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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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devolution

Why Somaliland is east Africa’s strongest democracy

“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.

Source: www.economist.com

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When Rich Places Want to Secede

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.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

Catalan independence crisis escalates

“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.”

Source: www.bbc.com

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

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

Catalonia

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.

Source: www.youtube.com

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

“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.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

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.

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

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

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.

Source: www.bbc.com

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

Source: www.youtube.com

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.

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.”

Source: www.youtube.com

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.

London Should Secede From the United Kingdom

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.

Source: foreignpolicy.com

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.      

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