Contrary to the opinion expressed in the TV advertisement, the Great Wall of China was not built to keep the rabbits out; nor was Hadrian’s Wall.
We build walls and fences to protect our property and possessions, something that the nomadic tribes around the world, including our own aborigines, see as unnecessary. We also erect barriers in our own minds that deliberately discriminate against things or people we do not necessarily understand.
Whether we like it or not we must accept that Australia is a multi-cultural society. While we would not be allowed to drink a glass of wine with our lunch in a Saudi Arabian café, Arabs in Australia can build Mosques in which to worship, schools to teach their children and their women can wear head coverings in the street.
These differences should set us apart and allow us to be an example to the rest of the world in how to develop successful multi-cultural societies. But we still have many barriers to overcome within our communities and within ourselves.
In every society there are some ‘bad eggs’ and no one will argue that there is not a criminal element here among Australians. Therefore we should not judge all those who come from other countries by referring to them in broad derogatory terms like Islamic extremists, terrorists or drug runners.
Just as the wall between East and West Germany came tumbling down, so too must we be prepared to break down our own personal barriers.
The Good Book says we must love our neighbour and our neighbour is more than those outside the fences we build around our property. We have neighbours as well outside the barriers we build in our minds.