Border Justice Ukraine to Huachuca

Border Justice from Ukraine to Huachuca

A close up view of a blue shipping container stacked on top of a yellow one, mimicking the colors of the Ukrainian flag. On the yellow container is a hand-lettered sign that says "Ukrainians for border justice!"

Mikal Jakubal
January 2, 2023

One cold December day at Camp Ocelot, the container wall protest camp, I watched as someone walked down the border road away from camp and taped a “Ukrainians for border justice” placard on one of the containers. That seemed odd, since all the other signs were together on the side of a container right in front of camp.


Later when the person who made the poster discussed it on a text thread, I felt a little dorky that I hadn’t made the rather obvious connection to the blue-over-yellow Ukrainian flag colors. I regretted not photographing it when I had the chance. On New Year’s Eve, 2022, I returned to the container wall to scoop up as many photographs as possible before the dismantling began. That poster was the only one still attached.


The activist, 
жаїворонок (pronounced like “jhayvoronok”), sent me this statement about the poster and his experience with the container wall protests. I’ve reproduced it here verbatim.

жаїворонок: 

“My time at the Ocelot action camp gave me a lot to reflect on, in terms of international solidarity and intersectionality.

 

In the brief moments of phone reception from the mountains at the camp, I received updates from close friends in Ukraine about intense attacks to their cities by Ruzzian fascists.

 

Meanwhile, I know refugees from Ukraine who crossed at the Yuma border where the other side of this shipping container wall was built.

 

Colonial borders are weaponized in different ways around the world. Here, a militarized border wall divides wildlife habitats and indigenous communities that have been here for millennia.

 

In Ukraine (and Georgia and Moldova and so on), Russian colonialism endlessly tries to expand its borders into neighboring countries, at the cost of so much blood. Right now, defending Ukraine’s borders means defending against military invasion and fascist occupation. 

 

What does it look like to dismantle colonial borders in all these different contexts across the world? 

 

As Ukrainians during this genocide, we tend to notice blue and yellow everywhere. While walking along the containers of this wall, I noticed how these two containers looked like our people’s resistance flag. This seemed like a good place to hang a sign about 

Ukrainian solidarity with border struggles. 


Arizona’s governor spent $100 million on building this wall, while groups providing humanitarian aid at the Arizona border are policed and fined. Meanwhile, AZ Republican politicians say the funds for humanitarian aid to Ukraine should be spent on building this border wall instead. 


But from the Huachuca Mountains to the frontlines in Bakhmut, the people are rising up against tyranny, and winning. And unlike this wall, we will not be taken down.”

жаїворонок is involved in the queers against kremlin collective with his friends living in Ukraine.

A row of double-stacked shipping containers winds across an open landscape, paralleled by a dirt road. The first two shipping containers in the image are a blue one on top of a yellow one, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. On the yellow container is a hand-lettered poster that reads "Ukrainians for border justice!" The blue and yellow containers are in color and the rest of the image has been digitally desaturated to emphasize the flag-like color scheme.
Container wall near the site of Camp Ocelot, December 31, 2022. The wall is now gone. The struggle for justice is ongoing.
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