Thursday, 13 August 2020

the forty-ninth parallel

Via Miss Cellania’s Links, we are transported to the geographical exclave of Port Roberts, Washington on the southern tip of the Tsawwassen peninsula to see how its residents, isolated from the USA by a forty kilometre drive through Canada, are faring during the pandemic and the border closures and restrictions on movements put in place.
Though some accounts attribute the creation of the American enclave to an oversight in the Oregon Treaty of 1846 between the US and Britain that delineated the border, others frame it as a deliberative strategic decision with questions of ceding the territory never resolved. Gratefully, the remoteness has kept the community relatively free of infection and contagion despite the rank ineptitude of American in general.  Rather than conferring an advantage militarily (so far), the outpost played an outsized role during each nation’s respective periods of prohibition. We wonder how other liminal places—Gibraltar, Bรผsingen am Hochrhein, Germany only accessible through Switzerland, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Ceuta and others—might be affected by this health crisis and how borders might be redrawn afterward.