In February of this year, the Israeli border technology company Elbit Systems Ltd. won a $145 million contract with the Department of Homeland Security to help the US secure its borders. According to Bloomberg.com, information on the Federal Business Opportunities website detailed the Homeland Security contract as calling for a company to "deliver surveillance equipment such as radars and cameras, mounted on fixed towers to help agents detect and track 'items of interest' along the border." The contract could last up to nine years, and could eventually earn the company up to $1 billion.
WhoProfits.Org is a research center that exposes commercial involvement and international companies in the Israeli control over Palestinian and Syrian land -- in other words, they monitor the The Israeli Occupation Industry. WhoProfits.org also has a detailed report of Elbit's business in Israel: "One of two main providers of the electronic detection fence to the seamline and Wall project in the occupied West Bank," the site reads. "Specifically, received the contract to the Jerusalem Envelope section of the Wall (Masu'a system) with the US Detekion."
In short, this is just one example of how the same corporations who make money off of surveilling the U.S.--Mexico border also profit off of surveilling the Israel--Palestine border. The same corporations investing in building walls in Israel have also invested in building the "wall" along the Mexico--U.S. border. The same people are profiting.
There is a sort of urgency that is fueling this week's issue of The Media. But then again, also, not. What could we have to say about the humanitarian crisis happening at the Mexico--U.S. border that hasn't been said already? What could we possibly have to say about the murderous tragedy that is Israel's ongoing attacks on Palestinian civilians? We're a weekly mostly-arts-centric publication and we are not reporting news. But there are first-person narratives and complicated histories to be shared; personal stories to color our impressions of "big news" that the mainstream media reports.
Today in McAllen, TX, protesters from California are arriving on a bus. They are part of the Murieta Convoy Counter Rally, a literal busload of people who share anti-immigrant sentiments. The bus is on a tour across border cities. They are reportedly using megaphones shouting, "Speak English or go back to Mexico." (The majority of migrants recently arriving into McAllen are from Central America, not Mexico.) It is timely indeed then that today we are also publishing "Border Ballad," a personal essay by Patrick A. Garcia, an all-ages show-booker, life-long South Texas resident, who also volunteers at a relief center for newly-processed immigrants.
It makes sense that we are also publishing this side by side with Tali's personal essay on growing up in a modern Orthodox Jewish family, observing the ways traditional Jewish upbringing has shaped a generation of young people's mainstream views on the Israeli attacks on Palestine, as well as her own trajectory of unlearning and re-learning.
Watching so much tragedy unfold around the world over land ownership, state lines, and the deadly realities of capitalism, it's tempting to want to shout, "Borders are not real!" But borders are real. Borders are industries. And those industries are fueling war and murder.