Albertina Shilongo, project team leader of a programme to declare the northern communal areas (NCAs) free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), said all eyes are on cabinet’s approval of a submission on the issue. A recently completed study found that erecting a fence of about 240km between Namibia and Angola and doing away with the redline would be the most viable option for the future of the Namibian livestock industry.


The task will be made easier as the World Animal Health Organisation (WAHO) regards the Kunene and Kavango rivers as natural borders between the two countries.


Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Joseph Iita confirmed the latest developments, saying it is in the interest of all Namibians. The redline is seen as an oppressive measure that divides the country into two parts. Its removal has been a topic of discussion for many years and now it seems the country is one step closer in breaking down this barrier that has been a source of dismay among northern farmers. The erection of a fence between Namibia and Angola would relieve animal disease outbreaks and stock losses.


Shilongo said many stakeholders’ meetings in the NCAs were conducted by the Directorate of Veterinary Services to educate northern farmers on steps that need to be taken to eliminate the redline and prepare them for the border fence.


Although more than half of the country’s 2,8 million cattle are in the NCAs, the meat of the animals in those areas is not exported to the European Union (EU) because the NCAs are considered high-risk and prone to animal diseases, especially lung sickness and FMD.


Shilongo said Namibia finalised an application to the (WAHO) to declare the NCAs FMD-free. The project to improve rural livelihood in areas north of the redline to eradicate the current restrictions is tricky. In order to eradicate lung sickness and prevent the re-introduction of the disease, a system to limit the risk of cross-border infection was required, she said.


“It is hard to control the movement between Angola and Namibia as there is a free border. In the past they tried to control it, but it failed. Not all communities interviewed during the recent study were in favour of a border fence as their animals roam between the two countries for grazing, but almost all of them greeted the possibility of new markets for their livestock with great enthusiasm,” said Shilongo.


Other requirements to declare the NCA an FMD-free zone include stopping new diseases from entering into Namibia and having the capacity to find and respond to diseases quickly. “Unfortunately, in Namibia veterinary services are not strong enough. One of the aims of the project is to improve the capacity of the vets,” explained Shilongo.


She emphasised that although cabinet has not yet approved the proposal of a border fence, she was confident funds would be made available for this undertaking. “Hopefully soon, so that the project can start next year,” she said.

Protests against unnecessary checkpoints in Arizona

Protests against checkpoints residents consider unnecessary

Posted: Jul 09, 2014 3:00 PM BSTUpdated: Jul 23, 2014 3:46 PM BST

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –

Community leaders and other groups are expected to meet downtown this morning to talk about border issues and Border Patrol check points.

The groups say they will be creating their own border reality checkpoints at Wednesday morning’s in Armory Park.

In addition to community leaders, the ACLU of Arizona and the Border Action Network will also be on hand. The goal of the groups will be to help educate people about their rights. They claim CBP is acting out of control, abusing their power and the rights of border residents with no accountability.

According to the officials with the ACLU and Border Action Network, communities along the border reporting they feel they are treated with suspicion by CBP and subjected to unjustified searches and verbal and physical abuse.

The Border Reality Checkpoint Education movement is not only taking place in downtown Tucson, there will be rallies in California, Texas and New Mexico.

Also this morning in Arivaca, community members will staff a ‘know your rights’ booth, south of the Border Patrol checkpoint on Arivaca Road.

The group is protesting the checkpoint and will be monitoring it to deter abuse and document rights violations.

Border Patrol officials released this statement in regard to these checkpoints:

Checkpoints are an effective and essential component of the Border Patrol’s strategy. These checkpoints are critical to our patrol efforts for they deny major routes of egress from the border region to smugglers intent on delivering people, drugs, and other contraband into the interior of the United States. The Border Patrol carefully selects checkpoint locations to maximize border enforcement and continuously evaluates our operations to ensure they are effective and do not pose undo impact to law abiding citizens. In addition, we are dedicated to continued meetings with local representatives and community members of Arivaca, Green Valley and Tubac to address their concerns. Our agents will continue to diligently protect and secure America’s borders by accomplishing our mission within the context of the U.S. search and seizure laws and the judicial decisions that regulate checkpoint operations, such as INA 287 and U.S. vs. Martinez-Fuerte among others.

In the Tucson Sector, checkpoints remain a critical piece of infrastructure and a highly effective tool in our enforcement efforts to secure our nation’s borders. From FY2010 through FY2013, Tucson Sector checkpoints have made approximately 6,372 apprehensions and seized over 135,000 pounds of narcotics. The Arivaca-Amado checkpoint has been in operation for approximately seven years and there are no current plans to alter checkpoint operations in that location. Tucson Sector continues to welcome and encourage comments from all of our community members regarding Border Patrol operations.

Enclaves between India and Bangladesh

The land that maps forgot

Feb 15th 2011, 16:06by T.J. | COOCH BEHAR

THOSE of us who keep an eye out for anomalies in the world’s maps have long held a fond regard for what might be called Greater Bengal. A crazed array of boundaries cuts Bangladesh out of the cloth of easternmost India, before slicing up the surrounding Himalayan area and India’s north-east into most of a dozen jagged mini-states. But thecrème de la crème, for a student of bizarre geography, is to be found floating along the northern edge of Bangladesh’s border with India.

EVER since Bangladesh achieved its independence in 1971, struggles over territory and terrorism, rather than the exchange of goods and goodwill, have dominated its relations with its mega-neighbour. Forty years on, both countries appear to be nearing an agreement to solve the insoluble—by swapping territory.

The planned exchange of parcels of each other’s territory is concentrated around some 200 enclaves. These are like islands of Indian and Bangladeshi territory surrounded completely by the other country’s land, clustered on either side of Bangladesh’s border with the district of Cooch Behar, in the Indian state of West Bengal. Surreally, these include about two dozen counter-enclaves (enclaves within enclaves), as well as the world’s only counter-counter enclave—a patch of Bangladesh that is surrounded by Indian territory…itself surrounded by Bangladeshi territory.

Folklore has it that this quiltwork of enclaves is the result of a series of chess games between the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the Faujdar of Rangpur. The noblemen wagered on their games, using villages as currency. Even in the more sober account, represented by Brendan R. Whyte, an academic, the enclaves are the “result of peace treaties in 1711 and 1713 between the kingdom of Cooch Behar and the Mughal empire, ending a long series of wars in which the Mughals wrested several districts from Cooch Behar.”

That was before the days of East India Company rule, before the British Raj and long before the independence of South Asia’s modern republics. These places have been left as they were found by both India and Bangladesh: in a nearly stateless state of abandonment. They are today pockets of abject poverty with little or nothing in the way of public services.

In a 2004 paper titled “An historical and documentary study of the Cooch Behar enclaves of India and Bangladesh”, Mr Whyte, in reference to the intractability of the boundary issues at partition, asks whether India is still “waiting for the Eskimo”.

When in 1947 Mr Feroz Khan Noon suggested that Sir Cyril Radcliffe should not visit Lahore for he was sure to be misunderstood either by the Muslims or the Sikhs, The Statesman wrote: “On this line of argument, he [Sir Cyril] would do better to remain in London, or better still, take up residence in Alaska. Perhaps however there would be no objection to his surveying the boundaries of the Punjab from the air if piloted by an Esqimo”.

Apparently the newspaper thought that anyone’s sorting this border dispute anytime soon was highly improbable. Sir Cyril’s success seemed as implausible—in those waning days of the British empire—as the notion of an Inuit flying an aeroplane. Most of a century later and a flying “Esqimo” seems like no big deal, while progress on the zany borders of Cooch Behar has made no progress at all.

There is now talk that a land swap might be sealed when India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh visits Bangladesh later this year. If it goes ahead, India stands to lose just over 4,000 hectares of its territory, or about 40 square kilometres. It has 111 enclaves of land within Bangladesh—nearly 70 square kilometres. Bangladesh has 51 enclaves of its own, comprising 28 square kilometres surrounded by India. The transfer proposed would simplify the messy boundary immeasurably—and entail something like a 10,000-acre net loss for India.

For India’s governing Congress party, making a gift of land to Bangladesh—in all an area equivalent to the size of 2,000 test-cricket stadiums—will not come easy. During a time of ideological waffle, it is an issue which India’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can use to flaunt its nationalistic (oftentimes pro-Hindu, ie anti-Muslim) credentials and to attack Congress at a weak spot—its perceived softness towards illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, most of them Muslims. By many estimates, more than 15m illegal migrants have entered India from Bangladesh since 1971. The BJP has been trotting out the round figure of 20m for years.

Meanwhile, construction of a border fence, 2.5m high, on India’s 4,100km border with Bangladesh, the world’s fifth-longest (due to all its zigging and zagging), continues unabated. It is a bloody border, too. Indian soldiers enforce a shoot-to-kill order against Bangladeshi migrants caught making their mundane way from one side of the line to the other.

But what’s in it for India? Its broader desire to clarify its fuzzy borders with all its neighbours provides one attraction. The dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir has eluded resolution. China’s claim of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh remains an open sore. Drawing one steady borderline in the east looks comparatively easy.

India must also hope that its generous co-operation in the territorial dispute might help Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, secure popular Bangladeshi support for a rapprochement with India. Her Awami League (AL) government has proven itself a willing partner: working to deny Bangladeshi territory to the insurgent groups who challenge Indian sovereignty in its north-eastern states; and cracking down Bangladesh’s homegrown Islamic-extremist fringe. But as many of Sheikh Hasina’s fellow citizens see things, India has yet to reciprocate following their government’s consent last year to allow India to use Bangladesh’s ports and roads. The main opposition party, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), whose leader likes to say that no foreign vehicles should be allowed to use Bangladesh’s territory, scents blood.

Indian diplomats know this. A diplomatic cable from the American embassy, leaked to the world by WikiLeaks, summarises discussions held in 2009 between India’s then High Commissioner to Bangladesh and the American ambassador. India, the Americans thought, would like to establish a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh on counterterrorism, but was impeded by its understanding “that Bangladesh might insist on a regional task force to provide Hasina political cover from allegations she was too close to India”.

Such international intriguing tends to ignore the people who actually in the enclaves—150,000 by some estimates—who are left waiting. Their chief grievance is a complete lack of public services: with no education, infrastructure for water, electricity etc, they may as well not be citizens of any country. NGOs are barred from working in the enclaves. The question of their citizenship is a major obstacle in resolving the problem: referendums are out of the question, as India does not want to create a precedent which could inspire Kashmiris or north-easterners fighting for independent statehood.

The people who actually live in enclaves (and counter-enclaves) in a certain sense “don’t see” the borders. They speak the same language, eat the same food and live life without regard to the politicians in Dhaka, Kolkata and Delhi. Many of them cross the border regularly (the bribe is US$6 a trip from the Bangladeshi side).

A few years ago, away from Cooch Behar, on the eastern border with India, I met a man who lived smack on the border between Tripura state and Bangladesh. His living room was in Bangladesh, his toilet in India. He had been a local politician in India, and was now working as a farmer in Bangladesh. As is typical in such places, he sent his daughters to school in Bangladesh, and his sons to India, where schools, he thought, were much better. To his mind, the fence dividing the two countries was of little value. But, he conceded, “at least my cows don’t run away anymore.”

Article on Ebola and US Borders ‘ US can’t seal borders to stop Ebola’

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said on Sunday that while the disease is scary, “the plain truth is, we can stop Ebola. We know how to control it.”

His comments on ABC’s “This Week” came the day after an American doctor who was stricken with the disease while working in Liberia was flown into the United States and transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

“Ebola’s scary, and it’s understandable that with a deadly disease, people are concerned,” Frieden said.

The key to stopping its spread, he said, is identifying the source of the disease in West Africa and stopping it there, and the CDC will put 50 staff members on the ground there over the next 30 days.

An Ebola vaccine “would be very helpful,” he said, but it won’t exist anytime soon. Still, he added, health workers can find and isolate patients, trace the contacts they’ve made and encourage safe burial practices for those who fall ill.

“We’re not going to hermetically seal the borders of the U.S. We’re reliant and interdependent with the world for travel, for trade, for the economy, for our families and communities,” Frieden said. “The single most important thing we can do to protect Americans is to stop this disease at the source in Africa.”