"This video shows you why the refugees crossing the Mediterranean by boat can't just fly to Europe."
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"This video shows you why the refugees crossing the Mediterranean by boat can't just fly to Europe."
Not since the end of World War II have there been so many refugees seeking safety. There are several regional hot spots of political, ethnic and religious turmoil; many are now asking how the global community should response to the worst refugee crisis in generations.
Jonah Fisher has been to Rakhine state in Myanmar to meet Rohingya migrants who are being forced to return home - but at a cost.
"Last week marked the 100th anniversary of the killings of more than a million Armenians during the dying days of the Ottoman Empire. Despite considerable opposition from the Turkish government, the anniversary is bringing renewed attention to an often overlooked historical issue, with President Obama in particular facing criticism for not using the word 'genocide' to describe the killings. The 20th century was bloody and violent, and while some horrors are at least relatively well-known – the Holocaust or the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, for example – others have become mere footnotes in history."
“For most of the world, the Armenian Genocide is the slaughter you know next to nothing about. But every year on April 24, Genocide Remembrance Day, we Armenians remember the injustice of a crime that is rarely acknowledged and often flatly denied. It was April 24, 1915, when the Armenian intellectuals, professionals, editors and religious leaders in Constantinople were rounded up by the Ottoman authorities — and almost all of them executed. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire killed three of every four of its Armenian citizens. The majority of Armenians alive today are descendants of the few survivors.”
2.5 million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire--1.5 million were killed. Not just killed, but horrifically slaughtered--beheaded, crucified, burned alive in their churches, loaded like cattle onto freight trains and sent to concentration camps, raped, assaulted, sold as slaves, herded into the DerAzor desert and left to die.
The United Nations recognizes the massacres and the systematic destruction of two-thirds of the Armenian population as the first genocide of the 20th century, and has stated that the mishandling of its aftermath set the stage for future genocides, from the Holocaust to Rwanda and Sudan and everything in between. Hitler studied what happened and borrowed many of the Ottoman Empire’s techniques to use against the Jews.
And even though some countries in the world recognize and agree with the UN assessment of the fact, Turkey denies it, and the US still stands silent and refuses to officially state that what happened was genocide...because to do so would offend Turkey, and Turkey is a US political ally. Many are calling on Israel, a country founded in large part because of a genocide, to acknowledge the first genocide of the 20th century.
Learn about genocide and teach genocide--what causes it, what perpetuates it, what the cost of denial can be. Don’t remain silent. Be a peaceful person in your own life, and in all your relations with others--and speak up about any wrong or injustice.
*Most of this post is courtesy of Janet Rith-Najarian, professional geographer and member of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education.
Put yourself in the shoes of a Syrian migrant and see whether you could make the right choices on the journey to Europe.
This BBC interactive tries to get the user to empathize with the plight and the geographic circumstances of Syrian refugees that are fleeing a land a strife. The choices are not easy and there is no certain path. This is an interesting interactive that is designed to build geographic empathy.
Stunning images taken from space put the world's crises into context.
U.N. satellite imagery has tracked the evolution of the camp since its creation. The exponential growth is remarkable. The refugee camp is rapidly taking the shape of a real city — structured, planned and even separated into neighborhoods and subject to gentrification.
As the sprawling Zaatari camp evolves into an informal city — with an economy and even gentrification — aid workers say camps can be potential urban incubators that benefit host countries like Jordan.
This is an intriguing article that explores the difficulties of forced migrations that arise from civil war, but it also looks at city planning as refugee camps are established to make homes for the displaced. These camps have become into de-facto cities. The maps, videos and photographs embedded in the article show the rapid development of these insta-cities which organically have evolved to fit the needs of incoming refugees. Size not investing in permanent infrastructure has some serious social, sanitation and financial cost, there are some efforts to add structure to the chaos, to formalize the informal. Truly this is a fascinating case study of in urban geography as we are increasingly living on what Mike Davis refers to as a "Planet of Slums."
"There are more people displaced by violence and conflict on the planet right now than at any time since World War II. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says the number of people forcibly displaced, including refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons has now reached over 51 million."
20 years after the genocide in Rwanda, these perpetrators and survivors are standing for forgiveness.
The idea behind these images is incredibly powerful and heartbreaking. The horrific genocide turned neighbor against neighbor and tore communities and a country apart. I can only imagine the pain for the individuals, but also the trauma inflicted on the national psyche. See also the White House's official statement on the 20th anniversary of the genocide.
Mapping the war in Congo: mineral wealth, militias and an epic march
To understand much of the political situation in Central Africa, a short history of the recent political and ethnic turmoil in Rwanda and Congo are helpful. This particular videographic from the Economist is a few years old, but the historical context is still incredibly relevant This series provides a wealth of information and several will be added to the place-based geography videos interactive map.
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.
"For millions of refugees across Africa life is a daily struggle. Many dream of one day returning to their homeland while others have spent decades building a new life. On World Refugee Day, BBC Focus on Africa's Anne Soy visits a Somali family in Nairobi, Kenya, who cannot imagine returning to their roots."
In addition to this video, see this photo gallery of refugees around the world for some additional context of 'regular life' for refugees.
Questions to Ponder: Is it the duty of a refugee to return to their home country as soon as it is safe? If you were a refugee, what geographic factors (economic, cultural, political, environmental) would shape you decisions to stay or return?
"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."
"Another refugee camp opened today in Mrajeeb al-Fhood, Jordan, to accommodate the reported 1,500 to 2,000 Syrians fleeing to Jordan daily. Just over a year ago the Big Picture posted an entry of the growing number of people displaced due to the conflict that now has lasted over two years. The United Nations recently said a total of around 7,000 to 8,000 Syrians are leaving their country daily; there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees and almost 4 million more have been displaced inside Syria since the start of the conflict. Posted here is another glimpse of daily life for those displaced since the beginning of this year."
These 37 images are excellent, but I chose to share this particular one, because the combination of poverty and happiness embody the purpose behind refugee camps. While the living conditions are grim and far from ideal, they are better than the alternative for these refugees and the assistance that they are receiving from the international community can be a ray of hope for the future of these children. In this picture, Syrian refugee children play in Sidon, located in southern Lebanon.
"As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was 'the best on the planet.' It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope."
The number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict and crossed the borders hasn't ceased to increase.
UNICEF workers have stated: "More than 600,000 have fled the conflict in Syria and registered as refugees. The number of Syrians who have left without registering is unknown but is likely to be hundreds of thousands. We do know, however, that children make up around half the number of refugees and that is certainly no way for any child to live their childhood."
|Suggested by Ryan LaHayne|
Seventeen years after she stared out from the cover of National Geographic, a former Afghan refugee comes face-to-face with the world once more.
The original cover is one of the more famous National Geographic photos of all time, and yet the woman in the photograph has not lived a life as though millions of people could recognize her eyes. This is her story.
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.
|Suggested by Marc Crawford , Mankato East High School|
The key facts and figures about refugees, IDPs, asylum seekers and stateless people from UNHCR's annual Global Trends report.
Not all migation is voluntary. Refugees and other non-voluntary migrants often are in their situation due to complex geographic factors beyond their control at the national scale.
A refugee is a person who has been pushed away from their homeland and seeks refuge in another place. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) provides a more narrow definition of a refugee as someone who flees their home country due to a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”
As Neal Lineback notes in this Geography in the News post, not all refugees are covered by this definition. Environmental refugees have been forced to leave their homes beause of soil degradation, deserticfication, flooding, drought, climate change and other environmental factors.
Syrians by the thousands are fleeing the violence in their home country and seeking refuge in neighboring countries.
Demographics and Politics: This photo essay is a varied glimpse into the refugee camps that have emerged from the Syrian uprisings against the Assad regime. How are politics and migration connected? Can you think of other examples where we see similar patterns?