Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Xinjiang Seethes Under Chinese Crackdown

Xinjiang Seethes Under Chinese Crackdown | Geography Education |

"The Chinese government has introduced unprecedented measures aimed at shaping the behavior and beliefs of China’s 10 million Uighurs."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This NY Times article is a good update on the situation of Xianjiang.  I wish this was available when I wrote this article (with links for more teaching resources) for the National Geographic Education Blog on the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province.  


TagsCentral Asia, culturepoliticalconflictgovernance,ChinaEast AsiareligionIslamlandscape.

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Donald Trump’s attacks on Muslims fit a pattern of persecution. Just ask Jews, Catholics and Mormons.

Donald Trump’s attacks on Muslims fit a pattern of persecution. Just ask Jews, Catholics and Mormons. | Geography Education |
Persecuting religious minorities that are perceived as a political threat is a time-honored American tradition.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is not intended to be a political post, but one that reflects of the history of religious persecution in the United States.  If you find that to be a controversial political topic, so be it.  In the past, when Americans have suspected that a religious group is undermining it's country’s free, democratic political order, we have demanded—often violently—some radical action against that group.  Let that past stay in the past.  


Tags: religionUSA, historical, conflict

Chelsea Martines's curator insight, December 12, 2015 3:45 PM
The author is the article, Henry Farrell, interviews David T. Smith about Donald Trump's statement about not allowing anymore Muslims to come to the U.S. He says that this is a pattern of persecutions, as many religions have been persecuted through the history of the U.S. He uses examples from Jews, Catholics, and Mormons. They have all been restricted income rights, or attacked by the government in the 19 and 20 centuries. DTS says that what the current president and the old president have done regarding Islamic extremist is controversial. Both president Bush and Obama have said that ISIS and other terrier groups could be considered not even Islamic or religious as to not be labeled as attacking a religion, so it can rather be seen as simply terrorist and then have the peaceful Muslims be kept protected.
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Putin: Turkey's downing of jet a 'stab in the back'

Putin: Turkey's downing of jet a 'stab in the back' | Geography Education |
Russian warplane crashes in Latakia province in Syria and two pilots seen ejecting from the aircraft.
Seth Dixon's insight:

A border is not a line in the sand but a vertical plane, defining airspace as well as underground assets. The protection of borders and airspace is something that sovereign states take very seriously and can lead to some tense situations.  

Tags: borders, political, conflict, geopolitics.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 4:48 PM

it is truly insane that turkey would shoot down a Russian jet engaging anyone in Syria, especially when the Turks are shooting at the Kurds, who are fighting the people that the Turks claim to hate. this is especially troubling, as Turkey is a part of NATO and may drag the rest of the NATO nations into any war they start.

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Paris Bloodshed May Be the Latest of Many ISIS Attacks Around the World

Paris Bloodshed May Be the Latest of Many ISIS Attacks Around the World | Geography Education |
At least a dozen countries have had attacks since the Islamic State, or ISIS, began to pursue a global strategy in the summer of 2014.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Tags:  political, terrorism, conflict, geopolitics, ISIS.

Chelsea Martines's curator insight, November 21, 2015 3:41 PM
The Paris attacks from ISIS are now being discovered as linked to other attacks that ISIS has planned out. They have up until now according to the article, done 'lone wolf' attacks and now are changing to bigger and city kind of attacks across the globe. They are taking over much of the Middle East and Africa, in hopes to make that area chaotic enough to start more global conflict and another world war, accoring to the article. There have been studies and research in tracking ISIS and they have found that attacks in many other cities in the world have been inspired by ISIS as well.
Matthew Richmond's curator insight, December 2, 2015 12:23 PM

These maps were very helpful in understanding the spread and threat of ISIS. It also helps the understanding of just what a wide range of places they have attacked is. They are capable of striking much of the world in the name of fundamentalism. However, the video of Muslim's chanting is one of those things that can kind of turn down the fear, especially of admitting refugees, that has gripped much of the world. We are as safe as we can be, but idea's are bulletproof and there's no end in sight to the elimination of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Lindley Amarantos's curator insight, December 4, 2015 10:55 AM

Read this article and fill out your Socratic seminar question sheet for the inner/outer circle on Tues, Dec 8

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China's Maritime Claims

ONE reason China’s spectacular rise sometimes alarms its neighbours is that it is not a status quo power. From its inland, western borders to its eastern and southern seaboard, it claims territory it does not control.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Many of the geopolitical conflicts in the East Pacific have their roots in the territorial disputes over islands that at first glance seem as if they wouldn't be worth the trouble; how did this become a tense situation?  Since the UNCLOS agreement gives countries 200 nautical miles off their coasts to be an Exclusive Economic Zone, that greatly enhanced the strategic value of controlling these islands and the shipping lanes.  The United States, to counter Chinese claims, has used the Navy to go near some of the claimed (and reclaimed) islands recently.  This interactive map briefly highlights some of the details behind the conflicts with links for further readings. 

Questions to Ponder: Why do countries care so much about some minor islands?  Why would other countries not want to accept China's territorial assertions?

Tags: borders, political, conflict, China, East Asia.

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 25, 2015 3:06 PM

Chinese expansion into the South Sea has been a longtime coming, and China's actions in the region are both a reflection of its growing strength and a huge diplomatic headache for the US and every other nation in the region. China's construction of artificial islands allows it to claim autonomy over a larger body of water, challenging the maritime power of every other nation in South East Asia, many of whom have economies reliant on the waters China now claims as its own, some 500 miles away from the Chinese mainland. With the emergence of the Chinese economy as a global power, its ambitious leaders have made plans to transform China from a regional military force to a new superpower- one that the established order, the US included, is entirely unsure of. Which of these nations can truly challenge China's decision to make these waters it's personal pond? It would be economic and political suicide, as China is an enormous global trading power, and has the potential to crush any of these nations in a military engagement. Could Japan? Perhaps, but the Chinese have already pressed ahead with their plans, regardless of Japanese political pressure. Involvement of the US is perhaps the last thing anyone wants- particularly both the US and China- but it is perhaps the only way China will heed pressure from abroad and cease  Chinese expansion in the region. The US and China must be allies, for the sake of global prosperity, but actions like these cannot be tolerated, by either party.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 7:51 PM

One reason to care about minor islands is the 200 nautical miles off the coast for the EEZ. This would give china more water territory for drilling of oil which I believe is there in those waters. Flexing more muscle for their navy to grow. Strategically the Chinese could take over these small islands and build air strips for future which would give them a chance to reach places they wouldn't be able to before and this would be good supply transactions during war, fueling, maneuver of man power. The other small countries also would lose their independence and would have to fall under china's rule. With the building of the man made islands and the Chinese navy protecting their people while they continue to build these islands and daring anyone to try and stop them is a sign that china is trying to dominate and expand with muscle. It is their time they have the economic, and military power to do so. Of course they don't want to deal with the u.s. and their allies militarily but it doesn't benefit the u.s. either. I don't believe u.s. wants to get involved in a battle with china and their allies.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:17 PM

Claiming territory it does not control, causes a lot of controversy with other country. The main problem here now is China is having a dispute with Japan about some islands. There could possibly be oil or natural resources.Japan says that the land was always theirs. China clearly likes to just put itself out there and make claims or place oil rigs wherever. This could be a big problem for them because if someone gets too offended by their actions there could end up being a war or some sort of conflict. Especially since they like to use military forces such as navy and air guarding "territory." 

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This Is My Land

How do the Palestinian and Israeli (Arab and Jewish) education systems teach the history of their nations? The film follows several Israeli and Palestinian teachers over one academic year. Observing their exchanges and confrontations with students, debates with the ministries curriculum and its restrictions, the viewers obtain an intimate glimpse into the profound and long lasting effect that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict transmits onto the next generation.

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, borders, territoriality, political, Middle East.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 22, 2015 8:01 AM

The teaching of history is often very political. You can not separate history from politics. The majority of history class end up focusing on some form of political history. History is all about interpretation. There is no one exact way to interpret an event. This opens up the discipline to being used to foster certain political ideals. Every leader of a nation will try to justify his or hers actions by finding an historical precedent. The history taught in Israeli schools, is going to be pro Israeli. The same is true for the Palestinians. Each side is looking to justify their current polices by telling an historical narrative from their own point of view. Each successive generation will learn the history the government wants them to know.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 1:47 PM

It's very interesting to see what the Palestinian perceive as peace/freedom as and what the Israelis vice versa. The education systems in both nation influence their beliefs on this idea of freedom. The Israelis see freedom as not having the constant fear of being harmed by their neighboring country. On the other hand, the Palestinian see freedom as claiming back their land and driving the Jews away from it. It is truly sad to know that there is a very little chance that peace will exist in this region.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 6:41 PM

this is an interesting example of how the teachings of a certain group can influence the perception of the world around you, especially when you are young.

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"Why don't we just bomb them?"

"Why don't we just bomb them?" | Geography Education |

"The west’s failure has already fueled Syria’s dirty war. Now it needs to address how we got here, the endgame, the legality and the global implications before it asks for permission to shoot."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I think we've all heard someone say something along the lines of "why doesn't someone just take them out/bomb them?" about ISIS or Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad.  As is often the case, it's not that simple to remove a thorn as actions can have reverberating consequences.  Here are three articles to consider when discussing the merits/feasibility of military intervention in Syria:

TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, November 4, 2015 7:20 PM

Every time I hear this mentioned, whether right or wrong, I instantly assume that I know something about their education level. This situation is going from worse to even worse, and the involvement of the world's "leaders" isn't going to help at all. This is an internal problem that needs to fixed internally. Any involvement will just lead to more pointless deaths of American soldiers. It is time for the Arab nations to get together and take out their own garbage. After all, idea's are bulletproof.

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What China Has Been Building in the South China Sea

What China Has Been Building in the South China Sea | Geography Education |
China has been feverishly piling sand onto reefs in the South China Sea for the past year, creating seven new islets in the region. It is straining geopolitical tensions that were already taut.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Last year this was an intriguing story but now the geopolitical drama is growing as more countries are literally building islands out of reef outcroppings to strengthen their claims to the South China Sea.  This is the most comprehensive article that I've seen on the escalating situation.   

Tags: borders, political, conflict, waterChina, East Asia.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:01 PM

this strategy makes sense, even if it ignores international laws and angers every other nation on earth. china needs resources, and the south china sea has resources.

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 17, 2015 4:02 PM

The fact that China is doing this in the first place is a profound geopolitical statement. They are in effect disregarding international law and acting as though they own the region. This also fly's in the face of countries in the Area such as Vietnam and the Philippines who have territorial water claims in that area of the region itself has been a matter of dispute for decades. This is partially due to the fact there is key oil and gas resources and china intends to use the islands they have made to claim and seize those deposits. trade also goes through the area making it possible for China to shut down regional trade if it gains these waters. This is a clear power display and shows China wants to supersede the U.S. not work with it. Hopefully the issue is resolved peacefully given that it has been causing heightened tensions with the Chinese Navy patrolling the area. The international community should have acted earlier to stop this because now it will be far more difficult and makes nations like the U.S. look weaker. Not to mention the vast environmental consequences for destroying reefs filled with unique wildlife thus disrupting the ecosystem.

Gouraud's curator insight, January 6, 2016 3:16 PM

En une année pour construire un port et un terrain d’atterrissage à partir d'un atoll submergé....


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Why South Carolina’s Confederate flag isn’t at half-staff after church shooting

Why South Carolina’s Confederate flag isn’t at half-staff after church shooting | Geography Education |
The battle over a fraught symbol is resurrected.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The AME church in Charleston S.C. was targeted in a racist-motivated terrorist attack this week.  Many racial issues have come to the fore in the wake of this attack.  Two flags were lowered more than 100 miles away in Columbia, the state’s capital, the one's picture above flying on the dome of the state house.  Whether South Carolina politicians want to or not, the issue of the Confederate Battle Flag has resurfaced because as a sanctioned part of the cultural landscape, it's symbolism is continually called into question.


Tags: raceconflict, racism, historical, the Southlandscape.

Christopher L. Story's curator insight, June 22, 2015 9:11 AM

The politics of the flag...amazing

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, June 22, 2015 11:10 AM

Another interesting post by Seth Dixon

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Digging In: Land Reclamation and Defenses in the South China Sea

Digging In: Land Reclamation and Defenses in the South China Sea | Geography Education |
The U.S. Department of Defense’s latest assessment of the Chinese military provided new detail on China’s land reclamation efforts on several of the islets that it occupies in the South China Sea. These include Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef, Johnson South Reef, Mischief Reef, and Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago. By December 2014, the report estimated that China had reclaimed as much as 500 acres of new land, creating full-fledged islands where only coral reefs or sand spits existed before. Since then, China has only accelerated its efforts, expanding the total land area that it has reclaimed to 2,000 acres and building military facilities, ports, and at least one airstrip on the islands.
Seth Dixon's insight:

We've heard in the news recently that China is reclaiming land from the South China see to presumably construct an air strip to strengthen their claims in the region.  China is not alone in this...

Tags: borders, political, conflict, waterChina, East Asia.

Marc Meynardi's curator insight, May 13, 2015 1:49 AM

By doing so, China is not only digging land, but also preparing futur heavy discord. It's so strange : China critisize US hegemony and try to balance it. As result, China is having the same agressive attitude that US Bush era. Of course, not using bombs, but "pacifically" invading south China Sea.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 8:15 PM

I was wondering with the world being 80% ocean how much ocean can be transformed into land with these man made islands. Once again creating military strategic posts.

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What's the Yemen conflict really about?

What's the Yemen conflict really about? | Geography Education |
Is the conflict due to geographical rivalry, sectarian divisions, disappointment after the 2011 revolution or is it part of a wider regional power play?
Seth Dixon's insight:

Saudi Arabia has recently announced that they stop their 4 week long bombing campaign against a rebel group in Yemen.  Like many complex geopolitical conflict, it is hard for students to begin to understand what the fighting is really about, but this article is a solid introduction to the Yemen conflict

Tags: Yemen, political, conflict.

Luis Cesar Nunes's curator insight, April 24, 2015 12:42 PM

Something we should know about another insane conflict in which the United States became involved to worsen an already difficult situation

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 5:36 PM

In 2011, it is told that people from all religion would gather together in the town square, to eat from the same plate, pray for peace together and learn in the same schools; they were not separated by religion. Now Houthis changed from victims, to armed militia. Those who would've given their life back in 2011 for the sake of a better future would not be so willing now due to the fact they would only be collateral damage. 

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China 'building runway in disputed South China Sea island'

China 'building runway in disputed South China Sea island' | Geography Education |
Satellite images show China is making progress on building an airstrip on a reef in disputed territory in the South China Sea, a report says.
Seth Dixon's insight:

So that's what they are up to...hmmmm.  A clearer, more detailed image can be seen here.

Questions to Ponder:  Why is China building up this island?  What advantage would that give them?  Why aren't other countries with competing claims stopping China?

Tags: borders, political, conflict, waterChina, East Asia.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, April 22, 2015 7:02 PM

This is always amazing to me when countries create these islands in the middle of the sea.  I remember when Dubai was doing this a few years back thinking that something like this was crazy and would never keep up.  China is smart by doing this because it feels it can control the S. China Sea if they have areas set up all over it.  I can see why surrounding countries that share the Sea's borders are pissed off at China because they should not have more right's to the Sea than any of them.  But what are/can they do about it?  If you mess with China, you are asking for trouble.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, April 30, 2015 8:43 AM

My research paper is on China and I'm adding topical China stories to it. This is just another example in an endless procession of questionable land grabs by the Chinese. They should not be allowed to play poker, they are really bad at hiding what they really want. China wants to add land for a simple reason; extending their military reach so they can dominate the region. It pushes out their boundaries to enable them to strike their enemies with relative ease. Missiles that fly 400 miles, planes that need refueling after 300 miles are now strategically placed on these islands to form a sphere of commanding  influence in Asia and beyond. If they were to use it to extend their fishing rights to feed their burgeoning population that would be almost diplomatic. China bears watching....

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 1, 2015 4:22 PM

China has the wealth and power to unfortunately , do these things.  This is a concern to the US, but what can they do.  Vietnam may be upset as well as other countries, but China is the big dog in the South Sea.  

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One Place, Two Names

One Place, Two Names | Geography Education |
The government of the People’s Republic of China calls the country’s westernmost region Xinjiang, but the people who have lived there for centuries refer to their home as Eastern Turkistan. Many times when two groups do not refer to a place by the same name, it points to a cultural or political conflict, as is the case here.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Multiple names on the map can hint at bigger cultural and political fault lines.  Is it Londonderry or just Derry?  The Sea of Japan or the East Sea?  This article I wrote for the National Geographic Education Blog is on the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province.  

TagsCentral Asia, toponyms, culture, political, conflictgovernance, China, East Asia, religionIslam, landscape.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 12:51 PM

The region in North-west China where the indigenous people refer to home as Eastern Turkistan is being stripped by the Chinese government. They are banned from practicing their religion of Islam and cannot wear certain clothing that they are accustomed to. This is an example of History repeating itself, similarly to the United States government treating Native Americans and their way of life. Ultimately, it is important that the people of Eastern Turkistan has the right to practice in what they believed in, so that they do not lose their identity, culture and heritage.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:38 PM
Going by either the name Xinjiang or Eastern Turkistan, Sometimes when people cannot agree on the name of a single place there is conflict, but apparently not here. it became an economic hub after they extracted natural gas, oil, and coal. Because of its location, a lot of the people in the area are Turkish and are Muslim. The Chinese government does not really like this and they are doing what they can to get rid of the Muslim ways, for example, one thing they have done is denounce the hijab, or ban any religious displays. .
Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:45 PM

it seems that this a a recurring theme with china. disputed lands surround this country inside and out, they claim to own all of it as well. but when the people that live their claim to be independent and choose not to associate themselves with you than it creates and interesting dynamic.

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Where ISIS Gained and Lost Territory This Year

Where ISIS Gained and Lost Territory This Year | Geography Education |
The Islamic State has lost 14 percent of the territory it held in January, according to a new analysis.


Tags:  political, terrorism, conflict.

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Chinese forces 'used flamethrowers' in Xinjiang operation

Chinese forces 'used flamethrowers' in Xinjiang operation | Geography Education |

"A Chinese military newspaper gives graphic details of a raid in Xinjiang province against suspected militants." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This BBC article gives an update on China's crackdown on Uighur nationalism under the guise of cracking down of 'foreign terrorists.'  Earlier this year I wrote this article for the National Geographic Education Blog on this topic, the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province of Xinjiang.  

TagsCentral Asia, political, conflictgovernance, China, East Asia.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, December 2, 2015 12:11 PM

As a student who someday wants to teach social studies at the high school level, this article brought to light one of the hardest concepts to teach. There are always two sides to every story. While the victors get to write history, the victims are often silenced over time. One man's violent rebellion is another man's treasonous operations. Honestly, the Chinese have done an excellent job of keeping this out of the western media. The only real struggle we ever hear about in China that of Tibet and Taiwan.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 12:37 PM

This is really disturbing to know that China is attacking their ethnic minority who is just protesting for what they believing in. To make things worst, the Chinese government controls the media and they basically can say whatever they want. For example, referring to these ethnic minority as foreign terrorist. That changes the perspective on how people view and perceive the situation happening in Xinjiang.

Patty B's curator insight, April 29, 2016 12:15 PM
This article goes to show that violence between different sects within a region is widespread. In today's day and age, this type of conflict is stereotyped to the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Africa. But this article explains that the Chinese are dealing with similar religious disagreements, and these disagreements lead to fear of terrorism and, in this case, acts of terrorism. This is not the typical news Americans hear coming from China. Most often Americans are interested in what is happening within the Chinese financial sector, not necessarily its political and religious happenings. The article brings to light issues of religious toleration and freedom of religion that exist throughout the world. People everywhere are on high alert when it comes to religious groups that challenge the political establishment. Those groups often get labeled as terrorist organizations and violence often times ensues, as seen in this case. Turmoil like this is common, of course, in the Middle East. This article is similar to the majority US coverage of what is happening in the Middle East. In other words, more often than not, when a news story breaks in the US regarding the Middle East, it will have to do with violence or terrorism. But you don't hear those types of stories everyday coming from East Asia. But this article exemplifies the fact that just because the media doesn't report it, doesn't mean it isn't happening. The media reports what people want to hear. 
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ISIS: A New Threat

ISIS: A New Threat | Geography Education |

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore the role of ISIS in the Middle East
  • Interpret political cartoons on the U.S. response to ISIS
  • Identify the techniques used by cartoonists to express political opinion
  • Monitor the news media coverage of ISIS over time
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Choices Program produces some great materials and this is from their Teaching with the News series.  The newest in the series is a resource guide for the terrorist attacks in Paris.  

Tags:  political, terrorism, conflict, geopolitics, ISIS, Choices.

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Paris attacks mark a shift in ISIS-Al Qaeda relations

Paris attacks mark a shift in ISIS-Al Qaeda relations | Geography Education |

"The attacks suggest that ISIS is being forced into 'mainstream' terrorism long before it had planned to and a terrible meeting of the minds between Al Qaeda and ISIS."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is more 'instant analysis' than a sustained inquiry into the attacks, so take the conclusions with a grain of salt.  However, the idea that the strategic aims of ISIS (a.k.a.-IS, ISIL) and Al-Qaeda are starting to align is worth investing.  

Tags:  political, terrorism, conflict, geopolitics.

IRENE's curator insight, November 15, 2015 8:09 AM

Los ataques que sufrió París ya han sido reivindicados por el ISIS.

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Syria's war: Who is fighting and why

Watch how the Syrian civil war became the mess it is today.
Seth Dixon's insight:

A few weeks back I posted a shorter (90 seconds) BBC video on the Syrian war.  This Vox video adds more detail and includes a very helpful timeline to show how more internal and external forces became involved in the fighting.  This is an incredibly complicated geopolitical situation because of all the regional and international players involved.  

TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 5:10 PM

I read articles about the Syrian war and watched this film and I got to tell you it sure is confusing. The picture on one of the websites that really disturbed me is the father holding his lifeless  8 or 9 year old daughter in his arms. I have a 9 year old daughter and it was her birthday on that day I saw the picture. Sometimes it is better emotionally to be ignorant about what is going on in the world.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 1:37 PM

Syrian civil war has escalated into a proxy wars between many nations that all have different goals in mind. It all started from the Arab Spring and is still on-going because there are many sides taking place and none of them wants to back down. Mainly due to the emerge of the Islamic State that cause a shift in the war of fighting a terrorism organization to fighting the different factions within Syria. 

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 16, 2015 5:19 PM

An interesting and well written breakdown of the Syrian war and its local, regional and global factors that have caused the escalation to this point. It should however be pointed out that some of the information within the video is actually wrong. The United Nations did a investigation and report regarding the use of chemical weapons and found ti was the rebels not Assad who had used them. Furthermore it leaves out some reports from the initial protests in Syria that some of them were armed with weapons and fired on police (suggesting that instead of one side it was mutual escalation). Plus much of the fighting in Syria is also sectarian with Shiites backing Assad and the Sunnis backing Assad's opposition (prior global intervention). If these pieces of information were corrected in addition to talking about the Kurdish predicament a bit more along with the origins of ISIS the video would be perfect. So in a way I suppose the video kind of left out important local geographic details that influenced the regional and global ones.

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Who is fighting whom in Syria?

"There has been an intense wave of Russian air strikes in two areas of Syria, activists say. Moscow says it is targeting jihadist groups like Islamic State in co-ordination with Syria's government. But NATO is worried some of the attacks are hitting rebel groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad - some of whom are backed by the West. So just who is fighting whom in Syria?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Following the old adage, "an enemy of an enemy is a friend" can make for a very complicated geopolitical situation in a hurry.  This video is a nice overview of the complexity without being complicated.   

TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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The threat to France’s Jews

The threat to France’s Jews | Geography Education |
Official figures indicate that over the last two decades the number of antisemitic acts has tripled. Between January and July 2014 official figures show that there were 527 violent antisemitic acts in France as opposed to 276 for the same period in 2013. Meanwhile half of all racist attacks in France take Jews as their target, even though they number less than 1% of the population.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This great, but sobering article was written in January 2015, and unfortunately, the situation has not improved.  There is a lot of demographic changes and migration happening in the Western World right now, and this is but one component to larger forces reshaping the Europe.  Today many in the French Jewish community are now asking the uncomfortable question: is it time to leave France for good?  Antisemitism is not a thing of the past relegated to the World War II chapter of our history textbooks; many French Jewish families were originally from North Africa before they fled in the 1950s and 60s.  Now, France is Israel's largest source of migrants and Europe as a whole has a rapidly declining Jewish population (UPDATE: here is a video showing the French Prime Minister vowing to stop the rise of anti-Semitism in in France).    


Tags: Judaism, religion, Europe, migration, Israel,  France, racism, conflict.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 2:44 PM

It's saddening to see the persistence of such antiquated hatred in the 21st century; for a self-proclaimed age of enlightenment, we continue to act very ignorantly. France has long since prided itself on the ideas of equality and freedom that it put forward to the world during their tumultuous revolution, but that is not being reflected in both its treatment of Muslims and, particularly, its Jewish minority. The fact that 1% of the nation's population accounts for over half of its racist attacks is a jaw-dropping statistic, and indictment of a lack of tolerance as a whole in French society. I often read of the frustration of French Muslims- many of whom are of Algerian descent- who feel ostracized in the nation they call home. A Franco-muslim soccer player, Karim Benzema, summed up this sentiment when he said, "When I am playing well, I am French. When I'm playing poorly, I'm "just" a Muslim." I must imagine that the Jewish population feels much the same way; to feel such open discrimination must make one feel like an outsider in your own home. I hope that the current French Prime Minister, who has said that they plan to take a much firmer stand against this anti-semitism, stays true to their word and takes the necessary measures to insure the safety of ALL French citizens.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 9, 2015 6:18 AM

The mass migration of Jews from Europe is an underreported story in the United States. Many people wrongly assume that Anti-Semitism  ended when the allies emerged victorious over Hitler and his Third Reich. However, the recent rash of religiously motivated attacks against Jews is demonstrating that the historical strand of Anti-Semitism still exists in Europe.  The number of attacks on Jews in France over the past few years is staggering and shocking. The people of France should feel ashamed that such acts are occurring in a nation that prides itself on the rights of man. The problem is much broader than just the tragic events in France. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in many European nations. I would shutter to think that the Western World is entering another period of violence and hatred directed and aimed at the Jewish community. Europe must act fast, or we may end up with an entire continent without a Jewish population.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.

Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong. | Geography Education |
False history marginalizes African Americans and makes us all dumber.

Tags: raceconflict, racism, historical, the Southlandscape, monuments.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Admittedly, I've got a thing for monuments in the cultural landscape.  This is a very nice article for a historical geographer on how memory and heritage are enshrined in the landscape; this process politicizes history in ways that shape the national narrative, and that shapes how we think in past.   Using historical geography to understand the debates in the news?  No way!!  Here James Loewen writes in the Washington Post on the topic for a general audience. 

LoisCortez's curator insight, July 3, 2015 1:05 AM


ed alvarado's comment, July 4, 2015 12:31 AM
Thats amazing
Rebecca Cofield's curator insight, August 5, 2015 6:22 PM

Admittedly, I've got a thing for monuments in the cultural landscape.  This is a very nice article for a historical geographer on how memory and heritage are enshrined in the landscape; this process politicizes history in ways that shape the national narrative, and that shapes how we think in past.   Using historical geography to understand the debates in the news?  No way!!  Here James Loewen writes in the Washington Post on the topic for a general audience. 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

U.S. military commitments

U.S. military commitments | Geography Education |

"The U.S. is bound by treaties to defend a quarter of humanity. Could this drag Americans into a war?"  

Tags: conflictUSA, war, political.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, September 16, 2015 1:26 PM

Even though U.S are bound by treaties to defend her allies, it's the political leaders that will be the decisive factor on an full-scale war or not. Depending on the nation's interests risking a full on war will result in catastrophe for both sides. The U.S could simply aid her allies and send in a few thousand troops and supplies to help. Getting fully involved in another nation's war would just backfire and in some cases make the situation even worst. 

Fred Issa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 4:20 PM

With all of our Mutual defense Treaties, that we agreed to protect about 25% of the world's population, could this get us entangled into new wars? A must read. Fred Issa,

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It wasn’t just the Armenians: The other 20th century massacres we ignore

It wasn’t just the Armenians: The other 20th century massacres we ignore | Geography Education |

"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."

Tags genocidepolitical, conflict, war, refugees, empirecolonialism, historical.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 28, 2015 9:48 AM

units 2,and four :(

Padriag John-David Mahoney's curator insight, April 28, 2015 6:18 PM

I have often thought about this. The Armenian genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century, but was largely forgotten. Very few- VERY FEW- American students learn about it before college or high school. What do we learn about? The only genocide I remember being taught in school was the Holocaust- the Jewish Genocide at the hands of Nazi Germany. But there was also the genocide and apartheid in Rwanda and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. My father taught me all about all of these genocides. There is a statue outside Auschwitz concentration camp with the inscription "Never Again". But what have the many organizations done to prevent or reveal such atrocities? I don't see the Shoah foundation standing up for the Armenians now, or the victims of the Cambodian or Rwandan genocides. I believe the inscription on that statue truly means ''Never the Jews''

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South Africa xenophobic attacks: How did we get here?

South Africa xenophobic attacks: How did we get here? | Geography Education |

"As attacks against foreigners and their businesses rage on, killing at least six people this week, other nations in the continent are scrambling to evacuate their citizens from South Africa. But this is not the first time xenophobic violence has exploded in a country that tries to portray itself as a diverse 'rainbow' nation.

What triggered this week's attacks? They started after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said at a recent gathering that foreigners 'should pack their bags and go' because they are taking jobs from citizens, local media reported. Shortly after his comments, violence against immigrants erupted in the port city of Durban."

Tags: South Africa, Africa, conflictracismethnicity, migration.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 7:07 PM

This was an interesting article to read, because it deals with a topic that I know almost nothing about. While I am, of course, familiar with the larger idea of xenophobia, I did not know that it is such a persistent and violent problem in South Africa. It seems that citizens of South Africa are concerned about their jobs being taken by immigrants and local businesses being undermined by foreign owned businesses. Immigrants have also been blamed for increased crime and poverty rates. 


This article just goes to show that regardless of time or geographic location, xenophobia will always exist and for the same reasons. Most Americans will remember how hot button an issue immigration was in the early 2000s. U.S. citizens were concerned that immigrants from Mexico and South and Central America were flooding into the country in alarmingly high numbers and were poised to take jobs away from Americans. This atmosphere seems to be echoed in South Africa and the attacks that have occurred there as a result of xenophobia. This is especially significant in a country where xenophobic tensions have shaped politics and social relations for so long. Unfortunately, South Africa just seems to be yet another link in the continuing trend of xenophobia that continues to occur across the globe. 

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:30 PM

South Africa has always had major issues with race and ethnicity, especially in recent years. this has continued to get worse and worse, and it must be hoped that eventually the situation will be sorted out.

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The Armenian Genocide-100 years

The Armenian Genocide-100 years | Geography Education |

“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.”

Seth Dixon's insight:

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.

TagsArmenia, genocidepolitical, conflict, Turkey, war, refugees, empirecolonialism, historical.

Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, April 17, 2015 7:37 PM


Cada año el 24 de abril, día de la conmemoración del Genocidio, nosotros los armenios recordamos la injusticia de un crimen que rara vez se reconoció y a menudo negó rotundamente.

Era el 24 de abril de 1915, cuando los intelectuales armenios, profesionales, editores y líderes religiosos de Constantinopla fueron detenidos por las autoridades otomanas - y casi todos ellos ejecutados. Durante la Primera Guerra Mundial, el Imperio Otomano mató a tres de cada cuatro de sus ciudadanos armenios. La mayoría de los armenios vivos hoy son descendientes de los pocos sobrevivientes ".

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 1, 2015 4:17 PM

I have to be honest, I never knew we had a Genocide Remembrance Day.  As I get older, there seems to be a day for everything.  This is a horrific act.  Unfortunately, as we've seen historically many countries have tried this.  There is never a good outcome.  It's atrocious that we could ever standby and not do something.  

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 6:24 PM

Unit 3

For most of the world, the Armenian Genocide is the slaughter we know almost nothing about. But every year on April 24,Genocide Remembrance Day, Armenians all over the world 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