Just as highways, once built, never freakin’ disappear, multi-million dollar walls have this habit of staying in place — at least until the empire crumbles, and sometimes not even then.
While the money interests behind guns heading south from the U.S. and the drugs they help bring back to our nightclubs, suburbs, and street corners are able to bribe, blitz, and tunnel their way across the border, poor laborers and their families are caught in the crossfire.
So, too, are the struggling wetlands working to make this water safe to swim in again after its flowing through El Paso del Norte. Migratory birds, resident riverine creatures, and endangered species whose vital habitat running along the Rio Grande are finding their habitats sliced in two.
At this despoiled stretch of recovered wetland Wednesday we saw the first display of direct action to stop the Border Wall’s construction.
Wetlands defender Judith Ackerman, among the border residents against the border wall, was arrested Wednesday at about 2 p.m., by officers of the Texas Department of Public Safety (The Texas Rangers) at the construction site inside the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park.
“This is life. The river is life. But not the wall; the wall is death,” said the 55-year-old Ackerman.
“Ackerman was attempting to stop heavy machinery and equipment from entering into the park which is the only remaining spot of real wildlife in El Paso' border,” said Carlos Marentes, writing on behalf of the border wall protesters.
A small group of border residents were in the area to show their support for Ackerman's action and to protest against the wall. The border wall contractor called for help to remove her. An impressive number of officers from the State, Federal, County and City law enforcement agencies arrived quickly to detain Judy and harass the rest of the demonstrators. Even Border Patrol officers moved to the area to stop American citizens from moving close to the border area. The officers approached many of the protesters to intimidate them but the protesters refused to leave the area. One woman was detained for almost three hours for interrogation. Many more received threats of more arrests if the group continue protesting against the construction of the border wall.
Under shadow of our Queque personae, I wrote about efforts in El Paso to raise awareness about the preciousness of this particular stretch of reclaimed wetlands. Locals offered tours of the El Paso city park turned University of Texas at El Paso restoration project last month.
We imaged “a carnival barker knee-deep in the marsh, maybe a tattered Uncle Sam top hat in implausible balance. Into the rich muck of El Paso’s Rio Bosque Wetlands Park falls ash from a bobbing cigarette as the figure cries out to a passing peregrine falcon, two stationary white-faced ibis, and an unflappable burrowing owl.
“Her-ray! Her-ray! Her-ray! One day own-lay! See the beauty of a varn-ishing wilderness before evil migrant scape-goatin’ closes the curtain far evah!””
It seems crazy that with Bush, Cheney, and Chertoff on the way out (along with their politics of aggression and division), that Texans would be forced to lay their bodies in front of the dozers to avert ecological and human rights crises here at home. With the presidential transition a month off yet, there’s still plenty of damage to be done on La Linea.
So the curtain descends. Will more bodies pour forth to keep the theater lights burning?