One year ago, the entire civilized world breathed a sign of relief when Donald Trump, the Wall Man, was removed from office. Donald Trump was a racist monster, unsympathetic to the plight of refugees and migrants trying to desperately make it into the US and to find safe haven there. Donald Trump’s bigot opposition to immigration was a clear sign of his inadequacy and inhumanity: a hideous man like this could not be the president of the most powerful country in the world.

Donald Trump, who had built his entire political capital with the promise of building a wall between the US and Mexico, had failed to understand that in the twenty first century immigration and diversity are an incredible resource. A man insisting on wanting to secure the borders and building walls surely needed to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Unlike Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, had not chosen isolationism and nativism over openness to the outside world and tolerance when she took the decision to embrace a million refugees from the Middle East and Africa in 2015. Was this because she was a woman and thus in a world sadly still dominated by old white men, able to make better and more compassionate decisions? Maybe. While Merkel was giving asylum to the sufferers and victims of war and tyranny, Hungary, guided by another old white man, Viktor Orban, was building a wall to stop migrants from transiting through his country.

Unfortunately, German society, where there are still many old white men, and the European public at large proved to be not ready to accept the bold vision of multiculturalism and the culture of tolerance that Frau Merkel offered them. Europe decided to seal off and the Balkan route to refugees. Was Europe, in spite of all talk of solidarity and openness, becoming terrifyingly similar to Donald Trump? It could not possibly be.

Only one year has passed since Donald Trump, this most dangerous of populists, whose entire rhetoric was based on hate speech, was finally removed from an office he abused, and he proved to be unworthy of. Suddenly Europe found itself under attack by thousand of refugees coming from a new direction, from Belarus, twenty thousand migrants lured in by a dictator to destabilize Europe and the West.

All Europe and NATO now stands in solidarity with Poland, who is defending the borders of the democratic alliance against the dark forces of tyranny. Charles Michel, the current President of the European Council, said the EU could finance a border wall last week. “Based on an opinion of the Legal Service of the Council, it’s legally possible,” Michel said, while speaking in Warsaw at a press conference alongside Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who previously called the recent influx of migrants from Belarus “state sponsored terrorism”.

Are not all walls not the mark of the beast after all? Why were Donald Trump and Orban’s walls so very different from the EU wall? How are 20 thousand desperate people a threat to the West, while the hundreds of thousands that came before were enrichment? Is the European Union a hypocritical institution, rather than the moral conscience of the world? Is the talk of European values in the end just empty and self-complacent blabber?