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A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next

A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Prof. Arnon Sofer sets out the link between drought, Assad’s civil war, and the wider strains in the Middle East; Jordan and Gaza are also in deep trouble, he warns

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In this article Professor Arnon Sofer begins to make the link between the conflicts in Syria and all other middle eastern countries with high birth rate and drought. Over the last 60 years the middle easts population has doubled but their water supply has not in fact it is 85% desert and Turkey has siezed much of the water that flowed into Syria. Many people have begun digging illegal water wells pushing the water table even lower and civil wars throughout Syria have broken out in the areas hit hardest by drought. 

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 11:25 AM

The article explains how population growth, climate change, drought, and water shortages could have contributed to the rise of war in Syria. This is an interesting interpretation, one which certainly could have been a contributing factor, but not all the Arab Spring can be attributed to water shortages so it is not a direct cause. The water shortages in Syria and a lack of government response certainly could have fanned flames which already existed due to an oppressive regime and regional conflicts. Climate change gets a lot of attention for the potential damage it could do to the environment, but I had not given much thought to the conflicts it could cause between nations and peoples.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:22 PM

Egypt may be the next country to be in deep trouble. With so many militant attacks coming out of Egypt to being with there is no surprise that the Middle East thinks it will be next on the list.

Pamela Hills's curator insight, July 18, 2014 8:37 AM

 A world at war and hot spots are growing with people caught in middle <3

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Iran's 'Jerusalem Day': Behind the rallies and rhetoric

Iran's 'Jerusalem Day': Behind the rallies and rhetoric | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Iran's annual al-Quds - or Jerusalem - Day, denouncing Israel, is as much an expression of policy as ritual, writes BBC Persian's Siavash Ardalan.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Every year Jerusalem Day brings millions of people into the streets for support of the Palestinians and  the denouncing of the Isreals. The idea was proposed in 1979 during deepening tension between Lebon and Isreal. Jerusalem day is supposed to be about Jerusalem but the slogans are all about death to Isreal, it has turned into an occasion about the political mood in Iran. Any politican in Iran that wants to gain power must be heard giving speeches aboout Isreal, and with the ever changing social media it helps to spread media clips, video, and photos of this important day throughout Iran    

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 4, 2014 8:39 PM

The people of Iran gather to celebrate Jerusalem Day. Each year millions of people come together to express their hatred towards Israel and support towards Palestinians. They rally and some people including politicians give speeches. Speeches by President Ahmadinejad even included the denial of the holocaust.  

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:19 PM

This day is pro-Palestinian and is a must-go-to event for politicians. Any politician that wants to be heard or even listened to in the future must make their way to this parade of protests and Iranian rituals.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 8:07 PM

considering that this is an annual holiday, and considering that there are the television shows that depict the Jews as bent on world domination and as using the blood of christian children to cook bread during Passover, i don't think we should potentially giving them nukes.

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Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous.

Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous. | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Oil-rich, velvet-rope-poor Azerbaijan, a country about the size of South Carolina on the Caspian Sea, would very much like to be the world’s next party capital.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Azerbaijan is tiny about the size of South Carolina, home to 9.2 million people, it produces nothing the world wants and has no major unviversities. So why is it such a big deal? It has Oil. Back in 2006 they began pumping oil from the caspian sea and with the help of BP they now pump one million barrels of oil daily. If the proposed pipeline running from turkey to Austria is built it could bring in billions of dollars a year. Azerbijan is overwhelmingly Muslim and buys advanced weapons systems from Israel in exchange for oil, they are a new member of the UN and sided with the US against Russia on the issue of Syria. Azerbaijan is making a rise in the world all thanks to their oil goldmine  

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Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:52 PM

Azerbijan a country on the west coast of the Caspian sea is a very well equipped area with oil. This country also has the waterway in and out of the Caspian. Because of the oil and minerals that this country has they are becoming increasingly rich and gaining strength in the middle east. 

Anneliese Sjogren's curator insight, December 10, 2015 9:43 PM

I didn't know that Azerbaijan was an oil rich country before reading this. I think that it is interesting how it is compared to Dubai, since I have heard more about that country than Azerbaijan.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 3:13 PM

By the looks of it, a tiny nation about the size of South Carolina, Azerbaijan wants to be exactly like Dubai. They want to be famous for what they have. It appears as if they will use their crude oil resources as their help to the top of the world. They will be quite the impressive country if they come out to be what they want. With help from the petroleum country BP, they are pumping oil out of the Caspian Sea. 

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A Barrier to Peace

A Barrier to Peace | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

"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 insight:

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. 

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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.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 2:56 PM

We have seen walls in our class on pictures and videos but it usually is dividing tourists from natives, rich and the poor, even racial reasons. One of the comments made in this article was it felt safe with a prison atmosphere which statistics show that a lot of inmates who are released end up as repeated offenders because they had no other life except prison life. They are accustomed to it and know the rules and know how to live. I guess that is how these people feel. Culturally though they will not expand and experience only what their culture has to offer what will happen when they get old and the birthrate does not keep up with the death rate? I couldn't live like this.

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Anger Over Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt

Anger Over Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Protesters upset over an American-made video denouncing Islam attacked the United States Consulate in Libya, while Egyptian demonstrators stormed over the walls of the United States Embassy in Cairo.

 

The idea of anti-U.S. protests in the Middle East and Northa Africa on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 was initially quite shocking. As always, a greater understanding of the cultural context and timing helps explain (not necessarily justify) the situation. The video produced by "Sam Bacile" that has sparked the controversy is truly reprehensible and as cultural insensitive as it gets. Still, the protests, by blindly lashing out at the United States embassy, only exacerbate the cultural problems. 

UPDATE: This public gathering of Libyan's in Benghazi to apologize for the death of Chris Stevens is quite poignant.  

 

Questions to Ponder: How does one single YouTube video impact geopolitics?  Culturally speaking, what makes this such a powerfully charged issue?  Will this issue become fodder for the election? 

 

Tags: MiddleEast, political, culture, Islam, religion.


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Protestors were upset over an American made video denouncing Islam and attacked the United States Consulate in Libya and demonstrators stromed over walls of the United States Embassy in Cario. The video was insensitive and sparked anger throughout many. With the way the internet reaches and how social media works many more people in far reach areas are able to view these videos and create problems like this.

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Don Brown Jr's comment, September 18, 2012 6:33 PM

This video effects geopolitics in the region in a number of ways as the US may find itself bearing the brunt of the Islamic world reaction from this video since the producer was a American. The fact that Jewish donors provided funds for the film will likely further strain relations between Israel, the United States and the Islamic countries. Likewise in the upcoming 2012 election how both parties choose to address this while trying to appeal to “Christian” voters will add another layer of complexity to this issue.
This video is a clear example of just how interconnected the world we live in today really is and how a single actions can affect many others creating unforeseen consequences. Hopefully the lesson that can be learned from the “Innocence of Islam” U-Tube trailer is that people need to be more cultural sensitive when it comes to displaying public information that can be easy diffused around the world. The largely negative reaction from the global Muslim community has shown us that we cannot afford to be ignorant or cultural incentive to others in an increasing globalized and connected world. However another lesson that both the US, Libya, Egypt and the world at large should take note of is that nations should not become the focal point of acts of violence due to the actions of a few individual whether it is a terrorist or Sam Bacile. We in the West need to take into account that in the Muslim world there isn’t really a separation between church and state like there is in the here so religious matters affect every aspect of society. We should also take into mind that this was also the case in Europe not to many centuries ago, remember the Middle Ages and the inquisition.
Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 31, 2013 10:31 AM

On the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th in the United States, anti-U.S. protestors attacked Benghazi due to their anger toward an American-made YouTube video that denounced Islam.  It is amazing to see the impact that one single Internet creation can have.  It shows the power that particular media and social outlets such as YouTube and Facebook have.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 2:18 PM

I remember reading about this, and I had hoped at the time that tensions between the US and much of the Islamic world might have improved by now. However, that has sadly not been the case; violence in Iraq and Syria have continued to breed bad blood between the West and North Africa. The attack in Benghazi helped to give conservative groups the necessary ammunition to continue their attacks on Islam and certainly did not help public perception of the faith, breeding further hatred within our own country. Although many Libyans congregated to apologize for the violence, the region has not stabilized and anti-US sentiments are still rampant in pockets, much like they are throughout the region. The legacy of this attack has had serious ramifications for US-Muslim relations, and I can only hope that the situation does indeed change in the next 3 years, much like I had hoped they would within the previous 3.

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From Victim to (Mutual) Aggressor: South Sudan's Disastrous First Year

From Victim to (Mutual) Aggressor: South Sudan's Disastrous First Year | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
The new African country, founded in part to escape from the northern government's violence, is showing some hostility of its own.

 

Independence for ethnic/religious groups, while culturally satisfying, does not necessarily solve all the problems within a region.  South Sudan's 1-year anniversary shows that even though they have a short history, it has been marked by ineffective governance and social instability.  


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The fighting between the Republic of Sudan and south Sudan belongs to a different category of armed conflict, a product of internal politics and external pressures suspisons both real and imagined that launched an uncontrollable war, a war that could have been prevented.   

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 28, 2013 11:53 PM

This shows that gaining your independence might be hard, but the actual creation of the new state is harder.  Sometimes the new governement will impose the same methods the old "mother" country used that caused the split int he first place.  They need to ask themselves the hard questions about their actions: Are we turing into the old country?  Are we swapping one repressive and agressvie government for another?  Again one needs to look to the past, learn form it and not make the same mistakes..or else what I like saying...history will repeat itself.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 10, 2013 5:32 PM

This is probably a bad comparison, but say an expansion sports team has just been created for the new upcoming season.  There are new players, new equipment, and new managers to run the team.  Many of these new areas probably have little to no experience with each other professionally, so therefore flaws are inevitable.  In a way, the only way to go is up and mistakes which surely will be made can be used to change for the better in the future.  That being said, a new country with new officals, flags, and economy to name a few are all in a "trial run."  No one should expect them to suddenly become prosperous and great over a few years span.  Just like a new team, a country takes time to develop, people to gain comfort, and regulations and norms for people to follow.  I mean, even Rome wasn't built in a day.

Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 26, 2013 4:39 PM

This war could have been prevented. The Republic of Sudan and South Sudan are fighting over problems that may or may not exist.  Independence does not always solve the problems within a region, as shown in the case of South Sudan.  

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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.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Honduras is the worlds most violent country. It has a mix of drug trafficking , it is politically unstable and has a murder rate that is four times that of Mexicos. The peace corp has even withdrawn its volunteers and contributors to the violence are the poilce. One of the problems with the police corruption is that Honduras is a big drug trafficking stop, the other problem is that the US funds the Honduras police force 50 million a year.  

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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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The role of social networking in the Arab Spring

The role of social networking in the Arab Spring | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
A case study for our World Development text book...

 

How useful was digital technology, particularly social networking sites, to democracy protesters in Tunisia and Egypt?  How important are the democracy protests in the Middle East and North Africa to world development?  Social media has fundamentally changed the cultural and political paradigms. 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Social networking sites and digital technology is useful for news gathering, connecting and co-ordinating groups and individuals. Mobile phones can take pictures of what is going on and share them in a second and tv for the reporting of events around the world. 

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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, November 1, 2014 9:40 PM

While we sit here on Facebook and Twitter for a way to connect with friends, share photos of our vacations or follow our favorite celebrities every move places in North Africa and some of the Middle East are using social media to change their country.  In countries like Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt people have used these social media sites to disperse information to the general public.  Where a rally will be held, a map of where police forces will be located, and what to do in the event teargas is used are all topics for discussion on social media.  With the use of these websites a larger group of people are able to take part in the overthrow of the government.  With leaders restricting the access to the web even more people were intrigued to join the protests.  When people can't follow along on the internet the events they decided to go take part in the events themselves.  With the use of these social media websites the Arab Spring in these areas was able to be as successful as it was.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 27, 2015 5:27 PM

I think it is important that technology plays a role in these revolutions. Before, if a revolution happened, the dictator could just silence its population. Now the population has things like Facebook and Twitter to mobilize their plans of attack for meeting places and advice about how to confront the government. As such, the power of the citizens has grown and according to the article some argue it was this power that made the government officials in Egypt and Tunisia stand down. I tend to agree since the coverage of the event helped increase the size of the demonstrations.  

 

I love that these protests for democracy are being led by the citizens. Since the citizens actually want this type of government, there is actually a chance that this might  be what the country needs. As you mentioned during the Solar Diem video, what works for one society may not translate to another. The author of this piece is more than likely from a western democracy given how the author thinks "democratic change offers the only solution"  to issues like poverty and internal strife within "Arab" countries. Yet, that isn't the case in the Middle East. By forcing a democratic revolution on Iraq,  the region is more destabilized than it was under the harsh command of Saddam Hussein. As you mentioned in class, Iraq needed a dictator like Hussein to keep peace though. So as helpful as technology might be  for democratic revolutions, democratic revolution might not be the answer to every countries problems.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 2:46 PM

The Arab Spring owes its origins to the mass use of social media websites to get organized and launch the protests that ultimately overthrew several dictators in the region. Social media was crucial for the movement to spread like wild fire, as young people all over North Africa and the Middle East banded together against the tyranny of their governments. Protests broke out in every capital of the region, noticeably in Cairo, where the protests briefly transcended ethnic and religious disputes in the name of freedom for all. Although the movement has long since fizzled out in the face of increased violence, instability, and the lack of a consensus among protesters as to what their next move should be, the Arab Spring served as a powerful example as to extent of which the Internet will now play in global affairs. It is a powerful tool that has completely revolutionized the way we live our everyday lives, and it has completely changed the game for much of North Africa and the Middle East.

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How did Pakistan get it's name?

How did Pakistan get it's name? | Meagan's Geoography 400 | 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.   


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to this region and named it Pakistan. The name was created by a group of students at Cambrige University and used the names of their homelands. Punjab, Afghania  Kashmir, Iran ,Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan is an acronym! 

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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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Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests

Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
The proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York caused outrage when it was announced two years ago. Now days after the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the facility opened last night to no opposition.

 

This is an intriguing swing based on the initial reaction a few years ago about this Islamic cultural center.  Why the fervor 2 years ago?  Why the silence now?  These are worthwhile questions to explore with our students. 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In my opinion trying to stop the building of this was awful. American prides itself on being the land of the free and that includes freedom of religion regardless of what the horror that took place on 9/11. What was done on 9/11 can not be blamed on a whole population, race, or religion when it was the doing of one group. The rest of these innocent people who were are part of the United States of America were just as affected as the rest of us and it is good to see that this building was allowed to happen in peace.

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Emma Lafleur's curator insight, February 3, 2013 11:02 PM

I wrote an essay two years ago, before Park51 opened, about the controversy surrounding it. Later, when I heard that it had finally opened, I was relieved. There were so many problems that the Islamic center faced because there was a lot of tension due to the center's proximity to Ground Zero. The Muslims need a place like this, especially close to Ground Zero to portray how it was terrorist groups that committed the terrible crimes and attacked the country and not the Islamic religion. In recent history, the US has had many problems with many Middle Eastern countries based on differences in beliefs, and the acceptance and tolerance of this cultural center portray how people can overcome these differences and not profile people based on religion, race, and ethnicity.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 6:49 PM

The outrage over the "Ground Zero Mosque" several years ago was incredibly senseless and entirely discriminatory. This mosque was not on Ground Zero ans was in fact several blocks away, the only reason this became an issue is that select news sites (Fox) built up the issue relying on many Americans' Islamophobia in order to help their ratings and further the political cause of a select few. This is shown to be true as now no one is concerned at all as the story is "old". The actions of our biased media is disgusting at times.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 6, 2015 11:06 AM

This was a very interesting development.  Even more interesting was the reaction by many of the public.  On first glance, I guess it is understandable for one to say that it is "odd" developers decided to build a Muslim "mosque" within blocks of the 9/11 attacks.  Then after a little research you should be able to rationalize the situation and put it in perspective.

 

For beginners, it is not a "mosque" but a "community center" of sorts.  Secondly, I would ask critics whether they think a Christian church should be allowed in Oklahoma City, considering Terrorist Mcveigh of the 90's bombed buildings there.  Just because a certain "type" of individual commits a crime does not mean every person associated with that person's ethnicity or religion should be outcasted. One would think that this behavior would have been destroyed after the "mongolian" camps of California in the 1800's and the Japanese internment camps of the 1900's.  It is amazing that America being such a "civilized" country continues to react in such "savage" ways.

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Complexity in Syria

Complexity in Syria | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
A color-coded map of the country's religious and ethnic groups helps explain why the fighting is so bad.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Syria is a complicated country as you can see from this map. The map shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of Syria, and many of the groups are swirled together. The brown areas represent the Kurds who have been long oppresed, there are also Druze and  Arab Christians, Armenians and others. Syria is run by the Alawites which is the greenish grey color they may only be 12% of the population but they are a massive part of the war. Many people believe that the war began for political reasons but spiraled into old divisons deeper and more vicious.  

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 2, 2014 6:19 PM

This map shows tha tthere are an overwhelimg amount of Arabs especially in centeral Syria. And then on the coast lline it is mostly mixed with pink representing the overwhlming other majority.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 2, 2014 8:11 PM

It appears from this article that Syria is a complicated country. The map shows the different ethnic and religious groups of Syria, along with other groups, all of which live within a small area. Syria, along with other countries within the Middle East have been faced with one serious issue or another. Many different people live within a very small area; those people practice different religions and are ethnically and culturally different. Unfortunately, being different in this part of the world may get you killed.   

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 1:25 PM

Maps such as this one are very valuable when trying to understand conflict.  In Syria and the greater Levant area, unbalanced power and representation in politics is the result of many different religious and ethnic groups living in such close proximity each other, allowing conflict to become very invasive.

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The Geography of Chechnya

The Geography of Chechnya | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
The Caucasus region, dominated by the imposing Great Caucasus mountain range and stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, has long been known as one of the world’s ethnically and linguistically most diverse areas.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

After the Boston bombing most poeple tend to think that Chechnya is home to terriosts but it is more than that. Chechnya is home to over 100 languages but four main langauge families. The ethnic situation is just as complex and and correlates closely with languages. The southern part of the region consits of languages such as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. Along with these languages most people are of the christian religion but some are muslim as well. In the north they speak Turkish, Iranian and Chechens. 

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Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 19, 2013 10:16 AM

Most Americans had never heard Chechnya before the Boston bombing in April 2013. Now, most think that it is full of America-hating terriosts. However, Chechnya is so very complex and diverse a place, that it is ludacris to think that. Over 100 languages are spoken in the country. The southern half speaks languages such as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. Turkish, Iranian and Chechens are the languages you will probably hear in the North. Another misconception is that there are many Christians in Chechnya as well as Muslims. This country is made up of so many different groups, it is incredible. 

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 2014 9:27 AM

It is amazing to consider such a small area (the size of New England) could hold such a vast area of languages.  The mountainous region certainly helps in creating such diversity as it isolated villages from each other in the ages before modern communication and travel.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 6:46 PM

This map does a fantastic job of highlighting the cultural diversity within Russia and the former Soviet states. Understanding how these cultural regions overlap one another is paramount in understanding the region's tensions and the repercussions that result including Chechen terrorism in Russia and even in America (Boston bombings).

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Cartography And Conflict

Cartography And Conflict | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
A newly issued Chinese passport featuring a map that lays claim to disputed territory with several neighboring countries is only the latest case of cartographic aggression.

 

"Maps, like statistics, can lie — or at least tell only one side of the story. As often as not, they can belie the level of actual governmental control or the ethnic and social realities on the ground. And competing views over 'who owns what' invariably fuel nationalistic fervor."


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Maps can lie, or at least only tell one side of a story. China sparked an international uproar over their new passports that features a map of China. The map includes territories claimed by India, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan.

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Flo Cuadra Scrofft's curator insight, March 24, 2015 1:23 AM

The article points out various cases in which cartography has been used not to show geographical data and the boundaries of different countries, but had rather been used to show political ambitions. Some examples are the map of Guatemala that included Belize as part of it, which dates from a decades-old territorial dispute between the two countries; the recent approved Chinese passport, which includes a map of the country that contains territory claimed by India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan; and the different maps published by Peru and Chile that included different sea borders, an issue that dates back from more than 100 years.

Reflection- as the article says, "maps, just as statistics, can lie". It is crucial for people not only to know how to interpret maps, but also to be aware of their source and the history behind a map drawn in a different way. I think maps, in order not to be misleading, should show updated information of the boundaries between countries, and should not, by any means, show the territorial desires of a particular country.

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The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet

The Corner Where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan Meet | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
In the dusty triangle where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan meet, there is more than one war going on.

 

Geopolitically, there is a fascinating confluence of competing interests at this border.  This is "the scariest little corner of the world." It's a dangerous place that is often beyond the authority of any of state.  It also represents (depending on how you divide the world up) at the intersection of the three major regions in the area: Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.      

 

Tags: Afghanistan, political, borders, MiddleEast, SouthAsia, Central Asia, unit 4 political.


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

This is a dangerous place with no authority. This area is filled with fighting, bombing and constant war. But this area is also an important intersection for three major regions Central Asia, Middle East, and South Asia. 

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Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 2014 11:35 AM

A meeting of different worlds at a border. I can't imagine the things one would see or hear living or growing up on a border of conflict such as this. Refugees are a common site, and no authority can dominate the others, making the area effectively lawless.

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 13, 2014 3:19 PM

This note talk about the place in the desert where three hostile countries confront each other on the infinite war.

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History of the India-Pakistan Border

History of the India-Pakistan Border | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
The weird, violent history of the Indo-Pakistani border.

 

Geography rarely makes sense without the added lens of history.  This fantastic article chonicles the history of the geopolitical conflict between India and Pakistan, centering on the disputed Kashmir region.  This border is tied into colonial, cultural, political and religious layers of identity.  As one of the great unresolved issues of the colonial era, this standoff may loom large as India becomes increasingly significant on the global scale.     


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

This article chonicles the history of the conflict between India and Pakistan, focusing on the disputed Kashmir region. The violence over the border is spurred by religion and political issues. But with India increasingly becoming bigger in a global scale what does that mean for this conflict with Pakistani? 

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, November 12, 2013 7:41 PM

Colonialism rears its ugly head again, this time not in Africa but in India/Pakistan..but with the same result.  Borders drawn arbitrarily did not work in Africa, nor did it work in India.  It just casues the people there to try and work out and fix problems that the former colonial rulers casued.  They tried here to do it so that there was a land for the Muslim population to have a nation on the subcontinent and not subject to Hindu majority rule.  However Britain never looked at what would happen with a area that had a Hindu leader with a Muslim population.  He wanted to be independant, but the Muslim population wanted to go to Pakistan, so he went to India for help...sound confusing..it is..much like the Northern Ireland/UK/Republic of Ireland debate..there is no easy answer and it looks like we have to try to fix colonialism's problems again.

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Protests, Self-Immolation Signs Of A Desperate Tibet : NPR

Chinese authorities have tightened security around Tibet after a series of demonstrations by Tibetans demanding more religious and political freedoms.

 

How are China's renewed efforts to control Tibet and the Monks protests geopolitically intertwined?  How does this impact the region? 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

China has tightened their security around the Tibetan monestary and the monasteries seem to be emptying out. Monks have been setting themselves on fire in protest against Chinese repression. This is a sign of desperation from the monks.  

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James Hobson's curator insight, November 21, 2014 7:52 PM

(East Asia topic 5)

What I gather from this video is that China sees all political resistance as being specifically aimed at its own demise, but I believe this to be false. Rather, it seems in this sense that the country's judgment has gone blind in a power rage. Never will an entire country agree on everything (or even one thing for that matter). This resistance seems to stem from diversity and the desire to maintain it, and examining historical geography proves diversity to in fact be a desirable trait and major strength. Just as the famous 13-sectioned snake cartoon from the American colonies shows, success lies in diversity. "You can't have cities without farms to feed them." I mention phrases such as this because they show the yin-yang struggle for equality and balance for greater good, which  hopefully China (especially since it is an Oriental concept and symbol) will learn from and apply in its policies towards minority groups within its borders.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:47 PM

China's efforts to control an area that identifies itself as a separate entity from China has been met with some extreme examples of protests. Dozens have monks have committed suicide to protest China's forced control over Tibet. Although this is causing international support from the US and others it seems like China will not change its ways. Another thing to keep in mind is China's position in the UN. As a permanent member of the security council China has the right to veto an UN resolution that could address the issues in Tibet.

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Egypt's NGO crackdown

Egypt's NGO crackdown | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Tensions rise in Cairo as Egyptian forces raided the offices of human rights and pro-democracy groups.

 

When there is a new political regime, what impact does it have on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating within that country?  While many NGOs attempt to stay out of partisan politicals so as not to compromise the future of their organization or cause, sometimes the cause is in direct conflict with the policies of the regime.  


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Egyptian security forces stormed the offices of 17 human rights and pro-democracy groups across the country causing harsh critism and threats toward Egypt from the US that they would freeze aid. 

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Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs

Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

The financial crisis surrounding the Euro has led many to feel that supranational organizations and regional coalitions are more trouble than they are worth.  The OAS (Organization of American States-which the USA is a part of) may dissolve and the CELAC might be its successor.  The CELAC's (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) emergence shows that the United States "is declining in a region it once called its 'backyard.'"  Spain is also diminishing in influence among its former colonies are forging new economic and political ties while Mexico and Brazil are exerting more regional influence. 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The United States influence is delining in an area it called "its back yard". Along the financial crisis causing this, it has also begun to declin Spains influence in there former colonies as well. I think this could be a good thing as far these areas finally getting out from under other countires control even though they have been free for so long. But it could be bad because know that they are doing things on their own what will they do   

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Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union'

Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union' | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Russian PM Vladimir Putin calls for the formation of a "Eurasian Union" of former Soviet republics, but says it will not be like the defunct USSR.

 

Russia's cultural influence over former Soviet Republics is strong, but the desire to strengthen these old ties is deeply embedded into the cultural ethos of Russia.  It is also a key part of Russia's geopolitical strategy for greater international influence and economic strength.

 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Putin is calling for a Eurasian Union. He said it would change the political and economical configuration of the continent and have positve global effects. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already formed an ecomonical allicance and it removes customs barriers. Putin has however denied that he is propsing for the recreation of the Soviet Union.  

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 13, 2013 10:16 AM

So is this just to compete with NAFTA and the EU on an economic level?  Or is this to compete with the EU on economic, political and military level, much like the EU's EuroCorps?  Putin states thie is not a return to the USSR, but Russia has always been weary with the growing of NATO and the EU on its borders.  How about if Turkey gets int the EU right on the Russian border?  This action might move thie bloc creation even more forward and Putin might become more forceful to its creation.  No that former KGB member Putin is foreful.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:26 PM

It is more than understandable that former Soviet satelite states are weary of any kind of union with Russia. However, some sort of treaty could benefit the block, particularly an arangement like the one already held between Russia, Belarus, and Kahzakstan. An agreement that would ease travel between the two countries appears to have little downside.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:11 PM

it can hardly be considered surprising that Putin wants another version of the USSR. every other major nation has some form of organization that it is a part of, and with Russia left alone it must now desperately scrabble for some alliance or union with any other nation.