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Thirteen years after the Bamian Buddhas were blasted into rubble, opinion is split on whether to leave them as is, rebuild them, or make copies of them.
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This video and article work together to show a 'behind-the-scenes' glimpse of this heritage site, or the remnants of the old memorial which is an iconic part of the cultural landscape in their own right but for very different reasons. This is a great example of sequent occupance and some of the difficulties in preserving heritage. Some argue that by restoring the Buddha it will undo some of the damage done by the Taliban and create a tourist destination; others think that the damaged Buddha is a poignant reminder of problems with 'topocide' and religious intolerance.
Questions to Ponder: What do you think should become of this place? How come?
Tags: Afghanistan, political, culture, Central Asia, landscape, perspective.
Protecting significant landscapes
This video starts by talking about the issue at hand of who should recieve this specific historical site. The video and article overlap in talking about the division between which country should be entitiled to their ancestors Buddahs. This is an extremely important issue at hand the resolotion is crucial to the countries getting along again.
World defense spending is expected to go up for the first time in five years, thanks to China and Russia.
Brazil being in the top 15 of countries with the largest defense budget is not all that surprising considering the political, social, and economic situations of South America. Within Brazil’s sphere of influence, especially areas west of its developed cities, the Amazon jungle still is used by those deemed enemies of the state, whether actual or politically based. Because of that, there comes the difficult task of tracking and deterring rebel activity, arms or drug smuggling, etc. The borders that Brazil share with Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela; border security is likely to be a concern due to the history of drug manufacture and shipping from those nations, along with the violence and corruption that comes with that activity. Not to mention the historical and violent political instability these countries have faced, which are still a concern for the region and world. Venezuela, being an “enemy of the U.S.” and Brazil being an ally, this border area is probably highly militarized or monitored. With this in mind, a slight musing could be given towards how much of the military aid and counter narcotics aid from the United States goes into Brazil’s military funding.
Brazil is also the one of the most stable and economically strong countries on the continent and in order to continue that, the government must be able to keep instability coming over from the border in check as well as deal with rebel forces using the Amazon as a safe haven. What is surprising to me however is that with how far away the rest of the countries in South America are from Brazil in military expenditures causes me to pause and think about just what they may be worrying about from their neighbors? Perhaps as they attempt to get a seat at the big table in international affairs, they feel having a stronger military will improve their image. They may not be worried about regional infighting due to the difficult terrain of the area which would make any military campaign extremely difficult and costly, besides a host of other reasons. In conclusion, Brazil is more than likely looking towards international interests in addition to showcasing their swelling national pride by spending $175 U.S. dollars per person on military expenditures while many continue to go hungry living in the famous favelas of Cidade de Deus.
Con 25,2 miliardi di dollari L'Italia si piazza 14esima, prima dell'Iran
Oltre alla spesa complessiva, per i primi 10 paesi è riportato anche l'ammontare di spese militari pro capite.
Stati Uniti 2.000 $
Cina 83 $
Russia 475 $
Arabia Saudita 2.100 $
Regno Unito 900 $
Francia 797 $
Giappone, meno di 400 $
Germania 450 $
India 29 $
Brasile 175 $
E l'Italia? Basta dividere. Sono 413 $ a persona. Ogni anno, la mia famiglia dà ben 2.065 $ alla difesa.
Russia is the third highest goverment military that spends around 143 million people lived in Russia in 2012 and they spent around $475 per person on it's military. Russia compared to China and the US is another story the US is number one in who spent the most on their military forces at $600.4 billion. As far as China is concerened it comes in at number two at spending around $112.2 billion. These numbers make sense especially for the power house that China is and how their values of militarism affect their spending and their way of society/life.
"A comprehensive listing of world capital cities that have moved from one city to another."
What happens when a country moves it's capital city? Why would a country choose to move it's capital? This list (with some short historic and geographic context) helps answer those questions.
Over the years countries have moved their major capitols from one area of their country to another. They move their capitol cities to try to please the people and reform. By moving the capitol cities it causes more growth and development which can lead to the area being more populated.
Iran's annual al-Quds - or Jerusalem - Day, denouncing Israel, is as much an expression of policy as ritual, writes BBC Persian's Siavash Ardalan.
Jerusalem Day brings out the supporters of Palestinians. Although originally the day was supposed to be about Jerusalem, it has turned into a place to express frustration about politics. Politicians in Iran find this as an important day to speak and gain supporters.
This article describes Iran's "Jerusalem Day," a day in which people gather in the streets to voice their denial and hatred of the nation of Israel. The day has become a tradition and politicians make sound byte laden speeches to rally support.
The people of Iran gather to celebrate Jerusalem Day. Each year millions of people come together to express their hatred towards Israel and support towards Palestinians. They rally and some people including politicians give speeches. Speeches by President Ahmadinejad even included the denial of the holocaust.
"An earlier GeoCurrents post on Chechnya mentioned that the Chechens were deported from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in February 1944. However, the Chechen nation was not the only one to suffer such a fate under Stalin’s regime."
Stalin probably did not have the outlook of his country's geography in mind when he deported all of these people. It goes to show that ruthless dictatorships are never the way to go, as impulsive decisions and tyranny can have consequences for the long term.
This article details the ethnic deportation of peoples during the Soviet era. Many peoples were relocated under the guise of creating an ethnically unified Soviet Union but the truth was while some of the deportations were to simply move workers places of planned industry, many were to exile those deemed enemies of the state. The article estimates over 40% of those relocated died of diseases, malnutrition, or mistreatment. These forced migrations changed the demographics of Eastern Europe and Asia while causing major conflicts between various ethnic groups and Russia.
This article describes the practice of Lenin and Stalin of Russifacation. This policy led to many ethnic minorities with in the Soviet Union being deported from their home soil to the interior of Russia. The aim was to place ethnic Russian in boarder areas and to bring the ‘undesirable’ ethnicity into the interior to become Russian or sent to the gulags to die. The effects of this mass relocation of ethnicity is still being felt today. The rising conflict in Ukraine is a direct result from these policies as the country is split between ethnic Ukraine and the decedents of the ethnic Russians move there to secure the ports to the Black Sea.
Africa may have achieved independence, but the old colonial ties are still important as France’s decision to send troops to Mali to fight Islamist extremists shows.
In the literall sense these colonial powers are no more. All theses countries have theire own form of indepenece and many have o officall ties to their mother countries. But what theses mother countries did to many of their colonies was cut them down at the knees where ther would need to continually rely on the mother for help or face damnation. These mother countries make alot of the commercial decsions for their previous colonial states and with that they hold the power to affect the whole nation.
This infographic was very interesting. By using color coding it highlights the areas of influence the colonel powers still maintain over their old possessions. This map is helpful in understanding how this affects the politics of theses regions today.
Colonial ties are still very prevalent due to Europe's dependence upon the resources of Africa. European countries like England and France invest billions in Africa, not to help those African nations, but to build infrastructure for resource extraction or to keep governments stable. Though the true exploitation of Africa has ended, the current situation certainly has the ring of exploitation as the people of Europe enjoy the diamonds and chocolate harvested by the multitudes of impoverished people of Africa.
"The WomanStats Project is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world. The Project facilitates understanding the linkage between the situation of women and the security of nation-states. We comb the extant literature and conduct expert interviews to find qualitative and quantitative information on over 310 indicators of women's status in 174 countries. Our Database expands daily, and access to it is free of charge. Click here if you are a new to the project."
Amazing and thought-provoking.
Topic link: Population and Change: Gender
South Sudan secceded from Sudan in 2011. North Sudan is Muslim, while South Sudan is Christian. This difference alone causes one t think of what impacts and consequences this new border will cause.
South Sudan recently gained its independence from Sudan. South Sudan is now home to 10-12 million people and is the 193rd member of the United Nations. However, just because South Sudan became independent from Sudan does not mean it does not no longer carry some of the remaining issues.
This infographic gives an idea of why South Sudan seceded from the rest of the country. Decades of civil war preceded the secession, and it is clear the cultural differences between the two areas were a contributing factor. South Sudan is a part of the fertile Sahel, with the majority of its people Christian, while Sudan is mostly desert, with the majority of its people Muslims. South Sudan, as a new nation, faces a number of difficulties. Its new government needed to remain stable to focus on nation building, but war has broken out between the government and a rebel faction. South Sudan, should it become stable again, should work to improve the education of its people, as the infographic explains, since the vote to secede needed symbols rather than words due to only 15% of its people being literate.
A website that examines the geographical enclaves of the world
Enclaves of the world HUGGERS....review!
Competing territorial claims have led to maritime disputes off the coast of Asia. See a map of the islands at issue.
This is an nice interactive map that allows the reader to explore current geopolitical conflicts that are about controlling islands. This is an good source to use when introducing Exclusive Economic Zones, which is often the key strategic importance of small, lightly populated islands.
Tags: EastAsia, SouthEastAsia, political, unit 4 political, territoriality, autonomy, conflict, economic.
This map shows a number of disputed islands off the coast of East Asia. These ownership of these islands would allow countries to extend their territory further into the ocean and grant them rights to any resources which may be under the ocean waters nearby. This political issue is one which driven by economics. Though the claims on these islands are not currently worth fighting over, if significant resources are found they could be, and a more powerful nation like China could flex military muscle to solidify their claim and other claimants would have to back down.
This interactive map discusses the current disputes between the islands and why the land is being disputed.
The world is becoming more and more interconnected. Globalization changes how people consume, work and live almost everywhere on the world. Today, many economic, political, cultural or ecological relationships are not explainable from a national perspective. At the same time, a controversial debate about the consequences of globalization has begun.
Questions to ponder: What are the driving forces behind globalization? What areas are most impacted by globalization? How does globalization benefit some, and adversely impact others? Why?
Tags: Globalization, economic, industry, NGOs, political, scale, unit 6 industry.
Discover the number of countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Find out which countries are not participating in the Olympic Games and learn which non-countries are participating as well.
204 countries are participating in the Olympics? There aren't even 204 countries in the world! This article looks at the political geography of international recognition. One interesting case not discussed in the article is that of Taiwan. Taiwan is participating, but marched under a non-Taiwanese flag under the name Chinese Taipei because the IOC wanted the mainland Chinese to return to the games. Also, South Sudan, Kosovo and the Vatican are not participating (although pondering them competing, especially the Vatican, is something that deeply amuses me). Another intriguing thought: how many of the participants were former British colonies? For classroom resources based on the Olympics, see: http://www.scoop.it/t/history-and-social-studies-education/p/2254468864/london-the-olympics-and-geography
Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.
What is amusing here is that the U.S. and its European allies will be quick to support nations that benefit them when those peoples wish to rise up "on their own," but when a nation that wants Russian support during their own "choice" it is "illegal" and against international law. What makes a country follow international law anyways? There are not many powers that could militarily force another nation to other than the U.S., the EU, Russia and China. Economically it is generally the same people who have the military might.
The Trans-Dniester region functions as a working state, but is not internationally recognized as such. Members of this region are hoping Russia will annex them for political and economic stability.
We chart the routes of, and reasons for, the barriers which are once again dividing populations
This is exactly why I am interested in collaborative online international learning as well as adaptive learning.
What are the opportunities to integrate bridge building learning activities in an cirriculum, via online learning? Any subject any time. Even better, how to empower students to create self-directed study accross 'walls'? Gaming?
What types of stories will 'retell' this scenario? Reframe perspectives? What mediums can they be told through to reach the appropriate audiences?
Unfortunately, for our security, we must live in a Walled World
It appears India is constructing a 2,500-mile long fence around its neighboring country Bangladesh. The barbed wire fence may have been built due to that fact India has one of the largest populations in the world and they do not want the struggling people of Bangladesh to enter their country. Also, areas around the fence are becoming dangerous, with more than 1,000 people killed by border patrol and criminals. There are not many jobs in Bangladesh and the people are having trouble finding clean drinkable water. Lastly, the people may be fleeing into India hoping to find work and an improved lifestyle.
UNHCR has been attempting to count the world's refugees since it was created. If you want to find out which years resulted in the worst displacement, which were the biggest countries of origin and which were the biggest countries of asylum, use the interactive map.
This interactive on refugees is especially timely, given that the Syrian civil war has created refugee situations in many of the neighboring countries. One of my favorite elements of the Guardian's interactive is that they provide the raw data, so students can create their own maps with the same high quality data. Equally important, this interactive shows the regional power bases of all the various factions of the Syrian rebellion that is seeking to overthrow the Assad regime. The political conflict has huge demographic implications.
Tags: refugees, Syria, migration, conflict, political, MiddleEast, war.
The Caucasus region, dominated by the imposing Great Caucasus mountain range and stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, has long been known as one of the world’s ethnically and linguistically most diverse areas.
Using this article helps to teach ourselves, students, and others about particular places in the world that are unknown or very little known. We can use articles such as this one to be less prejudiced and more apt to think about these places of the world in a different context rather than just a negative, terrorism-related one.
Most Americans had never heard Chechnya before the Boston bombing in April 2013. Now, most think that it is full of America-hating terriosts. However, Chechnya is so very complex and diverse a place, that it is ludacris to think that. Over 100 languages are spoken in the country. The southern half speaks languages such as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. Turkish, Iranian and Chechens are the languages you will probably hear in the North. Another misconception is that there are many Christians in Chechnya as well as Muslims. This country is made up of so many different groups, it is incredible.
It is amazing to consider such a small area (the size of New England) could hold such a vast area of languages. The mountainous region certainly helps in creating such diversity as it isolated villages from each other in the ages before modern communication and travel.
"Iran poses steep challenges to its Middle East neighbors and the world. Explore the country's complex regime structure and controversial nuclear program, and watch experts debate the range of policy options."
Iran is in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions. One the bordered with Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Iran is stratgeically positioned to have considerable control over the world’s most important waterway for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz.
Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should more about than the three main facts that that most Americans are already aware of (1-Iran has an Islamic-based government, 2-an emerging nuclear program and 3-a ton of oil). This interactive feature is a good starting point with great videos, timelines, maps, articles that assess the current situation in Iran.
Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.
This is an amzing resource to use and find out much about this country, both its past and present. With this you can understand their feeling of hatred toward the US with its support of the Shah. This is a relationship that the US needs to repair, but both sides need to work on this. This are is so important to the US and the world given Iran's geographic location right on the Persian Gulf, whcih they can cut off and controll the oil flowing from that area, plus the oil they control, plus bordering several crucial US and NATO allies. It only seems in everyone's best interest to sit down and talk. Given the support Iran gives to many terrorists organization and it's longstanding position that Israel does not have the right the right to exist, this idea of sitting down and talking may be a fantasy. However, with the new elections and the new President of Iran speaking at the UN there may be renewed hope of at least a start.
"Students are introduced to the physical and human features of Afghanistan."
This tremendous set of resources is the result of a partnership between The Choices Program (housed at Brown University) and National Geographic Education. This link takes you to a portal with lesson plans, videos, maps, student worksheets, etc. These are some of the materials that form the core of the Choices Program Summer Institute that focuses on the United States' involvement in Afghanistan.
Tags: Afghanistan, political, culture, Central Asia, National Geographic.
"Mr Füzes had voiced support for the Székler people, a group of ethnic Hungarians who live in Transylvania, after two Romanian counties banned the display of the Székler flag (pictured above with men in hussar uniform) on public buildings. Zsolt Nemeth, Hungary’s state secretary for foreign affairs, described the ban as an act of “symbolic aggression” and called for local councils in Hungary to show solidarity by flying the Székler flag from town halls. The Hungarian government then raised the Székler flag above Parliament, further enraging Bucharest..."
The story of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan is a heartbreaking and inspiring tale of youth caught in cultural and geopolitical conflicts and fored to leave their homes. The film God Grew Tired of Us " tells a moving story of young people overcoming incredible challenges and struggling to improve their own lives and those of family and friends left behind." Linked here is a lsson plan from National Geographic "to teach students about concepts of migration, cultural mosaics, sense of place, and forces of cooperation and conflict among communities" using this 90 minute documentary. The film can be viewed online on HULU as well as other media outlets.
Tags: culture, Africa, political, conflict, war, migration, development, APHG.
With the country also known as Burma taking steps toward democracy and respect for human rights, Coke is returning after a 60-year absence. What are the two nations where it still won't be doing business?
Globalization has made many companies and products ubiquitious throughout the world. We take their presence as a matter of course, a sign that the largest brands are in essentially every country in the world--but not all. Until recently Coca Cola was not in three markets, all for political reasons. Now that Burma is becoming more democratic, Coca-Cola will bring their product to all countries of South East Asia. Any guesses on the 2 countries that still don't have Coke?
UPDATED CORRECTION: Thanks to the great people at About.com 's geography page, I was informed that there are more than just the initially listed two countries (North Korea and Cuba) not within the Coke universe (such as Somalia and East Timor to name a few). For more on this see: http://geography.about.com/b/2012/06/15/coca-cola-in-every-country-but-three-no.htm
The the United States, 9/11 is memorialized in our landscapes and is etched in our collective consciousness. This coming Tuesday is the anniversary and Teaching History has put together a host of teaching materials about the importance and impact of the terrorist attacks of Septemper 11th, 2001 on the U.S. and the world.
Tags: Landscape, terrorism, conflict, states, political, place, historical, unit 4 political.
London and the City of London are the same political and territorial entity right? Of course not. Why have something simple when we can have a rich archaic legacy with a fascinating (albeit convoluted) history. Here’s a great political geography lesson just in time for the Olympic Ceremonies.