Other-eyes-perspective on border technologies from Berlin. Can 2020 take us beyond the divisive rhetoric of Brexit? Thanks to Sabine and Marcus for the ground level view of the Donegal border in 2019.  They highlight the proposal to monitor Ireland’s  208 land border crossings using technology. The remind us that the border between the EU and countries to the east has only 137 border crossings.

The Irish border cuts across villages, farms, streets, and fields. Even if technological solutions are available can they avoid the disruption of social and economic life?  And what about wildlife? A photo of  the River Termon in Pettigo on the border reminds us that this river is the home of the very rare European species Austropotamobius pallipes (white-clawed crayfish), that exist in greater numbers only in Ireland.  The challenges to human beings and nature protection cannot be solved by technology.

“Borders are created, maintained and protected by technological means: walls of stone, weapons, shooting facilities, facial recognition facilities, digital chips etc. The Brexiteers promise that the nature of the technologies will make the difference here. But why should we think that the technology itself would avoid hardships of the violent enforcement of a border? This fixation on technology is naïve. A border consists of the political view on what this border is, the technology to enforce it and the view of the people living with such a border – their hopes and fears, their memories and ambitions.”

Their paper on “Border Technologies” with photos and reflections from Donegal and experience of living with the Berlin wall is available. Email


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