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The Geography Classroom
Linking geographic concepts to human and environmental issues
Curated by Elisha Upton
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As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey

As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit

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Joshua Choiniere's comment, December 18, 2012 11:23 AM
This is really interesting professor
Eliana Oliveira Burian's curator insight, December 28, 2012 6:34 AM

How to handle it?

 

Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, January 8, 2013 1:15 PM

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world.  Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries.  The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war.  This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty. 


UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.

 

Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.

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Ghosts Of Rwanda

This chilling documentary outlines the historical genocide of Tutsi people predominantly by Hutu's in Rwanda during 1994. So often, students who have always lived within a society with effective political institutions are unable to see how such atrocities could even happen. This video lays the groundwork for understanding the disintegration of political institution within Rwanda, reasons the international community underestimated the threat, why the UN in 1994 (after Somalia) was not prepared to use forceful action and why westerners fled. In this state of lawlessness, the cultural tensions and colonial legacy lead to horrific killings. This genocide has no one reason, but a complex set of geographic contexts. This would be a powerful video to show students. WARNING: considering the content, there are necessarily depictions of death.  To learn more about the documentary, see: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ghosts/


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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 31, 2012 12:30 PM
In this situation I look at America and I can't help but ask "Why didn't you help?" These people were getting killed for no good reason, and we as a nation knew this and did nothing. I'm ashamed that we didn't aid them, my heart goes out for the Rwandan people.
Nick Flanagan's curator insight, December 12, 2012 8:08 PM

while watching this video i was reminded of the very good film Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle.  The only difference is while Hotel Rwanda is based on a ture story, this is a real life look at what was hapening in this area.  It was sad to see hwat was happening and all I could wonder was why no one decided to hel pthem. 

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The Italians who want to be Austrian

The Italians who want to be Austrian | The Geography Classroom | Scoop.it
It is Italy's richest province, and has been part of the country for almost 100 years - but some in South Tyrol just do not feel fully Italian.

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Scarpaci Human Geography's curator insight, December 14, 2012 11:13 AM

Questions to Ponder: How to political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line?  What elements are a part of a regions heritage?  Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages?  How does devolution impact the whole country?

Allison Anthony's curator insight, December 14, 2012 1:46 PM

Take note Kate and Johnny!!

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 30, 2014 8:14 PM

Being an eighth Tyrolean, I remember my great uncles and other family members complaining about this at every family reunion. Newer generations in my family would refer to themselves as Italian, and the arguments would ensue. That being said, it is no surprise that those living in what was once Tyrol have faced conflict. Historically, peoples with languages, cultural heritages, or religions that differ from the rest of a country usually hold grievances. During the time of Mussolini, Italians were encouraged to move to the northern reaches and Italian was forcibly taught in the school systems. Italy's past of forcing the Austrian speaking Tyroleans to assimilate into a more Italian culture may remain, but fortunately, they have worked to preserve their culture. The bilingual nature of this region allows for the people to thrive in business and tourism. Unfortunately, this autonomous state is facing dark times as Italy's financial crisis puts pressure on South Tyrol by increasing taxes. Many see this as a continuation of Italian oppression on a not so Italian demographic. 

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Decades After Siege, Sarajevo Still Divided

Decades After Siege, Sarajevo Still Divided | The Geography Classroom | Scoop.it
Twenty years ago this week, the Bosnian war began with the siege of Sarajevo, the longest in the history of modern warfare. The siege ended more than three years later, leaving 100,000 dead — the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

 

Ethnic and political conflict led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.  This NPR podcast is a good recap that shows the devolutionary forces of ethnic, religious, cultural and political differences that led to tragic violence and ethnic cleansing. 


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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 8, 2013 3:54 PM

These stories are never pleasant.  It seems Europe after World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union were left in a strange middle ground.  With so many cultures, religions, languages all on one continent, its not hard to believe that Europe has been the stage of so much conflict all throughout history.  People are and always have been intermingling between countries.  Many of the countries in Europe are easy to travel throughout, such as a car or bus ride which may only take a few hours in some cases.  This gives easy access for immigration in which history shows that people try to flock to opportunity or to where there are people similar to them.  These patterns can sometimes be unwelcoming to current citizens and lead to violence and cleansing in extreme cases, all because of disagreements based on beliefs and traditions.

After all the wars fought, looking at Europe as a whole is tricky.  Though the countries all have political boundaries and jurisdictions, the lifestyle and what goes on within the borders can be very segregated.  Even in the 21st century, the divisions of people in the same country, holding the same citizenship, shows that things aren't always as good as they seem.

Devon marzo's curator insight, February 6, 2014 12:37 PM

This article show political because the population is protesting against the government 

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 17, 9:36 PM

It's interesting to see a country's government want to maintain ethnic divides rather than bridge the gap between the two groups. This reminds me of a portion of my Anthropology class last semester on the Rwandan Genocide. Afterwards, the new government attempted to bring everyone together and tried to erase the racial differences that caused the conflict in the first place. It did this in an attempt to solidify power and to gain further control. In my mind, I see this reaction as the more logical one than keeping the races at odds with each other. Judging by their own smaller "Occupy" movement and from the commentary within the article, it seems that some in the country are ready to put past old feelings and become united as a country.