When I was in fifth grade our science teacher demonstrated a simple law of physics. He presented a glass tank of water that was divided by a barrier, half full on one side and full on the other side. When he removed the barrier, the water level found equilibrium a quarter higher on the half full side and a quarter lower on the full side.
Humans instinctively know the same laws of equilibrium apply in the distribution of wealth. That is why fences have been built.
I have written and produced a documentary about the homeless in Ohio. I live 20 miles from the Mexican border and routinely pass through a checkpoint 10 miles north of my house. Though these experiences are not as extreme as the cases Mr. Kalina documents, I feel I am sensitive to the desperation and aspirations of the people living on the wrong side of a fence, economic or physical.
That said, I found “Worlds Apart” to be so dispiriting and hopeless it was difficult to watch. I take issue with the film’s basic premise that removing physical fences is an answer to anything. This documentary is a snapshot in time that is lacking context or vision.
Another law of nature is that growth requires a fertile environment. Sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh are inhospitable places that have been made miserable by the preventable curses of overpopulation and tribalism.
Zimbabwe however has been made a hell on earth by the very people now suffering. Rhodesia was once called “the breadbasket of Africa” but through the ruthless destruction of property by the government of Mugabe, Zimbabwe is now an outcast nation unable to attract capital investment that could improve the lives of its people. It is now the basket case of Africa.
These are man-made plagues and like those afflicted with an infectious disease; the victims need to be quarantined until they take a turn for the better.
Sadly, the documentary makes no reference to the history leading up to these disasters nor does it demonstrate cause and effect. Worse, it offers no solutions. The solution is for sick nations to get well.
China has done it even with a massive overpopulation problem. They did it through education, by instituting strict birth control laws and by inviting capital investment from the rest of the world with the promise of enforceable property rights. China has now put up a massive fence to keep out North Koreans who have made a ruin of their country.
It is frustrating that a documentary which has some fine writing, interesting video and capable editing has focused so narrowly on a symptom of a problem, has drawn the wrong conclusion that the symptom IS the problem and offers the viewer no vision for the future.