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Mar 22, 2013

Artificial Border: Minister explains it’s no big deal

Wilfred Elrington

Foreign Affairs Minister Wilfred Elrington is a man who has always spoken freely about his views on national affairs. He has gained much criticism for well used words at a 2009 Organization of American States Meeting in Washington. The meeting was with his then Guatemalan counterpart, Haroldo Rodas Melgar.  Specifically Elrington said, “We have to interact to emphasize the view that we are not different from each other; the fact of this artificial border does not make us different. We are still the same people, with the same aspirations and desires…” The words never died and the message had turned many neutral observers to Elrington critics. Three years later, Elrington has found it necessary to once again explain that his words were not a cause for alarm. At today’s budget debate in the Capital, Elrington read from two history books to illustrate his point in calling the division between countries, artificial borders.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“This one is a book by a man named Norm Chumsky who is the institute professor emeritus in the department of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of numerous books and on page twenty-eight of this book, it says like borders generally, the Mexican border is artificial, the result of conquest. I could give you the book, I could make you a gift of it; I can give it to him, but this is an excellent book and it’s an excellent author. The Mexicans have no difficulty with that; they know it is true. Artificial simply means made by man. Borders as I said are not made by god that’s why you don’t have them in heaven. So you are not supposed to lead your people on to believe that it is wrong to say artificial border. I see some poor people when I’m passing by shouting at me artificial border. And I feel so sorry for them because they are led to believe their leaders are telling them the right thing. I can’t do that; there is just something in me that prevents me from being dishonest to my people; especially people who trust me. I can’t do that. This is an even better book and I think that people on the other side and our side too should read it. it is an excellent book, very relevant to us, it is exceedingly relevant to Belize and I urge all of you to read it. Mister Speaker it is another two lines and if you permit me. It’s a book name, the Revenge of Geography. This book is significant because it shows that in the American/Mexican War, the Americans captured land that belonged to Mexico and now most of those lands are inhabited predominantly by Mexicans. This book is replete with references to artificial borders and artificial states and the like, but I will only refer to one. It says here many suggested—that’s page four—many suggested that even Africa, the poorest and least stable continent, further burdened with the world’s most artificial and illogical borders might also be on the brink of a democratic revolution. This book is replete with the expression; there is nothing wrong with it. And it is not fair for leaders of the nation to suggest the poor people of Belize that there is something wrong with the expression, or there is something derogatory or that there is something unpatriotic about using it.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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12 Responses for “Artificial Border: Minister explains it’s no big deal”

  1. teacher says:

    Noam Chomsky, the intellectual that Wilfred Elrington quotes, is concerned about the construction of borders by imperial forces: colonization and American expansion. Did Great Britian create an imperial border in constructing Belize- Yes. But the fact is that this border has led to the development of a people, culture, social structures, economic reality, and government radically different from the people of Guatemala. If anything-the examples he quotes should alarm the people of Belize as they continue to develop their unique national status and identity. The border between Belize and Guatemala stands to mark the coexistence of two very different nations, cultures, social worlds and national desires.
    I’d caution against the use of Noam Chomsky, who identifies as a political anarchist, to construct a political platform for any conversations about preserving and developing the unique character of the nation of Belize.

  2. Rod says:

    What an incompetent boob and a traitor.

  3. Ricky Malthus says:

    @Teacher: I abhor anything and everything Elrington espouses but we have to accept that all the borders in this new world(the Americas) , Africa, and Asia (India,Pakistan China, etc.) were artificially created to serve the economic and financial interests of the European powers despite the protestations of the indigenous peoples. We still have upheavals in the world today because of these imperial, colonial, hegemonic desires like the creation of Israel on Arab land, creation of two Sudans, the illegal seizures and occupation of North America, Australia, etc.. These invaders came to obliterate the native peoples and steal their resources so they can survive rather that trade and remain in their homelands. Look at how these artificial borders enslaved the black Africa population, depopulated theAmericas and Australia, and creating nuclear catastrophe in the Middle East. Yes Chomsky spoke the truth; Sedi mouthed a fact for his own agenda, but we must look at the day when all these wrongs will be righted and people will return to their respective ancestral land and those who remain outside their natural habitat will do so on their own volition which we respect.

  4. Storm says:

    @teacher is exactly right — if Sedi followed Chomsky’s philosophy, he would also advocate eliminating all government and private property. It takes a fool to quote a fool.

  5. teacher says:

    I agree with your point regarding the effects of colonialism and imperialism on the indigenous peoples. However, if the argument at hand is to validate the claim of Belize as an independent nation versus a territory of Guatemala then Chomsky’s writings concerning artificial borders may not be the best text/argument for that project. Nature gives boundaries ( rivers/oceans/mountains/deserts) and mankind creates borders.

  6. lucas says:

    I do not know whether to cry or laugh or curse this man. He says and I quote: BORDERS ARE NOT MADE BY GOD; THAT IS WHY YOU DO NOT HAVE THEM IN HEAVEN. I only know three earthly men who have gone to heaven and are Methusalem, Moses and Elijah, however, I have no idea Sedi knows there are no borders in heaven, unless, he has been to heaven too. In that case Belize has his first Saint.
    Since he is a failure as FOREIGN MINISTER, now he wants to be a THEOLOGIAN but, he is a failure in this discipline also because God has set boundries for the nations, for man and for nature. Let me explain: In Exodos 23:31, the Lord sets the boundries for ancient Israel. AND I WILL SET THE BOUNDRIES FROM THE RED SEA TO THE SEA OF THE PHILISTINE(Mediterrean) AND FROM THE DESERT TO THE RIVER(Eufrathes). Moses before his death and under inspiration said on Deuteronomy 32:8 WHEN THE MOST HIGH DIVIDED TO THE NATIONS THEIR INHERITANCE, WHEN HE SEPARATED THE SONS OF ADAM HE SET THE BOUNDRIES OF THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. In Job 14:5 he said: SEEING HIS DAYS ARE DETERMINED, THE NUMBER OF HIS MONTHS ARE WITH THEE. THOU HAS APPOINTED HIS BOUNDRY THAT HE CANNOT PASS and in Job 38:11 he said: AND SAID, HITHERTO SHALL THOU COME BUT NO FUTHER: AND HERE SHALL THY PROUD WAVES BE STAYED. We Belizeans must not sit down and party because this same God who gave us our inheritance, form the Hondo to the Rio Gorda(Sarstoon) and from the Corral Reefs to Garbutts, can take it away. BUT IF THEY WILL NOT OBEY, I WILL UTTERLY PLUCK UP AND DESTROY THAT NATION, SAITH THE LORD.

  7. lucas says:


  8. Joe says:

    Elrington, I try hard to understand you man!!! Man made the borders for a reason. Stop quoting people, our situation is different.
    The only artificial boarder I see is my foot up your @$$

  9. Julio says:

    It’s funny how a vast majority of Belizeans consider themselves Christians but display nothing but contempt for their fellow men across the border. Nationalism teaches us to hate people we don’t know. Sedi is right, all of us have the same aspirations and desires as human beings. Let’s stop the hate.

  10. Bear says:

    Julio, nothing in the Bible says we must live in a borderless world. Nothing says we must understand or appease an aggressive neighbor with conquest in its heart. Israel fought countless wars against the Philistines and others, winning when it placed its trust in God, losing when it did not.

    If we take the “no borders” argument to its logical end, I guess we would all have to pledge allegiance to the government of Kenya, because that is supposed to be where the first “humans” developed, so all the borders since then, being artificial, have to be traced back to the original.

    Borders are a fact of human life, and so are nation-states. Jesus Christ himself said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,” meaning obedience to your worldly government. No matter we got our modern borders, they are legitimate by international law, and they define the bounds of my nation, and I am prepared to defend them by all means necessary.

    By the way, I don’t hate the Guatemalans, but I will defend against their efforts to conquer us. Do you think they hate us, or simply want to take our land?

  11. sickntired says:

    We would stop hating if we no longer had all these stupid crooks in power. This one no have no original thoughts – him always di quote somebody else. With fools like this in charge we have much to worry about.

  12. AMatterOf Semantics says:

    Most of the replies above are dealing with semantics in order to make themselves seem more intelligent than others. I understand that Elrington uses the word ‘artificial’ to mean not natural or made by nature. That is plain and simple.

    Lucas, you are right about Sedi not having gone to heaven. However, the examples that you have quoted from the bible does not disprove that there are no boundaries in heaven. What they did prove is that God created boundaries on earth, some natural and others artificial (research more on how the land was divided among the Israelites. Not all the borders were natural.)

    Now I, like all here, agree that there is a border that defines Belize and Guatemala, and that border should be respected. Not a square inch of Belize should be given to Guatemala and not a Belizean should ever enter into any type of agreement that will lead to that happening. What I don’t agree with is the hate that we treat each other with. The obvious lack of respect for each other. If we don’t respect each other then how do we expect anyone else to respect us. Which of us have never made a mistake… let him throw the first stone.

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