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Rescooped by Elizabeth Allen from Geography Education
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Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay

Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Learn more about the ethnic, religious and political powerplays in and around Iraq during a virtual tour of the region led by NBC’s Richard Engel.

 

This is an incredibly well-put together, video/slideshow about the complex geography of within Iraq that has lead to so many difficulties in the post-Saddam Hussein era.   The ethnic patterns, religious divisions, spatial arrangements of resources as well as the larger regional context all play roles in creating the a contentious political environment. 

 

I have always felt that Iraq is very complex. And it is. However the videos shed some light on clarifying what most of the turmoil is about.  A valid question is why not divide Iraq into three seperate countries? One for the Kurdish, one for the Sunnis, and one for the Shiite? The video explains that it is not that easy.  Iraq has been unstable since it formed after WWI.The Sunnis feel that the Shiite stole their power and they want to reclaim it.  The three ethnicities are quarrelling for control and it has to do with more than religion.  Resources play an important role in the dispute.  The country cannot divide into three regions, because the Sunni (about 20% of Iraq's population) are in a region where they are not close to water and they have no oil.  The Sunni and Kurdish are close to natural resources- water and oil.  If the country divides, the Sunni will not last. 

Elizabeth Allen


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Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 8:33 PM

I enjoyed this video. I never really understood why these groups were fighting. It was an easy video to understand and I learned that the fighting is not just about religious but cultural differences as well. 

Stacey Jackson's curator insight, March 22, 2013 11:03 PM

Although I try to keep up with world events, Iraq has puzzled me. This was spectacularly helpful, although I still don't feel like I have the full picture. For instance, I understand that three ethnic groups were forced in to a new country, Iraq, after World War I and that the country has been in turmoil ever since. However, these ethnic groups were all a part of the Ottoman Empire before there was an Iraq, so why did the trouble start after the formation of Iraq?

 

These ethnic groups had their own provinces within the Ottoman Empire. I'm assuming these groups thought they'd establish their own separate nations after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, but were not given the chance to decide for themselves since Iraq was a product of "European powers." If this is accurate, then European nations have a horrible track record when it comes to dictating foreign boundaries that lead to unrest abroad. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:55 PM

Iraq is a complicated country. The current differences and disparities in culture, ethnicity and resources has led to some harsh rivalry between people within the borders of the country. This shows how borders can be artificial and just because a map shows a region as one unit, it is not always the case. After the Ottoman Empire fell many groups of people were thrust together and this is why we see these divisions so clearly.

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Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars?

Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars? | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
King Abdullah announced on Sunday that  Saudi women will be allowed to vote and run for office in municipal elections beginning in 2015.

 

Driving a car as simple as it may sound, is a method of enhancing mobility and that means freedom of spatial expression.  This decision to allow women to vote has only demonstrated the cultural constraints of gender roles and how much more progress is needed.  

 

To maintain power the government keeps strong restrictions on it's Saudi women. So frustrating in this day and age. I respect the preservation of cultures and religions; however Saudi women cannot drive and basic priveleges such as going to the library are restricted. It is similar to countries that dominated in colonial times- oppress a society and keep them far from an education, or else they will catch on to ideas of freedom, equal rights and so on. Of course I had to check other headlines for this issue. I found http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-28/saudi-women-urged-to-drive-on-anniversary-of-campaign-to-end-ban.html , which provides details of some rebellious young ladies who ignore the "ban". Many have to drive for necessity, the story speaks about a woman who had to drive her son to the hospital because of his severe asthma attack. I hope these rebellious ladies continue their crusade!  Elizabeth Allen


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James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 2014 7:04 PM

(Central Asia topic 5 [independent topic])

The decrees made by Saudi Arabia's King regarding women's future rights are being viewed as empty promises. On top of that, this topic is at the convergence of not just political, but also social and religious topics. Political, social, economic, and religious interests are all tugging issues such as women's rights to vote and drive in different directions.

I am surprised this article did not mention something which I had heard before: the Saudi government still does not allow women to drive not only out of social custom, but also because their highways are facing a congestion problem. Giving women drivers licenses could roughly double the number of cars on the already-gridlocked roads, making commuting and transportation even more of a hassle.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 12:51 PM

What I find interesting is that allowing women to vote seems like a big step towards equality but it may be more superficial at addressing the real issue at hand. Women in this country are living with so much constraint, letting them vote may not be the giant step forward it seems to be. There are still cultural and institutional barriers that restraint the freedom and natural rights of women.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:40 AM

This decision is absolutely meaningless. Elections matter little in Saudi Arabia. The nation is an Absolute Monarchy. The Kings word on all issues is absolute. On the other hand driving a car, is a much more important symbol of freedom. Allowing women to drive, would give them a sense of mobility. Driving in all most every culture is associated with independence. The car allows you to travel anywhere you want, and avoids the trap of relying on others for transportation. By driving a car, you essentially achieve a certain level of independence. By keeping women from driving, you keep them from achieving independence, and force them to be dependent on the males in their lives.    

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Piracy Backlash

Piracy Backlash | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Abshir Boyah, a pirate who says he has hijacked more than 25 ships off the coast of Somalia, says he will give up this career if certain terms are met.

 

What economic, cultural and political circumstances in the 21st century would allow for piracy to exist?  What are the impacts of piracy on Somalia?  

 

The concept of piracy is a scary one. Their illegal ways cause corruption throughout their society. However, it seems as if they do not have much choice. Yes, it is morally wrong, but look at the money they are making. The prirates are willing to cease illegal activity if their demands are met. Their demands are not out of the ordinary-- they want their oceans protected from toxic waste, job creations, and a fair government. Somalia has a long road ahead of them to acheive any sort of unity.  Elizabeth Allen


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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 4:25 PM

Somalia's pirates are notorious worldwide, and while the pirates may be committing horrible crimes, it is important to understand why these people have turned to illegal means to survive. The economic state of Somalia is rather grim. Considered a textbook "failed state", men for the most part have to choose between working as a fishermen or turning to piracy. Since fishermen barely scrape a living from the waters, Somalian men turn to piracy. With no other economic opportunities, it is often seen as the only choice. Many Somali pirates openly admit that if they had other options, they would absolutely change occupations. 

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:17 PM

The media oftentimes demonizes specific groups of people. So I was presently surpassed that the NYT’s investigated the human aspect of desperation. Many of these Somalians are hopeless and the economic burden on their shoulders drives them to act unethical. When you first priority is survival, courteousness and moral laws often don’t apply. Nevertheless, it was cool to hear about these human stories.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 31, 2015 7:37 PM

Just like the pirates of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, these folks bring all the vices of the originals except perhaps without much of the romanticism that comes with the elders. Though perhaps in two hundred years someone will make a movie titled Pirates of the Somalia featuring Johnny Depp's great-great-great grandson. 

 

It's understandable why these people want to get out of the business. Despite the sex and wealth they've gotten, it's not exactly stable employment. Nor is it as safe as sitting at a desk or being a plumber. But when your society simply doesn't support these industries, then the people are left to resort to more drastic measures.

 

It's also interesting to see the quazi-government stepping in to try and combat it. Traditional Muslim values are the reason for them wanting and end to it. It's understandable to not want children to look up to pirates and the life of crime they lead. But in order for the practice to stop, the pirates want international environmental protections, aid, and government support. Should the international community give into piracy or should it be removed by force?

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The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained

Great, quick way to keep loaton differences of UK and England straight.  Elizabeth Allen


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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 7, 2013 12:10 AM

A great and entertaining way to explain this part of Europe.  I know I have in the past used the terms England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom to all refer to the same thing. It was also amazing to see that people are the same everywhere in that the people in Wales do not consider themselves British, much the same way the people in Sicily consider themselves Sicilain and not Italian. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 12:09 PM

As an outsider looking in the concept of the United Kingdom is a little confusing. We are taught to view Scotland as its own country, but they are countries within a larger structure. This video makes what would confuse many Americans and condenses it into a clear video that is just about 5 mins.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 4:38 PM

Many people often interchange the UK, Great Britain, and England, but in reality, they all describe different different things. The UK is a country of four countries, each with equal power, including Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, and Wales but they are all considered British citizens.UK is a political term, describing a country. Great Britain is a physical geographical term describing the land mass containing Scotland, Wales, and England.  The British Isles refers to both Great Britain and the Island of Ireland. All of these terms describe different things, being characterized by either political affiliation or geographic characteristics. 

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In Honduras, Police Accused Of Corruption, Killings

The Central American nation is the most violent country in the world, according to the United Nations. A mix of drug trafficking, political instability and history adds up to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico.

 

Corruption is inflicting Honduras. There are many factors causing this. High drug trafficking, poor governemnt system, and high murder rates. to hear that anywhere has a higher murde rate than Mexico- is astounding. And further, to know that many murders at at the hands of police is disturbing. Affiliation in gangs and gang warfare is costing lives. The police seem crooked, so I cannot imagine crime rate will decline anytime soon. It must be bad if the Peace Corp has vacated. According to BBC News, a politician running for office is offering free burials for those that cannot afford them.  Honduras violent death rate is 1 every 74 minutes. And the police do not punish criminals....   Elizabeth Allen


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Paige Therien's curator insight, February 11, 2014 1:36 PM

Honduras' role in the drug trafficking industry has increased immensely which does not mix well with their already corrupt government and police force.  However, a history of U.S. aid and security "support" is what rooted this country in violence.  Honduras' situation is spiraling out of control because the drug trafficking industry has taken advantage of its already weak state.

Amy Marques's curator insight, February 12, 2014 10:55 PM

In the news we sometimes hear about violence taking place at the border of the US and Mexico, but you never hear of the violence in Honduras. With a mix of drug trafficking, corruption, political instability and history has led to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico., which is pretty hard to think of since there Mexico already has a high muder right. The situation has gotten so bad that the Peace Corps has withdrawn its volunteers.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 24, 2015 6:53 AM

While Mexico gets all the bad press when it comes to violence and police corruption, Honduras is actually a  more violent place to be. The murder rate in the nation is four times that of Mexico. Like Mexico, the rule of law in Honduras is quite questionable. Most of the nations police force is corrupt. Many police officers are  on the payrolls of drug lords and gangs. Average citizens have no respect for law enforcement, which they view as an extension of the drug trade. A country without  the rule of law, will descend into anarchy. This situation is playing out in Honduras, to the detriment of its people.

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P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N

P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it

"The name of the country Pakistan has a fascinating history - it is essentially an acronym!  Prior to 1947, the country now known as Pakistan was a British colony. In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to the region under a new name, Pakistan. The name had been developed by a group of students at Cambridge University who issued a pamphlet in 1933 called Now or Never."

 

In a country with such great ethnic divisions, a common religion is a powerful nationalizing force.  As the capital city of Islamabad's toponym powerfully states (the house or abode of Islam), religion remains an important element of national identity for Pakistanis.   

 

Better than rock, paper, scissors. At least the name incorporates the letters of the homelands.  Elizabeth Allen


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Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 28, 2015 3:15 PM

Pakistan is simply abbreviated from it's nations or nations that border Pakistan. P stands for Punjab, A stands for Afghania, K stands for Kashmir, I stands for Iran, S stands for Singh, T stands for Tukharistan, A stands for Afghanistan. However, there is no "N." Instead we classified the last letter as Balochistan but because "stan" is the Persian pronunciation for "country." Pakistan decided to abbreviate "N" as a silent so they can successfully abbreviate "Pakistan" instead of "Pakista."

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, November 9, 2015 3:03 PM

Re-scooped from Professor Dixon, primarily for how ridiculous it is. Most of us figured there was some decent reason (like the neighboring 'Stan's) for why  and how Pakistan got its name. Nope, there really wasn't any good reason to name it Pakistan, it is an acronym. One that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 6:47 PM
Until reading this, I thought this was another country that had a "stan" name just like the rest. I never knew that Pakistan received it's makeshift name my a bunch Cambridge University students. It is composed of lands taken from homelands: Punjab, Afghania,, Kashmir, Iran , Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and balochistaN.
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British have invaded nine out of ten countries

British have invaded nine out of ten countries | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Britain has invaded all but 22 countries in the world in its long and colourful history, new research has found.

 

This is a great map to show the historical impact of colonialism on the world map.  The map is based on the work in the new book All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To.   

 

Handy map to have as a reference/guide. Elizabeth

 

Tags: book reviews, colonialism, war, historical, UK. 


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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 7:33 PM

The British have done this in reality, in the physical world, in space and time... but perhaps the Chinese have done this in our minds!  Everything our country trades for has parts made in China.  We simply can't live without these things that may be invented in the US, and designed in the US, but assembled in China.... China has a name for itself, and they're playing a game of Monopoly.  They have hotels on Board walk and Park place, and they're eating us alive... I've conferred with politicians, who say that they're on the verge of turning their hidden empire into a physical one, and going from simple monetary domination to war.  They outnumber the US, and have better technology, and evidently more skill and products.  Not much to say about that, but if they learn from the mistakes of the British, the Chinese could really create a truly elite empire that could outlast any other in human history...  But really, if they include American/Chinese cuisine in their menu, I'm sold at General Tao's chicken... Go China! 

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 2014 8:36 PM

This map illustrates just how wide-reaching the British Empire was throughout its history. Though the map cheats a little by including the activities of sanctioned pirates and minor invasions, almost the whole world excepting several very small nations and some difficult to reach inland ones.

 

The most surprising was Sweden considering the proximity and the frequent viking invasions on the British isles which were apparently never reciprocated.

 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 9, 2015 10:26 AM

The British have had a powerful and colorful history. The British built an empire that has been unmatched in the history of human civilization. At its height, the sun never truly set on its empire. The impact the British Empire had on the globe is astounding. Almost every country in the world has some form of British heritage and influence. The influence has  had both positive and negative attributes. The British Empire spread both knowledge and Slavery to the rest of the globe. The world can never truly escape its British past.