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Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy

Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Though unrecognized by the international community, the country benefits from a strong social contract between government and citizens."

 

Drop a pin on a map of eastern Africa and chances are it will not land on a healthy democracy. Somalia and South Sudan are failed states. Sudan is a dictatorship, as are the police states of Eritrea, Rwanda and Ethiopia. In this context tiny Somaliland stands out. Somaliland was a British protectorate, before it merged with Italian Somalia in 1960 to form a unified Somalia. It broke away in 1991, and now has a strong sense of national identity. It was one of the few entities carved up by European colonists that actually made some sense. Somaliland is more socially homogeneous than Somalia or indeed most other African states (and greater homogeneity tends to mean higher levels of trust between citizens). For fear of encouraging other separatist movements in the region, the international community, following the African Union, has never obliged [to recognize Somaliland]. Nation-building on a shoestring helped keep Somaliland’s politicians relatively accountable, and helped to keep the delicate balance between clans.

 

Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, unit 4 political, Somalia, Africa.

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Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 30, 2018 9:02 PM
(Africa) Somaliland, an universally unrecognized state in Somalia, recently held it's sixth peaceful election. Originally a British colony that then merged with Italian Somalia, Somaliland declared independence in 1991, leaving the rest of the war-torn and lawless country. Despite their constitution and pursuit of democracy, no other country will acknowledge their sovereignty to prevent other African separatist movements. Usually democratic reform in Africa comes from foreign aid but without external help citizens of Somaliland created a working representative system. Yet, like most of the continent, corruption and delayed elections poses a problem for the autonomous state, and it is hard to tell the future of the only democracy in east Africa.
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 11:14 PM
Although it is not recognized as its own country Somaliland is Somalia's strongest state. Surrounded by dictatorships, Somaliland built a strong state by creating a strong contract between the government the people. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 6:48 PM
Although plagued by many of the problems facing African democracies; corruption, abuse of power and delayed elections, Somaliland remains one of the bright spots of African democratic movements. The natural democratic development of the autonomous state within Somalia has been a prime example of how a relatively stable democracy can develop when people can trust the government and are left to their own means to form a free and open government.
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Catalan independence crisis escalates

Catalan independence crisis escalates | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region. Catalan MPs backed the motion 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by the opposition. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had told senators direct rule was needed to return 'law, democracy and stability' to Catalonia. The crisis began when Catalans backed independence in a disputed vote earlier this month. The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence. But Spain's Constitutional Court had ruled the vote illegal."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Stay tuned, sometimes the status quo changes in unexpected bursts. 

 

Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope.

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Spain crisis: 'stop this radicalism and disobedience,' PM tells Catalan leaders

Spain crisis: 'stop this radicalism and disobedience,' PM tells Catalan leaders | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Spain’s prime minister has called on Catalan separatist leaders to end their 'escalation' as several thousand people took to the streets of Barcelona to protest at Madrid’s attempts to stop a banned referendum on independence. 'Stop this escalation of radicalism and disobedience once and for all.' Catalonia’s president earlier accused the Spanish government of suspending the region’s autonomy after police intensified efforts to stop a vote on independence that has sparked one of the worst political crises since Spain’s return to democracy four decades ago. Spanish Guardia Civil officers raided a dozen Catalan regional government offices and arrested 14 senior officials on Wednesday as part of an operation to stop the referendum from taking place on 1 October."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you are looking for an example of devolution today, this is it.  This situation has escalated as Spain and Catalonia's governments cannot work together.  The referendum was (according to the Spanish government) outlawed but keep an eye on Catalonia over the next few weeks. 
UPDATE: This video from the Economist is an excellent summary of the situation.
 

 

Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope.

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David Stiger's curator insight, September 30, 2018 9:58 PM
The right to self determination is a contentious issue. Both Spain's national government and Catalonia have different perspectives on the matter. Spain does not want to lose one its regional economic powerhouses. Such a fracturing event would make Spain as a whole look weaker as they'd be losing a valuable economic asset. It would send shock-waves throughout Spain and bolster other independence movements. Spain, not wanting to give up ground, is escalating an issue of perceived unfairness. Through federal taxation, the prosperous Catalonian people are putting into the Spanish government more than they're getting out. There are also strong regional differences. Catalonians speak more Catalan than Spanish. In some ways, this situation resembles Canada's French speaking Quebec. Fearing such a loss, Spain is refusing to allow Catalonia to host a referendum which could determine its independence. Either Spain needs to compromise and incentivize Catalonia to remain part of the union or the Spanish government should allow the referendum giving the people an opportunity to be heard. There is a solid chance the referendum's motion towards independence would not pass. In this case, Catalonians might simply feel better that they had a chance and gave the process a shot. Considering Catalonia feels disgruntled, Spain is not helping its image by cracking down on Catalonian leaders by arresting them and messaging to the people to cease and desist. Such insensitive gestures might only be strengthening the resolve of Catalonian secessionists.  
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ISIS and the U.S. Presidential Election

The United States is already taking some steps to roll back the Islamic State (ISIS) and restrict its resources and recruits, including airstrikes, armin
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a non-partisan post and a video that is fairly balanced; this video nicely lays out some of the cultural and political factors that the next president of the United States should consider when crafting foreign policy in the especially problematic Middle East.  

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 7, 2018 2:47 PM
Since this video was made we have already had a Presidential election and policy made to deal with some of these key issues. Within the past year US policy (some continuation from the Obama Era) under President Trump has been to destroy ISIS and for the most part it has be done. ISIS has been displaced from the region, however that does not mean that the fighting in Syria has stopped. There are still many issues in the area and one that will not simply be rectified within a few years, this is a battle that we will see repeat over and over again. Much like Afghanistan, this area is one with much upheaval and when one power goes away another one rises and new problems can arise. It is an area in which, like the video states a major conundrum. How can we support one place and not make a country like Turkey angry (the Kurd's example  from the video)? So one could say well just stay out of the whole area, while that can make sense it is to important as a world leader (especially America) to not be involved in both a key geographical area for Russia and human rights area.  While there is no doubt there has been improvements in the last year, it is the same story in the Middle East, what is the end game? How do we get to the finish line and does anyone have the right answers. 
Matt Manish's curator insight, May 4, 2018 6:15 AM
The video was published before the last presidential election, but some of the information in it is still accurate regarding the crisis  in Syria. For example this video talks about how Syrian refugees are fleeing from ISIS to other nations in order to escape them. There are many refugees being displaced because of the violence ISIS is causing in the middle east. Refugees that need a place to escape to flee to neighboring countries to get away from ISIS. There is still some debate in America about whether or not Syrian refugees should be allowed to enter the U.S. as well. Ultimately something needs to be done about the terror havoc ISIS is reeking in the middle east.
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London Should Secede From the United Kingdom

London Should Secede From the United Kingdom | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Beyond the stunning act that has become Britain’s vote to leave the European Union lies a deeper message: Democracy is not destiny, but devolution. Ceaseless entropy — the second law of thermodynamics — applies to politics as well. The more countries democratize, the more local populations seek greater self-rule.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In his book Connectography by Parag Khanna, he argues that connectivity and networks are more important today.  Using those ideas, Khanna discusses London's options after the recent Brexit vote in this op-ed (this additional article explores the demographic divide on the Brexit vote, especially how many British Millennials feel that their future has been snatched from them).      

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Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, January 19, 2018 12:40 AM

In this article, Parag Khanna argues exactly what the title suggests, "London should secede from the United Kingdom". In light of the UK's decision to leave the European Union, Khanna discusses that "Londoners... voted by a wide majority to 'remain' in the EU" and suggests that many Londoners have lost their sense of British Pride after the secession. Though it is mentioned that the city "can't and won't" leave the country, the exit from the EU directly impacts London's economy because "immigrants are essential for the city’s financial and education sectors". Without the immigrants, the city's finances will not only be in jeopardy, but its connection between foreign places will be impacted as well. 

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Timeline of the Breakup of Yugoslavia

Map animation depicting the break up of Yugoslavia through the series of political upheavals and conflicts that occurred from the early 1990's onwards. Different areas of control are colour coded.

 

Tags: devolutionhistorical, political, states, borders, political, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia.

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Catalonia independence: Parliament votes to start secession from Spain

Catalonia independence: Parliament votes to start secession from Spain | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Spanish region of Catalonia adopts a resolution supporting independence from Spain, but Spain's PM says his government will challenge it.


Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 4:45 PM

I've never heard of this country until recently when I came across a video on youtube about it. In my opinion, Catalonia has the right to secede from Spain because there are many ethnic group wanting their own dependence around the world and it doesn't feel like it's a part of another country. However, it all comes down to politics and Spain wants as much territory as it can get. Plus Catalonia is doing pretty for itself and the Spanish definitely want a part of that.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 6:25 PM

the Catalonia independence movement is just a small part of a large number of regions which were once autonomous and wish to be again. with so many of these areas in Europe the independence movements are finding hard to get support from other nations.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 6:29 AM

Challenging succession is a difficult task. First of all, there has to be a vote by the people and there has to be a strong driving force to get a positive outcome on the vote. The Prime Minister of Spain claims he will try to block it by filing a suit with the Constitutional Court. Succession of a country faces many hurdles especially if it does not have a strong vote to succeed and the opposition vote is strong.

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Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire

Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Animated GIF map chronicling the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire." 


Tagsempire, devolutionMiddle East, borders, historical, map.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 7:33 PM

The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire can be clearly seen at the beginning and the end. They had a massive territory expansion at 1300 and it bloomed from there. from then to 1900 then only had some minor changes with some changes in territory. At the end, in 1900s was the most significant change with the Empire collapsing with the Republic of Turkey being established in 1923.  

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 13, 2015 8:39 PM

A fascinating look into the shifting nature of borders through history. Unfortunately it also reflects many atrocities that also occurred in those years. Geographically the Empire wouldn't last given its difficult to defend borders. Additionally its extremely conservative Political and Cultural nature made it nearly impossible for it to adapt to changing times in technology. Which is ironic in a way because it was their innovation that sparked the Empire and the seizure of Constantinople to begin with. Also it should perhaps be mentioned that the current nation of Turkeys borders are an unnatural creation on the part of the Turks when they were aware their Empire would collapse. This unfortunately also means this map hides events such as the Armenian Genocide to try and purify Anatolia so that the Turks could claim it as its sole homeland while abandoning the rest of the Empire (so in effect they consolidated to try and keep as much land as possible).

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, March 7, 2018 4:08 PM
This is a very simple GIF map, but one that we can look at using other outside materials and really used to our advantage of seeing the every changing Middle Eastern Area. The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman empire is a key geographical and political  fallout from the 1300's until what is now present day Turkey. When you examine the map and see how big the Empire eventually got and what lands it covers we can use this map to interpret some current conflicts like the one in Syria.  Also nowadays we do not think of Turkey as a world power or even a regional power. However, it shows there past history as a world power and that can drive a country (see Russia) to wanting to regain that power. Will Turkey look to regain that power as well? What could they possibly to do to regain this power and how would that effect other Middle Eastern countries. We also can look at the map and realize that the region probably contains many people of Turkish acenstory and what effect does that have on political polices in certain countries that had previously been under the power of the Ottoman Empire. 
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Scottish Independence: New flag for UK?

Scottish Independence: New flag for UK? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Members of the Flag Institute have created designs for what the Union Flag could look like in the event of independence
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've already posted various links this week on Scottish independence and what it might mean, but I think these two are also worth considering.  Flags are the great icons of state identity, and a UK without Scotland might reconsider it iconography.  This links to an article from the Telegraph and a photogallery with 12 'candidate flags' for a UK that does not include Scotland.  Why might some resist the idea of creating a new national symbol?


Tags: devolutionhistorical, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, UK.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, February 12, 2015 11:03 PM

The UK flag is known for representing a union between England and Scotland. It's known as the "Union Jack." The white on the UK flag represents peace peace and honesty and the blue represents loyalty and truth. It's a shame that those two colors have to change to Black and Yellow which I don't know what those colors would represent. If you put a Scottish flag with a UK flag, you won't find any yellow or black so I believe that Scotland is trying to exclude England and Scotland's alike colors such as blue and white and try to create a stronger equal union with England.

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Fragile States Index

Fragile States Index | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe.  The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure."

Seth Dixon's insight:

How can political stability and security be measured?  What constitutes effective governance?  The Fragile States Index (formerly known as the Failed States Index) is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe.  There are  12 social, economic, and political/military categories that are a part of the overall rankings and various indicators are parts of the metrics that are a part of this index are:

SOCIAL

•Demographic Pressures 

•Refugees/IDPs

•Group Grievance

•Human Flight and Brain Drain

ECONOMIC

•Uneven Economic Development

•Poverty and Economic Decline

POLITICAL/MILITARY

•State Legitimacy

•Human Rights and Rule of Law

•Public Services

•Security Apparatus

•Factionalized Elites

•External Intervention


Tags: political, statisticsdevelopment, territoriality, sovereignty, conflict, political, devolution, war.

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Melissa Marshall's curator insight, August 28, 2014 5:57 AM

How can political stability and security be measured? The Fragile States Index is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe.

MsPerry's curator insight, September 1, 2014 2:49 PM

APHG-Unit 4

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Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State

Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Islamic State's capture of the Mosul dam gives it control over the water and electricity supply in northern Iraq."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There is a geography to insurgency.   This dam controls both the energy and water resources in the region, which gives the insurgents/rebels/terrorists greater local power.  On a related noted, this op-ed entitled, "How America Lost the Middle East" has plenty of foreign policy and geopolitical material worth discussing.  


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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 31, 2014 2:00 AM

This is interesting, ISIS is not only using brute force as a scare tactic, but are also taking hold of natural resources as well.  In taking over the dam ISIS has control of not only a majority of Iraq's water supply but their power supply as well.  They are also threatening employees with loss of pay to do what they want.  Closing off some parts of the dam is preventing water to get to people who are in need.  If the dam was to get backed up too much it could have immediate failure creating a devastating flood wiping out areas of agriculture having the potential for mass civilian casualties.  ISIS is not just taking over everything that they can, but have a method to what they are doing.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 28, 2015 1:14 AM

As the director of the Brookings Institution's Doha Centre in Qatar said, "There's a method in their madness. By gaining control of the area ISIS can flood and destroy homes within the region. Furthermore, they can disrupt the flow of electricity and how the land is irrigated. All of this could cause a great deal of damage to the society. In this light the dam is a pretty important part of Iraq. The fact that ISIS Manipulated he land to their benefit it highly intelligent.  


However, if the dam was in the hand of the United States, the area still isn't completely safe. people would perceive it to be because ISIS would no longer be threatening to use it as an immediate weapon. However, the author noticed that the dam needs constant maintenance and is built on unstable soil. Both of which can cause flooding. In fact, the "worst case scenario" would cause far more damage than ISIS has with the dam. 


Clearly, purposefully using the resources of an area to damage a population is more chilling the a poorly made structure because malice involved. However even in the hands of the United States, the dam shows just how dangerous manipulating nature can be on a local population. 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 10:21 PM

This will have an enormous impact on drought for drinking, agriculture purposes or even the opposite.  This strategy could be used to flood the lands ruining agriculture.

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Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state?

Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
As the likelihood of an independent Kurdish state on Turkey’s eastern border grows, Ankara is losing its historical resistance to the idea.


Developments in Iraq have left Turkey facing the prospect of an independent Kurdish state on its eastern border. Such an idea would have been abhorrent for Turkey a mere decade ago for fear that its existence would incite separation among its own restive Kurds. The standard Turkish narrative at the time was that an independent Kurdistan was a Western project aimed at destroying Turkey, an age-old ambition. Even the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was viewed in this context by many. The picture is no longer so black and white.

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MsPerry's curator insight, August 13, 2014 12:44 AM

APHG-U4

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 5:56 PM

The Kurdish people have longed for their own, independent nation for centuries, and it seems like the recent fission of Iraq has opened the door for their dream to become a reality. Although Turkey has long since been opposed to the existence of an ethnic Kurdish state (the result of its own sizable Kurdish minority), the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the subsequent military successes of the Kurds against militant Islamic groups have raised an important question: why don't they deserve their own nation? The Kurds have shown their dedication to the cause in combat, not shying away from the bloodshed that has gripped the region in the name of independence. Although the fracturing of the Iraqi state falls firmly against all official US and Turkey positions on the matter, the reality of the situation is far more complicated, and the supposed benefits of keeping Iraq together are seeming less and less worth the fighting. The Kurds have proven themselves capable of organizing, and they could perhaps add a new dimension of stability to the region.

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Venice wants out of Italy

Venice wants out of Italy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
VENICE, Italy – Venice, renowned for incomparable Gothic architecture and placid canals plied by gondolas that make it one of the most recognizable cities in the world, may have had enough of Italy.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the wealthiest regions of the poorest countries of the European Union are seeking for greater regional autonomy and even independence.  As one resident said, "I have always felt as a Venetian first, and Italian second."  The scale at which people construct their primary identities and political loyalties play a key role to the political geographic concept of devolution, where power shifts from a central authority to more local control.  So independence moves are to start negotiating.  As another Venetian said, "I think we'll end up with a little more autonomy and a little more pride in our city" and not actual independence.


Tags: Italypoliticaleconomic, states, autonomy, devolution.

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Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 16, 2015 7:03 PM

Nobody wants to feel like they're not in control and Venice is no different. Large money making cities or regions often try to break off from their states or countries. New York City has talked about becoming its own state (And with a population of 8.406 million as of 2013, it's bigger than some states) before defending that its taxes aren't going to it and that Albany isn't meeting its demands. Venice is in the same boat (dare I say gondola) and simply wants to have a little more autonomy like way back. Secession is a bold move to make and judging from the article, it seems as if it's not wanted by all and maybe just a little more interest in the region will be taken by the government. Sometimes making bold claims is all that's needed to get what you want.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 7, 2015 2:58 AM

Venice is to Italy as Italy is to Venice.  I imagine it will stay this way forever.  I think if there are wealthy people who want to see the split happen then it will.  But just because a group want a movement started, it won't happen.  I imagine Venice will see a few more concessions in the future if this problem persists.  

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, February 6, 2018 2:53 PM
When you think of Italy a few cities that come to mind are Rome, Florence, Milan, and definitely Venice. So seeing the headline kind of shocked me "Venice wants out of Italy." While the article is from 2014 it is still an interesting read, as other places in the world have had similar problems as we continue to see a major shift in our population to cities and less spread out among the rest rural areas. As the article explains some of the reasons for wanting to leave is the history of the city itself and the pride of the people that live their. As shown in some of the pictures you can see some of the great architecture and as most know it is one of the most recognizable cities in the world. However, what further is explained that many of the people that live there are getting tired of paying millions of dollars in taxes to help support regions in southern Italy that can not support themselves. This money is being sent to the federal government to keep the country's economy stable, but not be given back directly to Venice. This can become a problem all over the world as we see cities starting to support other parts of rural areas and are not giving back to the actual city in which they live in. As cities become overpopulated with high taxes they have become mini-countries themselves. What will be the first city we see break off from a country?  It will be interesting, will it be Venice? Probably not, but who knows.  
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When Rich Places Want to Secede

When Rich Places Want to Secede | Geography Education | Scoop.it
At the core of Catalonia’s separatist movement is an argument that a country’s better-off regions shouldn’t have to pay to cover their less productive counterparts.

 

As a relatively rich region with its own independence movement, Catalonia's not alone: A small set of secession movements in historically productive areas, most visibly in Europe, say they’d be better off on their own, and more are pointing to Catalonia's example to regain momentum.

The common wisdom used to be that separatist movements mostly came from weak minorities that rallied around racial or ethnic injustices. “With globalization, that changed significantly,” said Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, a professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics (LSE). “Virtually everywhere in the world,” movements have swapped out the “identity card” for the “economic card.”

Inequality between regions is baked into the entire concept of modern nationhood—if subsidizing poorer parts of a country were motivation enough to split off, every region would have done it by now. Plus, there are economic perks to staying together: Trade is easier across internal borders, and diversified regions diffuse risk.

 

Tags: Cataloniaeconomic, political, devolution, autonomyEurope.

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Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 5, 2018 8:43 PM
Interestingly, this is something going on all over the world in many different countries. As different regions find themselves separated by economic or social inequality they look to secede. These tensions increased in Catalonia, and in the UK, and is also growing as we see different proposals for California and Texas to secede from the United States. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 3, 2018 8:45 PM
Catalonia separatist movement is one of the most prominent separatist movements in the world (along with Northern Ireland long standing issues). The people of Catalonia feel it is not fare for them to hold up the poorer areas of Spain, and wish for more autonomy. These economic reasons have pushed a large independence movement in the region of Catalonia. Against Spanish parliamentary wishes they attempted to hold a vote to secede. This vote was then broken up by force by Spanish police, and many were even arrested. Many fear this use of force could lead to more drastic measures of Catalonia independence. Though this most likely will not happen without heavy outside support.  
othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 7:33 AM
This article talks about the citizens of Catalonia wanting independence from Spain. Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions in Spain. They contribute billions of dollars in taxes to Madrid. The citizens of Catalonia find it unfair that they have to help out poorer regions in Spain. However, if Catalonia was granted independence, it could lose up to 20% of their GDP overnight and this could also cause conflict. Many other countries are also following Catalonia's example in their separatist movement towards independence. 
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Somalia: The Forgotten Story

Part I: The story of Somalia's decline from stability to chaos and the problems facing its people at home and abroad.

Part II: The ongoing civil war has caused serious damage to Somalia's infrastructure and economy. Thousands of Somalis have either left as economic migrants or fled as refugees. Within Somali, more than a million people are internally displaced.

 

Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, unit 4 politicalmigrationrefugees, Somalia, Africa.

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David Stiger's curator insight, November 10, 2018 10:50 PM
Somali's unique geographic position, an intersection of Africa and Asia, designated it as a prime target of European colonialism during the 19th century. By controlling the Horn of Africa, European powers (the Italians, English, and French) could control the flow of spices, natural resources, and trade between Africa and Asia. The colonial order is what initially set up Somalia to fail in the long-run. The European powers carved up the land, giving Somalia culturally and ethnically inaccurate and illogical borders - convenient artificial borders that divided the tribes. When Somalia was finally granted its independence in 1960, Europe left the fledgling nation with problematic borders. After political turmoil in the form of an assassination and a military coup in 1969, the general Siad Barre ruled through dictatorship for 20 years. Desiring to correct historical injustices, Barre invaded Ethiopia in 1977 to reclaim the rightful area of Somalia. Barre's army defeated, the country lost its sense of nationalism leading to a rise in tribal factions and warlords. The country spiraled into civil war and the national government collapsed in 1991. Since then, portions of the country have been stuck in a constant state of civil war and turmoil, while other parts of the country are doing well. What is so tragic is that this all goes back to the poorly drawn borders of European colonialism. 

Neo-colonialism, primarily in the form of third party exploitation, now wreaks havoc on Somalia's economy. European, Indian, and Chinese fishing ships have been illegally fishing in Somalia's waters (another geographic asset) prompting young men to raid and attack the foreign vessels. The original goal of the "pirates" was to scare off and drive away the foreign fishing boats which had taken over the waters. The foreigners merely paid off the young Somalis who boarded their ships. In a country with limited economic opportunity, this inspired young men to raid with the hope of being paid off. The news media made it seem like these "pirates" were simply lazy and went out of their way to raid innocent foreign vessels. There was little blame attributed to the illegal foreign activities. 
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Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Some 100 people are arrested after protests against using French in Cameroon's English-speaking region.

 

Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s. The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions - eight are Francophone and use the French civil law. English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination. They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language. Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon's largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.

 

Tags: language, colonialism, CameroonAfrica, culturepolitical, devolution.

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Introducing ISIS

"The invasion of Iraq was supposed to turn the country into a democracy that posed no threat to the United States, or the rest of the world. Thirteen years later, Iraq has collapsed into three warring states. A third of the country is controlled by ISIS, who have also taken huge amounts of territory in Syria. VICE correspondent Ben Anderson gains exclusive access to the three front lines in Iraq, where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting for their lives. Anderson visits with the Russian military forces in Syria, meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan, and interviews US policymakers about how the situation in Iraq spun out of control."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Many young students are especially baffled at how a terrorist organization can seize control of large chunks of territory.  If you are looking for a good video introduction that explains how and why ISIS was able to gain power and than gain and maintain territory, this is it (it's classroom safe despite the source). 

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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FORMER CATALAN MP: Here's why Catalonia should secede from Spain, and why it won't

FORMER CATALAN MP: Here's why Catalonia should secede from Spain, and why it won't | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"What a non-independent people fear most is the possibility of being swallowed up by the dominant alien culture in their midst, and that's the likely outcome for Catalans under the Spanish rule. Don’t be surprised if they increasingly opt out of Spain and choose outright independence instead...there will never ever be a self-defeating Spanish government willing to risk losing Catalonia: 16% of its population, 19% of its G.D.P., 24% of its exports, a net provider of 20 billion euros ($22.3 billion) in siphoned taxes every year."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This op-ed piece is overtly pro-Catalonian independence so there is no attempt to be fair and balanced, but that bias is a strength because it so clearly frames the political and cultural issues from a Catalonian Nationalist perspective. This article is a great way to show students how some members of a particular group that is seeking greater autonomy or independence perceives the relationship between their region and the larger state.


Questions to Ponder: How might a representative of the Spanish government frame the debate differently? What are key reasons that the author does not envision full Catalonian independence soon? How would you frame the issues? What other example do you think is analogous to this political situation?

Tags: op-ed, Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Bridgitte's curator insight, March 2, 2016 2:24 PM

This op-ed piece is overtly pro-Catalonian independence so there is no attempt to be fair and balanced, but that bias is a strength because it so clearly frames the political and cultural issues from a Catalonian Nationalist perspective. This article is a great way to show students how some members of a particular group that is seeking greater autonomy or independence perceives the relationship between their region and the larger state.


Questions to Ponder: How might a representative of the Spanish government frame the debate differently? What are key reasons that the author does not envision full Catalonian independence soon? How would you frame the issues? What other example do you think is analogous to this political situation?

Tags: op-ed, Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomy, Europe, culture.

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Why Somaliland is not a recognized state

Why Somaliland is not a recognized state | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"SOMALILAND, a slim slice of Somali-inhabited territory on the southern shore of the Gulf of Aden, ticks almost all the boxes of statehood. It has its own currency, a reasonably effective bureaucracy and a trained army and police force. But it has yet to receive official recognition from a single foreign government in the years since it declared independence in 1991. To the outside world, it is an autonomous region of Somalia, subject to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in Mogadishu. Why is it not a state?  Throughout the post-independence era, geopolitics in Africa has tended to respect 'colonial borders', i.e. the borders laid down by European colonial powers in the 19th century. Across the continent, there have been only two significant alterations to the colonial map since the 1960s: the division of Eritrea from Ethiopia, in 1993; and South Sudan from Sudan, in 2011."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Somaliland is a 'pocket of stability in a chaotic region.' The global community fears that granting recognition to a Somaliland might led to further devolution, even if the unrecognized government is functioning.  This is an excellent article from the Economist that demonstrates some of the key requirements to be a state, political and regional geography.  For another example of political geography of aspiring states, here is an article about the limited prospects of a future Kurdish state.      

 

Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, unit 4 political, Somalia, Africa.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 19, 2015 6:35 PM

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 19, 2015 6:35 PM

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Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 4:55 AM

Like many new developing countries, it is hard to overcome the hardships to prove that you deserve to be recognized as a new nation. Being recognized as a true nation means that there is political and economic stability within a country. The area where Somaliland is located is very unstable. Its parent nation, Somalia is very unstable. For example, in Somalia, there are pirates who hijack mariners and take them and the vessel hostage. Stability within a country is a major aspect for the international community to look at to recognize new countries.

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Forget Sykes-Picot. It’s the Treaty of Sèvres That Explains the Modern Middle East.

Forget Sykes-Picot. It’s the Treaty of Sèvres That Explains the Modern Middle East. | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Ninety-five years ago today, European diplomats gathered at a porcelain factory in the Paris suburb of Sèvres and signed a treaty to remake the Middle East from the ashes of the Ottoman empire. The plan collapsed so quickly we barely remember it anymore, but the short-lived Treaty of Sèvres, no less than the endlessly discussed Sykes-Picot agreement, had consequences that can still be seen today. We might do well to consider a few of them as the anniversary of this forgotten treaty quietly passes by.


Tags: devolutionhistorical, political, states, borders, political, Turkey.

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Tania Gammage's curator insight, August 19, 2015 12:32 AM

Geography, Science, Legal Studies

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Scottish Independence

"Scotland is about to vote on whether to secede from the UK. There are solid arguments on both sides."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Admittedly, this video is filled with stereotypes, bad words and a strong political bias all delivered in John Oliver's trademark style--it's also filled with incorrect statements which I hope most people can recognize as humor, but it captures college students' attention.  If, however, you are looking for a more insightful piece, I recommend Jeffrey Sach's article titled "The Price of Scottish Independence," or this summary of the 9 issues that would confront an independent Scotland.  Independence in Europe today doesn't mean what it used to, and this vote will be fascinating regardless of the outcome.    


Tags: devolution, supranationalism, politicalEurope, UK.

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Maria la del Varrio's curator insight, December 5, 2014 5:21 PM

I support Scotland independence! Mother England should understand the current Scotland need more freedom of speech and decisions. This a good example of a peacefully claim of independence, instead of the bloody war (remember England?). The video... Is too funny to take it seriously. 

Louis Mazza's curator insight, February 27, 2015 12:34 PM

Scotland is vying for its independence from the United Kingdom, becoming free from London and its own Country. Here john Oliver analyzes the issue and provides a decent background history while stabbing lots of jokes and puns into his commentary. So basically England and Scotland got into an arranged marriage as Oliver phrased it, forming the United Kingdom some 300 years ago. Oliver goes on to say Scotland got the bad end of the philosophical relationship, setting up reasons for Scotland ambition to possibly leave. For the last 2 ½ years there has been a campaign for this independence, where Scotts feel they can better run the country they live in. Scotland is a liberal country ran by the conservative country England. These are the reasons that set up this split.   

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, March 8, 2015 2:27 AM

This video is hilarious and John Oliver pokes fun at the Scottish, the little brother trying to lobby themselves for independence. Great video to watch hilarious, and also informative at the same time.

 

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Scotland's Decision

Scotland's Decision | Geography Education | Scoop.it
From Catalonia to Kurdistan, nationalist and separatist movements in Europe and beyond are watching the Scottish independence referendum closely.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This issue reverberates on many different scales.  As the video embedded in this article demonstrates,  Scotland's choice on September 18th would obviously impact the local region as some seek to use Scottish history as a rationale to reshape the current political and cultural identity of the region.  Some of the votes are already in and Scottish independence would not only have the potential to reshape the UK and EU, but it could also add some fervor to the various other separatist movements around the world, such as Catalonia.  


Tags: devolutionhistorical, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Barbara Goebel's curator insight, September 13, 2014 5:00 PM

Compare and contrast Scotland's bid for independence with events leading to American independence. How does a culture decide to change its political geography?

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 8:01 PM

It is interesting to see how globalization does as much to bring us together as it does to rip us apart. The exchange of ideas, goods, and people has hugely impacted the lives of everyday citizens and the nations that they call home, where divisions among people are felt more keenly as the competition in today's global economy grows stronger. Catalonia, the region that has done much to keep the economy of the Spanish nation afloat, and Catalans are eager to shed the "dead weight" they feel they are carrying; the Basque region has long since demanded its independence, and we have already seen the fracturing of the Balkans. In some instances, perhaps separation is for the best. However, I feel like these movements are the result of knee-jerk reactions to the current economic climate and deep, underlying hatreds that have no place in the current world order. Spain has been one nation for hundreds of years, as has the United Kingdom; to suddenly dissolve these unions in the name of century-long feuds seems not only unnecessary, but almost child-like. There is enough hatred in the world- why let us continue to divide amongst ourselves when history has shown that people in these regions can coexist and can consistently pull through these difficult periods. It is one thing to be proud of being Scottish- it is another to ignore the economic and political realities of what Scottish independence would bring for its people for the sake of this nationalist sentiment. I, for one, was relieved to see Scotland vote to remain a member of the UK. Separatist movements across the continent have been quieted, if only for another few years.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 6:16 AM

The Scottish vote for independence would have broken up a modern United Kingdom. Many Scottish folks feel that it is time to separate from a parent country where there are many other countries that are involved. Becoming independent is not an easy task. There has to be a vote and a strong position for those separatists to succeed in getting a victorious vote.

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Why Paris doesn't want a Scottish Yes

Why Paris doesn't want a Scottish Yes | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Nothing unites different nations quite like mutual enemies. But the 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France - both historic rivals of England - doesn't mean that the French government favours Scottish independence. Far from it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Historically, France has supported greater autonomy or independence as a way to limit English political power and influence.  However in the era of the E.U. and greater regional integration, modern geopolitics makes this old alliance untenable as some in Scotland are seeking independence from the United Kingdom.  

 

Tags: devolutionhistorical, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, geopolitics.

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Kevin Barker's curator insight, August 19, 2014 1:59 PM

I was surprised to listen to the affection that Scotland and France have towards each other but I wasn't surprised to hear France's concerns about the further division of countries within the EU.  What is it about the independence of Scotland that causes the French government to be concerned?

MsPerry's curator insight, August 25, 2014 8:30 PM

APHG-Unit 4

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 2014 6:50 PM

Even though in past years France and Scotland have been friendly and wanted the best for each other, Scottish independence is not on the list of things to do for France.  They have good blood together, sharing foods, music and alcohol at festivals there is no need to worry about any hatred happening even if the French does not back Scotland's independence.  While some think that France would think that areas like Brittany and Corsica would want independence from France that is not the reason.  To keep checks and balances in place a strong United Kingdom is needed to keep Germany in line.  With the independence of Scotland, the UK gets a little bit weaker and France is not okay with that.

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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Geography Education | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Titles like the one for this article, 40 maps that explain the Middle East, are becoming increasingly common for internet articles.  They helps us feel that we can explain all of the world's complexities and make sense of highly dynamic situations.  While we can all agree that maps are great analytical tools that can be very persuasive, sometimes we can pretend that they are the end all, be all for any situation.  Maps can also be used to show how something that we thought was simple can be much complex and nuanced than we had previously imagined, as demonstrated by this article, 15 Maps that Don't Explain the Middle East at All.  Both perspectives have their place (and both articles are quite insightful). Not connected to the Middle East, but East Asia, this article entitled Lies, Damned Lies and Maps continues the discussion of maps, truth and perception. 

 

Tags: MiddleEast, conflict, political, borders, colonialism, devolution, historical, mapping.

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Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 16, 2015 12:47 AM

It is interesting to see the same trends over and over again.  These maps are a great tool to show the history of the area, as well as the history of religion and political views.  I appreciate the information provided since the Middle East has undergone the most transitions (going all the way back to Mesopotamia) and its history can be confusing. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 7, 2015 10:18 PM

These 40 maps are a very interesting way of showing how people have traveled around and moved about the Earth from the time of the fertile crescent era to the people of today. It shows us the paths that people have taken to move to a new location. How they used the Meditteranean Sea to move from one side to the other. It also shows how the Tigris and Euphrates came together to form a smaller area of the Persian gulf. This led to smalled economic growth because now there is less land for imports and exports.

Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 13, 2018 3:49 AM
Being able to explain any region in just 40 maps is a very bold claim. While no one would be able to do this Vox was able to make a very interesting set of historically, culturally, and politically themed visualizations of this continuously changing part of the world. Some maps show the borders of an empire past, others discuss the many ethnic groups that call the region their home, and yet another discusses the importance of oil and who has it. 
 
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Iraq's Current Devolution

"A radical fringe Islamic group names ISIS is fighting to establish a extremist Islamic state in Iraq and Syria...and beyond. They control eastern Syria, western Iraq, just took control of Iraq's 2nd largest city of Mosul and are advancing on the capital Baghdad.  In this podcast, the professor John Boyer outlines just a few of the contributing factors to why this significant event is taking place, the geographic/historic background of the state, and the consequences for the future of the region."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you haven't yet discovered John Boyer, a.k.a. the Plaid Avenger,  I recommend exploring his site.  He has numerous resources for world regional geography and current global affairs.  His colorful persona is highly entertaining for college age-students as his class attracts over 3,000 students each semester (you can decide for yourself whether that personality works for you and your classroom).  This particular 'plaidcast' discussion focuses on Iraq's current devolution and possible total collapse. 


Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsborders, colonialism, devolution.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, June 23, 2014 5:27 PM

unit 4

Michael Mazo's curator insight, October 6, 2014 8:04 PM

Iraq's position in regards to the militant groups has steadily affected the countries global and economic status in more ways than one. As these militant groups such as ISIS continue to grow then so will their territory and intensity of self-less acts. Not only are these groups a disease to the world but they affect the way our global economy works. ISIS controls oil fields and vast amounts of land in Iraq, Syria and other middle-eastern countries. In my opinion, America's decision to fire airstrikes onto these militant groups could be both good and bad. Good because it will decrease the amount of ISIS members but bad because it could be an incentive for ISIS to cause further damage and chaos in reference to revenge. At this pace, ISIS and other such groups will gain claimed territory in which will come at the cost of innocent lives of women and children. They must be stopped before issues get worse.