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A Barrier to Peace

A Barrier to Peace | Geography and Social Studies |

"Why would they want to pull down these walls?” asks William Boyd mildly as he offers me a cup of tea in his home at Cluan Place, a predominantly Loyalist area of east Belfast.


These walls, orginally installed in the late 60s to protect Belfast residents during "the Troubles."  Today, some argue that these walls are now barriers to the peace process as they continue defacto segregation.  Walls, as barriers to diffusion, stifle communication, cooperation and interaction.  Still, these walls are symbols of communal identity and icons in the cultural landscape.  For more academic work on this, see Peter Shirlow's Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City.


Questions to Consider: How would a wall through an already culturally and politically divided city impact both sides of the wall?  Today, are the walls beneficial to peace in Northern Ireland?       


Tags: Ireland, states, borders, political. 

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 28, 2013 7:38 PM

The walls in Belfast Ireland were put in the 60's to protect the residents and today many people argue they need to come down. My grandmother just returned from a trip to Ireland and Belfast was one of the areas they went. She said it was very sad, Christians had to walk on one side of the street and Protestans on the other in one area and the tour bus driver was being voice monitered by the police the whole time. There is so much seperation in Befast because of that wall and more people dont want it taken down then want it down for anything to be done. 

Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 30, 2013 12:14 PM

The barrier in Belfast, Ireland is an impressive one. It has been there since the 1960s and having it there has become a security for the residence on both sides. Neither side wants it taken down, however, they have extremely different political/religious views. It seems strange to me that these people would prefer living in prison-like conditions just because that is the way it has been for so long. So long as the physical walls stay up, so will the cultural walls between these people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 2014 8:13 AM

This article is about large walls which were constructed fifty years ago to separate a part Belfast, Northern Ireland to protect citizens from conflicts between loyalists and separatists. Q wall separating people could temporarily protect people from violent conflict, but it would undoubtedly ensure continued conflict and intensify the feeling of "Us vs. Them." Though the people interviewed from both sides of the wall in the article like the wall since it gives them a feeling of security, the wall is likely damaging to a peace process in Northern Ireland.

Rescooped by D.a. Erdmann from Geography Education!

Israel and Palestine

Hey friends-it's time to stop saying, "It's too complicated!" Watch this Jewish Voice for Peace 6 minute mini-primer. about why Israelis and Palestinians are fighting..

This video from the Jewish Voice for Peace has a more politically motivated angle than most of the resources that I post on this site, but I feel that they do justice to both sides as well as the truth. In a simple way it lays out the roots of many of the problems in the region with historic and geographic perspectives.

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, borders.

Via Seth Dixon
James Hobson's curator insight, October 28, 2014 9:58 AM

(Africa topic 1)

{{Note: Some topics and locations pertain to multiple geographic regions (i.e. northern Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia, and topics in different regions may refer to the same country or location because of this.}}

I found it interesting to watch a video that comes from an implied anti-Israel standpoint, especially since the organization which made this video is called the Jewish Voice for Peace. Though there has always been disagreement as to who should occupy some of the most hallowed land in the world, it seems that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems more out of the UN repartitioning plan. Regardless of clashing religions and cultures, it does seem unfair that a minority of people control the majority of land and resources. This makes me wonder why exactly the UN made the Israeli state there: was is purely because of the Jewish religion associations?, or because no other country wanted to absorb the increasing number of refugees?, or because the UN wanted to gain a stronghold in the Middle East?, or perhaps a combination of all of the above?

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 19, 8:40 PM

From 1946 to 2000, Palestine (Islamic individuals) have been at war with Israel (Jewish individuals) over land in Israel/Palestine. In 1946, Palestine took over most of Israel but throughout the decades up until 2000, Israel slowly won over almost every piece of Israel and now, Palestine barely has any land in Israel. From 1949 to 1967, Palestine took over a specific area of Israel known as the West Bank and another small part of Israel known as Gaza. There was a lot of war going on between Israel and Palestine because Israel discriminated against non-Jews. Palestinians became refugees but that didn't stop Israel from fighting to take over Palestinian land.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 30, 1:03 AM

The video was informative, but bias. I have a stronger understanding of how Israel is exploiting, how the borders were re-drawn, and how the make up of the original border mattered. However, the author gave me these facts in a very pro-Palestinian manner. The narrator sees the Palatines as refugees instead of the Jews, who as the narrator said, were "refugees living where people already lived." This similar identity clearly resonated with the narrator who almost 2 minutes of the video speaking about how the treatment of the new refugees was wrong. While a fair amount of the rest of the video advocated a solution to help Palestinian, hence the negative portrayals of the United States backed peace talks.  


What was missing from this video was Israeli's story. The Jewish community had become a large force within Palestinian, but was not being aptly recognized. In fact, the Palestinian's prior to the UN offer weren't treating the Jews fair. When this offer came along, it was the Palestinian's who started the fight, a point that was down played in this video as the narrator rushed to point the finger at Israeli's wrong doings. Yet, another portrayal of this conflict mentioned in class, showed the Israeli's feel threatened because they are a minority surrounded by enemies within the region. All of this information means that the Palestinian's and other neighbors play more of a negative hand in the land dispute than what the narrator says.    


To be honest, I don't know enough about either side to really say who I support. However, from what I gather, neither side is a bushel of roses. As learned in class their were a fair deal of geographic tensions from BOTH parties that caused the fighting and their is still a fair deal of geographic tensions from BOTH parties that factor into the fighting today. Thus, the bias of this video acts as a reminder that a person looking to understand a heated conflict, such as this one between neighbors, must view the information with causation.