A New Border Wall Draws from an Old American Playbook

At the Poland-Belarus Borderland, a California-Based Immigration Attorney Finds an Eerily Familiar Scene

At long last, we reached the wall. Its glinting metal and sharp wire stood in stark contrast to the greens and golds of the Polish forest in autumn. And its towering presence transported me to another wall: the tall steel pillars that stretch into the Pacific Ocean dividing San Ysidro and Tijuana. As a long-time immigrants’ rights lawyer in the United States, I traveled 6,000 miles to Poland’s contested border with Belarus only to be struck by how familiar it all felt: the walls, the violence, the humanitarian resistance.

Walls and …

More In: Essays

In Praise of the Postcard

A Seemingly Obsolete Technology Invites Us to Ruminate on the Possibilities of the Past and the Future

The postcard selection on Vis, Croatia’s most remote island, was not terribly appealing. I considered a card adorned with a photograph of boats in the old harbor. Surely, I thought, …

The Stories Doctors Tell | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Stories Doctors Tell

Physicians and Patients Stitch Together Narratives to Diagnose and Heal

The belly pain is so bad that Mrs. Alves*, a woman in her 40s, is worming uncomfortably on the ER stretcher. “I need an answer,” she says. I promise her …

An altar with framed photos of martyrs and heroes who opposed martial law under Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.’s and similar policies under Rodrigo Duterte. A black sign with golden yellow words "Remember Reflect RISE UP" leans against the table.

Using Memory to Fight Fascism in the Philippines

Fifty Years After Martial Law, Activists Are Combating Historical Revisionism to Hold Leaders Accountable

The numbers—70,000 detained, 35,000 tortured, 3,200 killed—represent the victims of President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.’s era of martial law, from 1972 to 1986. They serve as a reminder of one …

Can Kevin McCarthy Outlast an Ancient Roman Emperor?

Didius Julianus’ 66-Day Reign Shows What Happens When a Compromised Ruler Runs Out of Things to Give His Allies

On January 7, cameras recorded a beaming Kevin McCarthy as he ascended the rostrum of the House of Representatives and raised the speaker’s gavel. If one knew nothing about the …

What We Lose When We ‘Cancel’ Russian | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What We Lose When We ‘Cancel’ Russian

After the Ukraine Invasion, Enrollment in the Language Hit Historic Lows. But Turning Away Isolates the Entire Post-Soviet World

Feeling decisive one morning during my sophomore year of college, I picked my major: Russian. I had been studying the language and was excited for the opportunity to read literature, …