Big Walls

16 December 2008

I took a trip to Asia this past August and September with my dad, for six weeks. We visited the Russian Far East, Siberia, Mongolia, and China, traveling independently; most of the traveling was via the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. I plan to get some photos and thoughts posted here eventually, but as you probably know if you read this blog regularly, I don't make time for writing very often, so I'm not sure when.

Great Wall of China

Anyway, one day of the trip we spent on the Great Wall of China. It's impressive: 4000 miles (6400 km) long through some pretty difficult terrain. But it's not very tall, and what I was thinking about as we hiked along the top of it was that it wouldn't be very difficult for invaders to climb over, especially since there were plenty of trees near the section we visited (i.e. wood for building ladders -- see first photo). I was thinking that the only way it could possibly work would be to station lots of people on it to watch and shoot the invaders. Indeed, the Wikipedia article (see link above) says a million people guarded it at its peak, and it was certainly built with plenty of holes to look and shoot through (see second photo).

Great Wall of China

The Mexican-U.S. border is something like 3000 miles (5000 km) long, and there are lots of people who think the way to solve our immigration issues is to build a wall along the entire length. Maybe they should go visit the Great Wall, and think about whether this border wall would really do any good, without the population of China to draw upon to guard it. At least some people are thinking this way... I've been reading David Sirota's The Uprising, and I found this yesterday (it prompted me to create this blog article): "Aren't efforts to build a twelve-foot fence just creating a market for thirteen-foot ladders? Shouldn't [they] be lobbying Congress to support antipoverty initiatives in Mexico?"