Search

GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Tag

political

How to Recapture the Muslim World’s Lost Hope

1979
Understanding the events of 1979 is crucial for those trying to figure out a better future for today’s Middle East.

What happened to us? The question haunts us in the Arab and Muslim world. We repeat it like a mantra. You will hear it from Iran to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and in my own country, Lebanon. For us, the past is a different country, one not mired in the horrors of sectarian killings. It is a more vibrant place, without the crushing intolerance of religious zealots and seemingly endless, amorphous wars. Though the past had coups and wars too, they were contained in time and space, and the future still held much promise. What happened to us? The question may not occur to those too young to remember a different world, whose parents did not tell them of a youth spent reciting poetry in Peshawar, debating Marxism in the bars of Beirut, or riding bicycles on the banks of the Tigris in Baghdad. The question may surprise those in the West who assume that the extremism and bloodletting of today have always been the norm.” SOURCE: The Atlantic

This opinion piece is a somewhat controversial, but that is part of its value.  The core of the author’s thesis is that to understand the modern Middle East, especially if one is searching for a way to create a more democratic Middle East, we must look to the past to see how we got there.  1979 is seen here as the pivotal year that changed the trajectory of the Middle East, in large part because of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, but for many other region-wide changes.  A nice pairing would be to also read this discussion from the NY Times about the rise of MBS as the key prince in Saudi Arabia, looking to reform society and reform movements in Saudi Arabia while crushing his opponents.  Both are articles are book excerpts.

Questions to Ponder: What were the big shifts that occurred in 1979?  What are things that you think that the author gets correct about their historical analysis of the Middle East? What are some positions where you disagree with the author?

GeoEd Tags: Middle East, political, Iran, Saudi Arabia.

Delhi riots: City tense after Hindu-Muslim clashes leave 23 dead

Mosque
Mosques have been vandalized as religious strife grips Delhi.

“The deadliest violence in India’s capital for decades leaves 23 people dead and scores injured.” SOURCE: BBC

It is so disheartening to see the news that India is undergoing a wave of religious unrest.  As citizen and immigration laws have been enacted that have a religious component to it, many feel that this is unfairly targeting Muslim migrants and refugees.   Some see this as the beginning of a delegitimization of Muslim citizenship within India. As people are protesting these laws, there are groups that are also a violently clashing with protesters in the streets.  Some are targeting Mosques, and the police have been unable to keep the peace.  This is some nasty business that I hate to see anywhere, but if you need an example of how religion can be a centrifugal force in a country, this is a perfect example  Here is an NPR podcast (and article) that also nicely covers the topic.

GeoEd Tags: India, South Asia, conflict, political, religion.

Economies of South America

“Data from IMF, World Economic Outlook, April 2019

There are many stories in this video in the nearly 40 years of economic history of South America since 1990.The two most important stories portrayed (or at least the most dramatic) in the animated chart are decline of Venezuela’s economy and the rise of Chile’s.  This video can act as a primer to get students to consider the regional context of economic growth as well as the differing historical, political, and geographic context that leads to distinct results in any given country.

GeoEd Tags: South America, Latin America, economic, historical, political, video.

Hong Kong Protests

6ade85e2-cd68-11e9-9cec-db56b3c139e7_image_hires_141751

“What began as a targeted protest against a controversial extradition bill in June has transformed into what feels like a battle for the future of Hong Kong. Protesters are not just fighting their local government. They’re challenging one of the most powerful countries on earth: China.”  SOURCE: Vox–9 Questions about Hong Kong protests

They have been protesting for months in Hong Kong, at first about the extradition bill, but now about so much more as well.  The government has backed down, and withdrawn the hated extradition bill, and now it’s remains to be seen if the protestors will continue with their demands or will be appeased with this compromise.  China doesn’t back down very often with their citizens so this still a potentially volatile situation.

GeoEd Tags: China, East Asia, sovereignty, political, conflict.

South Africa is the world’s most unequal nation

“Despite 25 years of democracy, South Africa remains the most economically unequal country in the world, according to the World Bank. If anything, South Africa is even more divided now than it was in 1994 as the legacy of apartheid endures. Previously disadvantaged South Africans hold fewer assets, have fewer skills, earn lower wages, and are still more likely to be unemployed, a 2018 World Bank report on poverty and inequality in South Africa found.”

Source: edition.cnn.com

This CNN article takes a shocked tone, but that removes South Africa from it’s historical and geographic context even if the outcome is unfortunate (as a bonus for educators, the article has a GINI reference in its analysis with the data charts).  Time’s cover story is more detailed and nuanced.  In the late 1980s, the apartheid system was becoming untenable; the injustices and discontent make the apartheid government unable to govern.  Both the government and activists recognized that change was necessary and compromises were needed to allow South Africa to move from the apartheid system of racial separation to nonracial democracy without falling apart.

The post-apartheid government guaranteed that while political power would be transferred, economic power would still stay ensconced in the hands of the land-owning elites, since there was to be no massive land redistribution. Neighboring Zimbabwe had disastrous land redistribution attempts and everyone wants to avoid economic chaos.  Land reform will be be a key issue in tomorrow’s election (see this BBC article for more election issues).     

GeoEd Tags: South Africa, Africa, race, ethnicity, political, economic.

Scoop.it Tags: South Africa, Africarace, ethnicitypolitical, economic

India Is Changing Some Cities’ Names, And Muslims Fear Their Heritage Is Being Erased

"A generation ago, long before Modi (and the BJP) was in power, right-wing Hindu nationalist leaders in Maharashtra state renamed Bombay as Mumbai — a nod to the city’s patron goddess Mumbadevi. Other cities followed: Madras became Chennai; Calcutta, Kolkata; Bangalore, Bengaluru. All the changes were a rejection of Anglicized names that came into use during British colonial rule. In the most recent wave of name changes, it’s not about erasing colonial monikers. It’s about erasing Muslim ones."

Source: www.npr.org

Indian officials have been altering toponyms to be more Hinducentric; this is a results of growing Hindu nationalism as an important element of modern Indian politics.  In another thematically similar, but regionally distinct example, we can see how place names matter in American cities.  When large corporations (like Google or Amazon) move in to a city,  the corporations might try to rename the neighborhoods and, in a sense, rebrand the place.    

Both examples show that the cultural landscape, including the names on them, are not just a passive reflection of the cultures that have shaped these places; they manifest the power dynamics of competing cultural groups seeking to assert their vision of place and culture to be physically manifested in public spaces. 

 

GeoEd Tags: culture, political, place, toponymsIndia, South Asia, Hinduism, historical.

Scoop.it Tagsculturepolitical, placetoponymsIndia, South Asia, Hinduism, historical.

 

Will the Supreme Court End Gerrymandering?

"Justices will be reviewing the case of North Carolina, where Republicans drew a map to maximize their power in the House. Plaintiffs challenging the map say it’s unconstitutional. A companion case centers on Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, which Democrats admit they redrew in 2011 to make it harder for the Republican incumbent there to win re-election. The two cases hold the potential to set the course of American politics for generations."

Source: www.nytimes.com

Questions to Ponder: Do you trust the politicians that are in charge of your state to create better districts than a computer-generated set of districts that are optimized for compactness?  What are some of the potential limitations of compact districts?  Would an independent committee/bipartisan group do a better job?

GeoEd Tags: gerrymandering, political, mapping, cartography, unit 4 political.

Tags: gerrymandering, politicalmapping, cartography, unit 4 political.

Kazakhstan renames capital of Astana to Nur-Sultan

"Astana has been renamed as Nur-Sultan, as a tribute to former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who recently resigned. Astana replaced Almaty as the capital in 1997 and boomed from a minor provincial steppe town into a futuristic city. The name Astana literally means ‘capital’ in Kazakh and there has long been speculation it could, at some point, be renamed after the leader who shaped it."

Source: www.aljazeera.com

St. Petersburg was the classic example of a forward capital that was renamed after the visionary leader responsible for that change.  The world now has another example of this phenomenon. 

 

GeoEd Tags: political, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

Scoop.it Tags: political, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

Trump: Time to recognise Golan Heights as Israeli territory

“Israel has occupied the strategic plateau since capturing it from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. There are more than 30 Jewish settlements on the heights, with an estimated 20,000 settlers.

There are some 20,000 Syrians in the area, most of them members of the Druze sect.”

Source: www.bbc.com

I had my class all ready to go, and then this happened. The Golan Heights is a small chunk of land, 3 times larger than Rhode Island, is far more important geopolitically than its size would indicate. This land is Israeli controlled, but internationally still considered a part of Syria, much like Russia controls Crimea, but it is still internationally recognized as a part of Ukraine.   Not surprisingly, Syria has condemned these statements from the President of the United States as have many members of the international community

GeoEd Tags: Syria, Israel, political, MiddleEast, geopolitics.

Scoop.it TagsSyria, Israel, political, Middle East, geopolitics.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑