Seeing the World More Clearly
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My escape from North Korea

"As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was 'the best on the planet.' It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope."


Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

A sad but also inspiring story and an enlightening video. I see a lot of people who assume that the North Korean government and the people are one and the same, and that is not the case. It is important to realise the harsh conditions of people living in North Korea to fully understand what is happening in that part of the world. It is hard for people to leave their country and their home, but as Hyeonseo Lee explains, sometimes there is no choice.

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서병기's curator insight, November 6, 2014 7:00 PM

Because of the tragedies of history, there are still scattered family both in South and North Korea. Please hope for the unification of the Korean Peninsula.

Julia Kang's curator insight, November 6, 2014 8:45 PM

So many North Koreans are suffering from poverty. They do not have any food and we should pay more attention to them. This video was quite interesting!

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, November 16, 2015 9:37 PM

This TED talk is amazing and gives you a real life insight on what it is like to be a refugee.. This women's story is one of courage an strength. I was thoroughly surprised at how these people were being punished simply for trying to survive.

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Roots of the Mali Crisis

January 19, 2013—The West African nation of Mali is making headlines after a wave of French military actions on Islamic extremist groups now controlling the northern part of the country. National Geographic Senior Writer Peter Gwin has...

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

   This video clip that is great for learning not only about the situation in Mali, but how history leads to the events of today and how much one country can affect another country.

   When Europe colonized  Africa they created borders that separated groups of people that should have stayed together, and they put different ethnic groups together that should have been separated. With this alone comes great conflict because ethnic groups and neighboring tribes that have had conflicts for years now have to operate under the same government somehow and no one is ever really happy so conflicts arise.

    Also, the Arab Spring broke out which brought on all these new ideas and opportunities for the people to revolt and change their country, and some of the people left Libya after the fall of Gadaffi and went to Mali bringing their weapons and anger with them. All of these events led to the Mali crisis today, and it is interesting to see how much one country affects another country and as a history major I am greatly interested in how the history of the country brings about the events of today.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 1, 2013 10:17 AM

This 6-minute video clip is a good way to help students understand the ethnic and geopolitical context of the Mali conflict.  What impact did the superimposed borders of colonialism have in creating the conflict? 


Tags: Mali, Africa, borders, political, conflict, war, colonialism, National Geographic.

Araceli Vilarrasa Cunillé's curator insight, February 6, 2013 6:37 AM

La crisi propera no es deixa fer prou atenció als canvis geopolítics a l' Africa.

Al Picozzi's comment, July 18, 2013 12:15 PM
The borders were randomly drawn without taking culture, language, beliefs of the native populations etc into account. However drawing borders along ethnic lines didn't work in Europe after WWI. Alot of ethnic minorities were in countires that did not feel welcome. That was one reason for WWII
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Hong Kong and China: Growing apart?

Hong Kong and China: Growing apart? | Seeing the World More Clearly | Scoop.it
The BBC's John Simpson reports from Hong Kong, where the former colony's increasing independent-mindedness is worrying Beijing.

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

Hong Kong has a mix of Chinese heritage and culture and British ideals. They lived under the British rule for so long that they grew accustomed to the British government system and freedoms. When the UK handed Hong Kong over to China, the people of Hong Kong were afraid that the Chinese government would step in and put them under the same system as the rest of China. China decided to allow Hong Kong to have its own system, but Hong Kong still fears China stepping in and forcing them to change and conform to the rules of the rest of China. Hong Kong is now seeing some protesting and some tension from its people about becoming truly Chinese. They do not want to be Chinese, and they do not want to be British either. They want to form their own country. However, it is highly unlikely that China will let Hong Kong go, but I do wonder if the ideals of Hong Kong, like elections, will slowly spread to the rest of China and create tensions that will cause a change in the Chinese government altogether.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, December 11, 2012 11:11 PM

When the rule of Hong Kong transferred from the UK to China in 1997, the Chinese government was careful to ease the fears of those in Hong Kong that they would not have their political and economic systems turned upside down.  "One country, two systems" was the famous slogan to sum up the policy that some felt would simply delay the inevitable.  Today, many of the youth in Hong Kong are demonstrating against what they feel are pressures to do away with their unique status and are bringing back the old colonial flag.  This is not asking for a return to British rule, but a symbolic reference to their distinct history from the rest of mainland China.  Today only 16.6% of Hong Kong residents identify themselves as Chinese, which is the lowest it's ever been since 1997.

Steven Sutantro's curator insight, December 20, 2012 9:06 PM

Interesting facts...that's the interdependence concept of Geography..

Bill Chen's comment, December 22, 2012 9:20 AM
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‘Forgotten Neighborhood’ Underscores Growing Poverty of Gaza

‘Forgotten Neighborhood’ Underscores Growing Poverty of Gaza | Seeing the World More Clearly | Scoop.it
A United Nations report cites widespread shortages of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms amid an exploding population in an area of Gaza.

 

While most slums are symptomatic of issues that would be addressed by an economic and urban geography analysis, the slums of Gaza are different.  Many slum issues are tied to city politics, but in Gaza these slums are also connected to some of the larger geopolitical issues of the region.  

 

Tags: Political, urban, squatter, poverty, MiddleEast, economic, place, unit 4 political, unit 7 cities.


Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

People in the Gaza strip are already fearful Israel around them because of the fighting between the two areas. When people think of Gaza, they think of the Palestine-Israel conflict, but there is much more going on in Gaza. Israel blocks Gaza off from all forms of trade, and although they have a tunnel between them and Egypt, it is not enough. Therefore, there are slums where children do not go to school because their parents cannot afford it, people starve because they have no money to buy food, and people live in small shelters that they built out of some materials they put together and sleep on the ground. This is a squatter community, and, as the article states, there are squatter communities in worse shape, the problem here is that everyone is pointing fingers and no one is trying to fix the problem. Many state that Israel has caused this poverty because of their oppressive control of the area and others state that it is Gaza's government because they are corrupt and new and cannot or do not distribute their food well. This is a problem, but when no one takes the blame, innocent people suffer.

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Jasmine GreenTea's curator insight, February 24, 2014 11:27 AM

Parents in Gaza are not sending their children to school because they have either no money for books, school fees or materials for their school. In Gaza, there is an exploding population in an area and also, people are living in slum conditions and there is a widespread of shortage of food, water, electricity, jobs, hospital beds and classrooms. The fact that the people in Gaza, slaughter lame horses and uses its meat for kebabs because they could not afford beef or lamb, extended my thinking in new directions.

The population of people who are more fortunate is definitely more than those people who are living in poverty. Therefore, I wonder why are those people who are fortunate, not willing to lend a helping hand to these people in Gaza who are living in such bad conditions.

Kayla, Sean, and Max's curator insight, February 24, 2015 1:37 PM

Max

As the population of "The Forgotten Neighborhood" continues to grow exponentially, living conditions only continue to get worse and worse. People go without food, water, or basic services, making the conditions there practically unlivable. Due to corruption and mismanagement, much of the aid sent there to help gets used elsewhere, which causes living conditions to stay poor.

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Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests

Ground Zero "mosque" opens without protests | Seeing the World More Clearly | 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
Emma Lafleur's insight:

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.

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 12, 2013 9:47 PM

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.

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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‘How to Build a Country From Scratch’

‘How to Build a Country From Scratch’ | Seeing the World More Clearly | Scoop.it
The filmmakers present a 12-step program to establish the world’s newest country: South Sudan.

Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

This video opened my eyes to a lot of things about building a country and about South Sudan in general.

       There are so many things that go into building a country, it is not just building the government. Countries need police forces and identities. They need national anthems, flags, taxes, they need a system of keeping their information and their history, and they need a capital city, These all take time to build and create because they start with basically nothing, they are literally building a country from scratch. Also, many countries other than South Sudan are invested in this, the UN is helping them in any way they can and therefore all of the countries of the UN are affected by and involved in this process.

    Also, this video gives a lot of insight into the culture of South Sudan and about its culture. It seems that one of their official languages is English because many people speak it in the video and they were singing the national anthem in English. The video also portrayed their Christian culture in many ways, and it illustrated the lives of its people with their way of life and their dreams and their adjustment to peace from decades of war.

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Cam E's curator insight, March 18, 2014 12:51 PM

This is a really interesting dynamic to look into, as it's not everyday the process of founding a country can be seen at work. That's a true once in a lifetime experience for those involved, and is likely one of the harder jobs in the entirety of history.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 19, 2014 10:46 AM

This video and article highlight the steps a new country takes when it is carved out of an old one.  The problems and tribulations the new country faces and how it responds to the rest of the international community will decide if it will be a long lasting country or just a blip on the road of the original countries history.

Kendra King's curator insight, March 15, 2015 6:33 PM

I think building a country from scratch mostly needs a plan for strong governance. Some of the items mentioned in the video would eventually be necessary (i.e. an anthem or a flag), but not exactly a top priority as the country could function without these. Rather the items like taxes and training the police are hugely important. A society needs the revenue to grow and the police to keep order. However, what disturbed me about this video is there were no other real mention of government institutions. Now I am not saying that the Constitution needs to be exactly like the United States, but the following is needed: a plan for how to treat the citizens, implement social programs, create/review the law, get officials into office, etc. Without looking at these basic questions of government, there is no way the country can function because there aren’t actually the procedures in place when problems do arise.

 

After strong governance, I also think that recognition in our globalized world is needed as well. In order for a country to prosper, the country will need to rely on other nations at one point in time for things like trading. If enough countries just refused to recognize the area and as such refused to trade then the country would more than likely fail. Luckily, Sudan is recognized by the United States and the UN did come to speak with the nation. SO that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

 

To me these are the top two things needed and since one is greatly missing, I am not surprised by the problems Sudan has.  

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California-Mexico Border: Dreams of a Transnational Metropolis

California-Mexico Border: Dreams of a Transnational Metropolis | Seeing the World More Clearly | Scoop.it

"A basic truth about the cultural geography of the California border [is this]—two very different city-building traditions come crashing into each other at one of the most contentious international boundary lines on the planet. In this collision, in the shocking contrast of landscapes, lies one critical ingredient of the border’s place identity."


Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

It is interesting to see how this border has transformed from a fence to a guideline and back over time. Researchers of these two cities can learn a lot about how the events of one country affect the other country, such as in the case of 9/11. This place is also a great place to study culture because it is here where researchers can study a melding of two cultures in action. Overall, this area gives great insight into how two bordering countries affect each other politically, economically, socially, and culturally.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 23, 2013 10:37 AM

As a geographer native to the San Diego region (with family on both sides of the border), I found this article very compelling.  Relations across the border are economic, cultural and political in nature, and the merger of those varied interests have led to an uneven history of both cooperation and separation.  Herzog analyses three distinct factors that have shape the landscape of the California-Mexico border zone: urbanization, NAFTA, and global interruptions (9/11).    


Tags: borders, AAG, political, landscape, California, unit 4 political, Mexico.

Ann-Laure Liéval's curator insight, January 27, 2013 6:29 AM

Les territoires de la mondialisation: les frontières. Une frontière qui se ferme et pourtant, une urbanisation continue mais contrastée. 

Al Picozzi's curator insight, September 23, 2013 9:46 AM

Also have heard stories of Tijuana...you know what happens there stays there.  Much like the Kennedy's in the US, Tijuana got its initial fame and wealth from the alcohol trade when the US started prohibition in the 1920, albeit the Kennedy family did it illegally with bootlegging.  Interesting contrast of building styles and cutures.  The space on the map makes this area what it is.  Without San Diego, Tijuana wouldn't be the same and San Diego wouldn't be the same without Tijuana.  This area also shows a contrast with the Canadian border.  Little or no fences on that border, but here, there are two in some spots, an old onecand a new post 9/11 one.  Why here then are there fences?  Culture too different?  Is it for racial reasons?  Is it just the drug trade and cartels that are all over the area the reason?  Is it US drug policy that makes the fence necessary?  Is it the US policy on immigration that the the fence a necessity?  Is it the worse economic conditions in Mexico or the violence that is forcing the people to run across the border?  Lots of questions and right now it looks like nobody has any real answers.   

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The Next Step in the Islamic Wave

The Next Step in the Islamic Wave | Seeing the World More Clearly | Scoop.it

The Muslim Brotherhood has been gaining power in several countries since the Arab Spring. The rise of Islamist power in the Middle East is culturally and politically complex.  This interactive lets the user click on selected countries to see how groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas are impacting them politically. 

 

Tags: Middle East, religion, Islam, political.


Via Seth Dixon
Emma Lafleur's insight:

This is a great map showing the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East and North Africa. It shows those countries who do like it, and those who do not. The reasons for which a country either likes or dislikes them gives insight into the culture and government of that country, and this map can give some insight into the future influences of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Quran Coaching's curator insight, August 12, 2014 2:13 PM

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Coca-Cola Returning To Myanmar; Now It Sells In All But 2 Nations

Coca-Cola Returning To Myanmar; Now It Sells In All But 2 Nations | Seeing the World More Clearly | Scoop.it
With the country also known as Burma taking steps toward democracy and respect for human rights, Coke is returning after a 60-year absence. What are the two nations where it still won't be doing business?

 

Globalization has made many companies and products ubiquitious throughout the world.  We take their presence as a matter of course, a sign that the largest brands are in essentially every country in the world--but not all.  Until recently Coca Cola was not in three markets, all for political reasons.  Now that Burma is becoming more democratic, Coca-Cola will bring their product to all countries of South East Asia.  Any guesses on the 2 countries that still don't have Coke?

 

UPDATED CORRECTION: Thanks to the great people at About.com 's geography page, I was informed that there are more than just the initially listed two countries (North Korea and Cuba) not within the Coke universe (such as Somalia and East Timor to name a few).  For more on this see: http://geography.about.com/b/2012/06/15/coca-cola-in-every-country-but-three-no.htm


Via Seth Dixon
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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 11:03 AM

Coke is another product that is a worldwide phenomenon. People love their soda (even if its terrible for you). People that migrate from country to country bring with them unique items such as Coke, that the foreigners don't know about. This is how different countries come to pick up on other countries foods and customs.

Cyrena & Chloe's curator insight, October 27, 2014 7:43 PM

GEOGRAPHY: North Korea, although one of the smallest nations in the world, is still arguably the most defiant. They're completely cut-off from the outside world, and they've displayed this once again by not selling Coke in their borders. Being a classic American drink, Coca-Cola is likely viewed as an enemy to North Korea, judging by their hatred of America and its citizens. They're one of only two countries in the world not to sell Coke, and this just goes to show that even though they're physically connected to us, they are isolated from the world.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, November 28, 2015 7:06 AM

Coca Colas return to Myanmar signals a change in the history of that country. The recent democratic reforms in the nation have made it a nation that can be attractive to major international cooperation's.  Coke will likely be the first of many international cooperation's that seeks to return to this market. Often, democratic reforms are initiated  in the hope that it will make the nation attractive to outside businesses.