Berlin Wall relic gets a ‘second life’ on US-Mexico border as Biden adds barriers

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. relic / ˈrɛl ɪk / (n.) – an object from the past that’s no longer used but is preserved or kept because of its historical value

    The museum displays relics of the Titanic.

  2. shard / ʃɑrd / (n.) – a piece of broken object, such as glass, metal, etc., that’s usually sharp

    Archaeologists found a shard of pottery that dates back to ancient times.

  3. crumble / ˈkrʌm bəl / (v.) – to break into smaller pieces

    The statue crumbled after the earthquake.

  4. enforce / ɛnˈfɔrs / (v.) – to make people follow a law or make sure that they do what is required

    Authorities enforced new traffic rules to improve road safety.

  5. evict / ɪˈvɪkt / (v.) – to use force to make someone leave a place, such as a house or land

    They were evicted from the apartment because they hadn’t paid their rent for months.


Read the text below.

As the U.S. government built its latest stretch of border wall, Mexico made a statement of its own by laying remains of the Berlin Wall a few steps away.

The 3-ton pockmarked, gray concrete slab sits between a bullring, a lighthouse and the border wall, which extends into the Pacific Ocean.

“May this be a lesson to build a society that knocks down walls and builds bridges,” reads the inscription below the towering Cold War relic, attributed to Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero and titled, “A World Without Walls.”

Shards of the Berlin Wall scattered worldwide after it crumbled in 1989, with collectors putting them in hotels, schools, transit stations and parks. Marcos Cline, who makes commercials and other digital productions in Los Angeles, needed a home for his artifact and found an ally in Tijuana’s mayor.

“Why in Tijuana?” Caballero said. “How many families have shed blood, labor and their lives to get past the wall? The social and political conflict is different than the Berlin Wall, but it’s a wall at the end of the day. And a wall is always a sphinx that divides and bloodies nations.”

“San Diego and Tijuana are sister cities,” said Lydia Vanasse, who works in the financial sector in San Diego and lives in Tijuana. “The wall separates us, but we are united in many ways. It would be better if there wasn’t a wall.”

Tijuana’s mayor said she understands the need for the U.S. to enforce borders and she has warm relations with U.S. officials, including Ken Salazar, the ambassador to Mexico. She said Salazar asked her to evict migrants who camped with hopes of getting asylum in the U.S. and blocked access to a U.S. border crossing in 2022. She heeded his recommendation.

Any failures at the border are a collective responsibility of governing nations, the mayor said. “We are against violence, we are against family separation, we are against division, and that’s what the wall represents,” she said.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • According to Mayor Caballero, the shard of the Berlin Wall that Mexico placed near the U.S.’s latest stretch of border wall represents that they are against violence, family separation, and division. Do you think the wall effectively conveys this message? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Lydia Vanasse said that San Diego and Tijuana are sister cities, and even though there is a wall between them, they are united in many ways. In what way do you think two different cities can be united (ex. through economic cooperation, through joint events and festivals)? Given the chance, what city would you like your city to partner with? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Some collectors scattered shards of the Berlin Wall in various locations worldwide. What do you think about the idea of preserving and displaying relics of such historical objects (ex. it’s necessary to understand historical events, it will only remind people of negative events)? Discuss.
  • If you were to collect something from the past, what would it be (ex. ancient coins, ancient accessories)? Why? Discuss.