Geography AP Reading Project 2… TASK

Project 2…Non-Fiction Task

Why blog writing?

Scholarship and personal learning grows with the written word.

  • The written word is a primary device for acquiring meaning, evaluating understanding and sharing perspectives. Not unlike the expansion of culture, ideas and technologies, during global exploration, today’s online reality has expanded the potential to engage in discourse far beyond our borders.
  • Connected learning and dialogue is the new commerce. Blogs are a platform that exchanges content beyond the level of a status update.
  • Often credit and/or personal courses include ‘response’ evidence.
  • Your feedback builds academic capital for KSS and future students.

Assessment:

Organizer notes with references to your book choice. The notes must be :

  1. One(1) or more blog comment below and
  2. One(1) REPLY to (1) student comment(s) for a book other your own.
  3. Criteria:
    1. Comment:
      1. proficient exam writing,
      2. with a paragraph(s), your book’s connection to the main Human Geography themes.
      3. Provide a minimum of (1) quote.
    2. Reply
      1. proficient written feedback
      2. with a sentence(s), 
      3. includes mindful feedback and a POV

41 thoughts on “Geography AP Reading Project 2… TASK

  1. Guns, Germs and, Steel explores the inequalities of the world from the point of view of geography professor Jared Diamond. Inspired by his travels to New Guinea, Diamond is passionate about finding a realistic thesis as to why certain countries have reached development whereas others continue lives of nomadism with few material possessions. Diamond’s hypothesis can be summarized in three words: guns, germs and steel. In combination, these three elements created an unstoppable force of conquest and development. The key factor in global development then lies in the diffusion of these elements from their hearths. Diamond focuses the majority of his argument on the basis of cultural determinism, claiming that geography was the main determining factor in the development of society. As agriculture and the domestication of animals began in specific hearths (the most important of these hearth being the Fertile Crescent), areas in close range and with similar lines of latitude could most easily adopt these practices. These areas advanced while other areas did not.

    Diamond’s novel centers around the themes of geography in order to support his thesis and explain global inequality. Location is mentioned several times as the novel compares several absolute locations including the Middle East, Europe, New Guinea and South America. These locations are all further explored using the theme of place and sense of place. What sets these locations apart, as Diamond explains, is their varying levels of development and use of agriculture. The theme of place sparked Diamond’s interest in the topic of inequality as he noticed that areas around the world have contrasting senses of place. This sense of place was created by the third theme of geography: human/environmental interaction. Diamond explains that the core to the development of the world was the initial interaction between humans and the environment. Where some cultures kept a nomadic relationship with their surroundings, others chose to alter their environments to create civilizations with infrastructure to support a society. For example, the early inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent used agriculture to modify their environment which allowed them to settle and form early villages. In contrast, the traditional inhabitants of New Guinea have a nomadic relationship with the land, relying off of the hunter/gatherer method of consumption. The theme of movement explains two main themes of the novel: the diffusion of ideas/ technology and conquest. Diffusion quickly linked early people in that civilizations were able to develop alongside each other. As these technologies developed along lines of latitude, the peoples of these regions veered from their nomadic and independent origins to form cohesive societies. Movement also deals with the conquest and exploration of new lands. Diamond elaborates on this topic, explaining why certain civilizations were able to expand with the speed and scope that they did. All of these concepts contributed to the global formation of regions. Areas with similar geographical features and location were found to support similar cultures and lifestyles, creating regions.

    Guns, Germs, and Steel truly expanded my personal literary canon in that it veers heavily from the novels that I generally read. I found the novel to be an incredible expansion of my knowledge that will certainly aid me in my future pursuits of studying International Development and Globalization, but I also found it to be very dry and repetitive. Although Diamond had several incredible breakthroughs in the novel, I found that he often fixated on certain aspects in a way that distracted and bored me.

    That being said, his views of geography link together the five themes that we have explored this year in a holistic way. Through linking geography, anthropology and history, he was able to apply a logical method of reasoning that explored a global phenomenon. Diamond offered views of geography that I had not previously heard and I am convinced that he has pin-pointed several causes of unequal development.
    .

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    • I accidentally submitted my response without adding a quote for the novel!

      A quote of interest from the novel is when Diamond writes, “History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples’ environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves”(Introduction). This quote summarizes Diamond’s intentions of discovering the roots of inequality by using a basis of human equality. A large assumption that needs to be made in order to understand Diamond’s work is that all men are equal in capability. Not only does this create a starting point for Diamond to develop his thesis, but it also dismisses the notion that those in less developed countries are somehow inferior in intelligence to those in developed countries. In determining the environment to be the cause of social inequalities, Diamond is able to discredit the idea that men were not made equally.

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    • Thx good review. Although other experts disagree with Diamond’s assertion of geography’s determinism, I agree. Society is built on geography assets. Space and resources dictate everything. The business expression, ‘location, location and location’ tells it. Families buying houses or renting are constrained by location and assets too. How close to school…work… I like your paraphrasing “The key factor in global development then lies in the diffusion of these elements from their hearth”. You have outlined all his points well. Recently we also see the pressures over oil including military disputes. – Al Smith

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  2. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
    This non-fiction book shows how a religion strongly affects one individual by stunning story of living in a society where religion takes an important role.

    One of the most interesting parts of this book is to explore Islamic society through Hirsi Ali’s point of view. Even in modern days, where technical device gone amazingly common, there is a limit for us to learn what other region’s lives are using mass media or secondary source. For example, public school she went to, taught how to be good Muslim, rules and restrictions that they have to follow everyday. They did not teach reproductive system in biology, and forced to drop out because of marriage, in their early teenage were common. This reflects back to our human geography’s study of low education and early age marriage in developing country, especially for females.

    Also, stories show how much people cared and took their religion seriously. Hirsi Ali’s story contains violence, and indicate how human’s, especially women’s rights were poorly protected under the name of Allah. Hirsi’s mother, who is a very strict Muslim used violence often to punish her child, “Normally she would grab me and then tell me to lie down on my belly on the floor and hold my ankles, so that she could tie me up for my beating. (75)” this happened often she describes, both to her and her sister, but never to her brother, because is a boy. Onetime she almost died from beating by her tutor, “He grabbed my braided hair pulled me back, and then he shoved it against the wall. I distinctly heard a cracking noise. (75)” These happened when she refused to study Quran in old style, or didn’t do the housework before she study or do her school homework.

    Although she thought people’s view of Islamic weren’t right nor just, Islamic was her base, and I think this is another interesting part of her. Onetime when she was teenager, she fell in love with one boy and later she found out that he isn’t Muslim. “I was stunned. I said, “So you’re not a Muslim?” and he said, “No, I’m not.” “But you have to become a Muslim!” I burst out, and Kennedy began laughing. “Of course I wont become a Muslim,” he said…. I was horrified. I couldn’t believe such an evil thing was possible, coming from someone so kind and handsome. (97)” this made me realize that even she was opposed to Muslim tradition, she is a Muslim. The religion is so diverged, tension could rise very fast and this is the cause of many wars and battles around the world.

    Infidel was an eye-opening book for me and I deeply appreciate that she shared her life stories with the world.

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    • Since I’m a slow reader, and every sentence of this book made me think, I couldn’t go further than her childhood story. Therefor, my comment is very concentrated what I felt about first one-third of this book, and I feel terribly sorry that this comment is incomplete. I skipped through the most part, but I’m willing to spend time to read the full text. I want to thank Mr. Smith and Mrs. Clark for giving me this opportunity to explore the new genre of book and chance to deepen the understandings of our world.

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    • Good job! Ali is a Fascinating woman. A story in itself. In our current misinformation culture, and the faith profiling so rampant, everyone needs to read her view. Islam is complex and should not be monopolized by Al Qaida or ISIL. No different than anti-semitism etc. empathy and tolerance demands education especially in human geography frame of reference. Thx Your assessment is very thoughtful.

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    • Just from reading your comment, I am in shock at how she was treated. The quotes you included are extremely powerful and prove just how badly some women are treated in the Muslim culture. It is very eye opening to hear these stories from a women’s experience and perspective, as in Canada we tend to have a blind eye to these issues. She is an incredibly strong women to share her story with the world!

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  3. The Geography of Bliss follows the author, Eric Weiner, throughout his journeys to the happiest countries in the world, in attempt to discover why their people are so happy. As he travels to various countries such as Switzerland, Iceland, Great Britain and India, he finds that the happiness of the population is strongly influenced by the culture, economy and location. For example, in Switzerland there is a strong sense of democracy, which leads to the population voting on many policies. His travels agree with the human geography theme of location. Location is a key aspect of human geography and proves to be a vital influence in many aspects, including happiness. Culture is also strongly affected by location, as Eric Weiner proves with his observations. Each country Weiner visited had different customs and ways of life, which has a direct connection to one’s happiness. For example, Bhutan, a small country north of Nepal, is ranked one of the happiest countries in the world, and it could be due to their set of beliefs. They believe in reincarnation, which translates into “having a second shot at living life”. This set of beliefs strongly attributes to the populations perspective on their life, therefore affecting their overall quality and happiness of life. A quote I found particularly interesting from the novel is, “Until the eighteenth century, people believed that biblical paradise, the Garden of Eden, was a real place. It appeared on maps–located, ironically, at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is now modern-day Iraq.” This quote caught my attention because many places are seen to hold happiness and value for historical or religious reasons, and in this example, modern-day Iraq is now one of the most horrific and unsettling places in the world. This example proves that happiness cannot always be derived from a specific location, but rather it’s the people living there and their beliefs that happiness roots from.

    A quote that strongly resonated with me from the novel is “Maybe happiness is this: not feeling that you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.” Although this quote does not directly connect with geography, it made me rethink our society’s perspective on the ideal sense of happiness. As humans, we are always in a constant state of rushing through our days, without taking a moment to stop, breathe and take a moment to absorb our surroundings. The Geography of Bliss powerfully reinstated that the environment plays a direct role in our everyday ways of life, and as humans, we often forget how large that role is. I found this novel extremely intriguing as it gave me an entirely different perspective on how geography directly relates to people’s happiness, and how happiness is often overlooked.

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    • Excellent! I love that you selected, ‘happiness may not lie in being some where else..” It’s the kernel of his thesis. I was provoked by his Switzerland study. It’s democracy may be sheltered by geography as much as history. The Romans, Nazis, Napolean , USSR, all chose to to not invade- the alps just may have something to do with the Swiss bliss 😉 thx

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    • This sounds like a lovely read! I agree that exploring foreign cultures is the best way to explore the idea of happiness. It is so interesting how differently people around the world perceive happiness and the priority that it is given in different cultures. Ironically, as I was reading this text I was reflecting on how nice it would be to live in a country rated as one of the happiest countries on the earth. I believe that our culture is so focused on improvement that we forget about enjoying where we are. As I reached the last paragraph and you choice of quotes, I realized the irony in wanting to be somewhere else and wanting to be happier. Although exploring the geography of bliss may help to gather information of happiness in different cultures, the only way to experience happiness is to find it within one’s own culture.

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  4. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein is one of the most poignant books I’ve read in a long time. I learned a great deal about economic theory, particularly where it pertains to Friedman’s theories, and the Chicago School of thought that arose out of them. I’ve never been a strong advocate for capitalism, but the examples which are showcased in this extremely well-researched book opened my eyes to some of the more disastrous results. Klein uses in-depth examples from all across the globe to present her theory. The concept of a “shock doctrine” wasn’t something I had considered before, and it explains the vast economic differences which arise between classes in nations which are corporate controlled, or influenced.
    The employment of this technique involves taking advantage of a people after a traumatic event, in order to implement economic strategies that they would normally protest, and it’s brutally efficient when wielded by those in positions of power. The United States is particularly guilty of these practices. While it’s easy to acknowledge the political influence America has had on other areas of the world, I didn’t realize just how deeply driven by this shock therapy that political influence has been. One clear example is the abundance of dictatorships which were installed, or supported, in South America in the 70s in order to discourage socialist-inspired policies.
    It’s amazing to me how even when the practices that were employed destroyed a country’s economy, and devastated the general population, the supporters of Friedman’s “completely unrestricted market” could justify their decisions. In fact, it’s shown time and time again that when shock therapy increases the wage gap between classes to even more disparate proportions, supporters of the strategy declare it a huge success, because the few in power are benefiting. As Klein says, “when it comes to paying contractors, the sky’s the limit; when it comes to financing the basic functions of the state, the coffers are empty”. These practices are upheld best in countries with authoritarian governments, and often enforced with jailing, torture, and violence. In this way the political and economic arenas heavily influence the social one.
    There’s also a large environmental factor which plays a part in the shock therapy concept, as the aftermath of a natural disaster is a prime time to take advantage of a group of people. This was the case in Sri Lanka, when after a tsunami devastated local fishing villages, the land was quickly privatized and resorts took the place of houses, leaving many natives homeless and far from their trade. Many areas have recognized the detrimental effects of the Chicago School theories, and are taking steps to repair the damage, but the shock doctrine isn’t going away anytime soon and it’s a very scary reality. Hopefully, as more countries become self-reliant, they can make decisions on their own terms, and avoid this harmful shock therapy in the future.

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    • Well done. This book shifted my tipping point too. It reconnect points of inquiry elsewhere that just didn’t fit logically until I reassessed with Klein’s shock lens. Thx
      Your assessment is thorough and crafted. I admire your resolve because it is dense book for thoughtful resilient readers.

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    • Shock was my second option for this assignment, and absolutely on my list now. I’m really interested in how she draws out the economic theories and things that’ll happen when the disaster take place. Human activities, economics, and affect of natural disaster. Sounds like I could find a many connection to what we have learnt this year.

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  5. “The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating,” follows authors and fellow British Columbians Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon in their stressful, yet enlightening year of attempting to eat only, as the title implies, foods grown within one hundred miles of their home in Vancouver. The lone exception to this being for meals eaten while travelling. Throughout the book, both Smith and MacKinnon discuss the unfortunately negative impact that globalization has had on food supply for the majority of the industrialized world. For most of us in the twenty-first century, the distance from farm to table is much greater than it has ever been before, and, as ridiculous as it may seem, it all comes down to cost. Let’s use BC-grown apples as an example. We live in the Okanagan, one of the province’s most productive regions for apple production, and yet, many of the apples found in supermarkets here come from Washington, and even places as far away as New Zealand. It may be sad, but the truth is, in a capitalist system, profit is king, leading much of our produce to be exported rather than kept close to home. In Canada, a country in which we simply cannot grow particular crops year round, if at all, it makes some sense that certain things must be imported from places like California, where the growing season lasts for most of the year. But when we are able to produce certain foods, and said foods are taken elsewhere for a profit, we are left with imported, often preservative-filled food from thousands of miles away. It’s more than just a little bit ridiculous, and therein lies the problem. From an ecological perspective, importing food from faraway places also has a negative effect on the planet, as a huge amount of greenhouse gases must be burned during the transportation process.
    The education that Smith and MacKinnon have provided about the problems associated with modern food systems in “The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating” has truly been enlightening for me, and for many others who would have otherwise been uninformed about the importance of local eating. Throughout the novel, Smith and MacKinnon document their travels around British Columbia, Metro Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, as well as across the border in northern Washington. What they find is, once again, a disheartening result of cost. The extremely low cost of purchasing imported food and relatively low popularity of eating locally-grown food in comparison has resulted in exceptionally high prices for the latter, discouraging many who would like to try buying more food from local sources. In the end, both authors emphasize the importance and positive effects that eating locally have had on their lives, in addition to how it has brought them closer to their home and their community as a whole. Overall, I very much enjoyed reading “The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating”, and, as stated previously, the work has proven influential on where I will choose to buy my own food in the future. I would highly recommend this book to anybody with even a slight interest in supporting sustainable agriculture and the future of our planet.

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    • Your assessment is very thorough. Thx. Indeed the ‘cheap’ supply of international goods here is artificial. The ‘costs’ of cheap foreign labour and the environment are not yet in the balance sheets. If demand is adjusted by boycotting consumers, businesses listen but now the margins seem too small. We love our pineapples 12 months a year. We don’t think of who picks them, etc. the 100 mile concept is oversimplified but it does suggest to us we need to learn more about the food we eat. Good job.

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  6. The 100 mile diet, by Alisa Smith, depicts the time line of a couple as they challenge themselves to a year of local eating within a one hundred mile radius from where they live. The couple live in Vancouver City and divulged how they only recently had contemplated the diversity of food in their proximity. “From the east flows the mighty Fraser River, the most productive salmon river in the world, [… To the] north is Howe Sound, a classic fjord with canyons at its head that reach to the town of Pemberton, famous for its potatoes.” Sequentially throughout the novel Smith discusses the themes of geography such as location, region, and movement. Region relates to where the foods people consume are produced and the foods which are grown within a region. The hundred mile diet focuses on the diversity of British Columbia and the food that can be obtained within those one hundred miles. Location relates because of where food is chosen to be produced and why. Locations such as China are chosen for their cheap labor costs and thus is a major producer of products the world consumes. For example, our salads. “The lettuce was grown in Asia and came to port under a Panamanian flag-of-convenience. All is hidden and anonymous.” Lastly another major topic discussed is the movement of our food. This links the location in which they are produced to the markets they are sold in. “North American consumers will eat produce from distant places they will never visit.” Often times the price at which imports are sold in our local markets are cheaper than they are locally grown. Although the imports may coincide with the time at which that produce is in season, they are still brought in. This is called “redundant trade” and is a form of “market failure.” In conclusion the capitalistic food world system we have set up is not sustainable for the planet and we must come up with alternative methods to provide for ourselves in due time. One such alternative may be the hundred mile diet although it may lack the diversity of the foods that are available in our modern supermarkets. However it will give us a chance to discover the foods available in a respectable distance in our radius, is much more sustainable, and much better supports our local farmers and community.

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    • Thx good job. It’s clear, that geography is a vital factor in decisions of commerce especially food. The challenge you describe is daunting since we all have enjoyed extravagance. The notion of sustainability lies in understanding the cost of geography.

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  7. In the non-fiction novel, Race Against Time, Stephen Lewis gives his audience a striking picture of the impact of HIV/AIDS in the continent of Africa. At the time of his lectures, Lewis was the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and holds nothing back in his harsh yet rational viewpoints on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations itself. Inadequate funding from members of the Group of Eight (G8), a group of the world’s leading industrialized countries, and an apathetic attitude towards change has left the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000, unattainable by its goal year (which is interestingly, 2015).

    “These groups of people living with AIDS are remarkably courageous, coming forward, declaring their status, preaching the message of prevention, sustaining each other in the face of cosmic tragedy. And yet they’re scorned and mocked by government, and rarely listened to, rarely given an audience with the powers-that-be” (60). Throughout his journeys in the regions of Africa, Lewis comes eye to eye with children, orphans and grandmothers, all whose lives are filled with loss and characterized by a fight for survival. While Africa’s population tries its best to combat the pandemic, their resources are few. As states left in fatal conditions by colonial powers, their search for hope is overshadowed by outlying organization’s empty policies and promises. However, it is not only HIV/AIDS that plagues these human beings. Severe poverty, hunger and lack of education contribute to the spread. Lewis suggests the abolition of school fees and elimination of gender inequality to further the fight. In the presence of children without mothers, the urgency to educate and eliminate the stigma towards women on a social, economic and political level becomes of great importance. With all this in mind, solutions to these problems mainly revolve around increased funds from the often stingy G8, where countries are set up with specific giving goals. Agencies formed on behalf of women, vaccines and microbicides and dealing with the question of hunger also are vital to the eradication of HIV/AIDS.

    Themes of region, movement and sense of place were clearly present in Lewis’ testaments. Travelling from country to country, the impact of HIV/AIDS remained strong in each region. Lewis often would share how overwhelmed he felt upon seeing scenes of poverty and sickness throughout his work.

    I appreciated Stephen Lewis’ unbridled, honest opinions. His passion could be clearly noted and his resolve to get to the heart of the matter was refreshing in a culture that tends to skirt around the issues. Personal experiences woven into the fabric of his lectures not only triggered my will to act, but gave credibility and reasoning to his viewpoints. However, these series of lectures leave me wondering if the answers are as simple as he makes them out to be. Though his propositions are not necessarily easy to accomplish, if his solutions were put into practice, would it be enough to bring down the treacherous pandemic of HIV/AIDS?

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  8. Shake Hands with the Devil is a heart wrenching novel for non-fiction that gives a deep insight to the events during the Rwandan genocide. Romeo Dallaire accounts his memory of his time spend in Rwanda leading up to and during the genocide. It presents many different factors that lead to the event and that made it worse.
    Economically the most important factor for the UN troops sent to help is that the countries that supply the troops must also supply everything the troops use. This ranges from ammunition to food. The troops stationed in Rwanda were mostly developing countries and so the troops did not have much equipment. The only troop that was developed that helped in Rwanda during the genocide was the Belgians, which presented a whole other issue.
    Belgium happens to be the country the colonialized Rwanda. This created distrust between the locals and the troops. The Belgians as well due to this thought themselves to be better than the locals. Not only that but they showed preference to the social upper class that they established while in the colonial period, before the genocide. The side the Belgians sided with was the Tutis, which they put as the ruling class over the Hutus. This division never occurred before colonization and created conflict between the two groups. There was a feeling of hatred towards Tutis (by some) from Hutus because they ruled over them.
    The hardest part of reading this novel was when Dallaire talked about how he knew he couldn’t save everyone. He would have to choose to go out and save people or to leave them. It was a hard choice as they did not also have the supplies, troops or safety they needed to help the Rwandans. Later on he also lost the man who ran these rescue missions due to being pulled from the mission by his country. This man was vital to the success of the troops and also knew about the cultural problems.
    Lastly there were a lot of political issues in this genocide that made the atrocity worse. First off the UN were the ones who sent troops, which is good but the Rwandan government had a seat on the Security Council that year. This was problematic as the government, who was helping in the genocide, knew about every plan that Dallaire put in place. As well the government was able to convince the UN council that it was the rebel group behind it all when really it was a separate group; and also that the genocide wasn’t as bad as it seemed, so counties didn’t sent troops. Also the local staff did not have background checks and some of them were on the other side of the fight and sabotaged the efforts. Finally Booh-Booh kept making the events sound fine to the UN and didn’t really let Dallaire do much.

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    • Thx well written. I met Mr. Dallaire a few years back. His sincerity comes through adding integrity to his genuine account. He is a throw back to a Canadian era where our internationalism was far more altruistic than today.

      You cover the economic and political aspects of the storyline but could include the spatial aspect of the curriculum. What role did the physical geography and human landscape of Rwanda? This kind of inquiry is important to any geopolitical study- formal courses or just personal. This is why we believe the Geo12AP course is so vital in preparing you for adulthood. Today, more than ever, people are required to investigate with various lens and synthesize their own working view. I say ‘working’ because finding personal meaning in any issue, not just genocide, evolves- or at least should 🙂

      Good luck with your studies at Fraser Valley.

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    • It is clear that the Rwandan genocide did not just come about. It erupted due to historical tensions planted far in the past. Dallaire is a courageous man for stepping into a scenario as grave as the one in Rwanda. I can see how Dallaire’s dilemma of not being able to save everyone would be difficult to accept. His graphic depictions allow the reader to identify more accurately with the emotional environment in which he was still able to make decisions. I am also interested to know however, how the geography of the region affected or did not affect the progression of the genocide.

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      • The awareness of human geography is a direct linkage to geopolitical events and decisions. The geography aspect is so often ignored or not understood. We relish in the political struggle at the expense of our earthy reality. You have a handle on the issue. 🙂

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    • We covered the Rwandan genocide in Holocaust 12 this year, but didn’t get the chance to delve into the more personal stories of those who were helpless to prevent the atrocities as they happened. I would love the chance to read Daillare’s book, due to the deeply emotional impact his experiences would hold. I like that you covered the economic aspects of the genocide, and I’d be interested in learning more about that, as the focus is often on political or social motivations.

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  9. In the non-fiction novel Shake Hands with the Devil, Romeo Dallaire tells his heart-renching journey of his time as a peacekeeper for the UN in Rwanda in 1994. Rwanda is located in Central East Africa; the republic of Congo is to the West, Uganda is to the North, Tanzania is to the east and Burundi is to the South. It has two main groups: the majority being Hutus, and minority being the Tutsis.

    The Hutus gruesomely murdered the innocent Tutsi minority, and left their dead bodies to rot on the ground, or throw them in a lake as disposal. The Hutus created a climate of fear for the Tutsis. During the genocide, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have been brutally raped, tortured, or murdered by the Hutu’s. The “Interahamwe made a habit of killing young Tutsi children in front of their parents. First, they would cut off one arm, then the other. They would then gash their necks with machetes to cause the children to bleed out. But, while they were still alive, they would cut off their private parts and throw them at the faces of the terrified parents, who would then be murdered with slightly greater dispatch.”

    Dallaire constantly asked for supplies and more troops to be sent out, but almost all of his requests were either denied, or he was given a minimal amount of what he needed to survive. The novel also showed how the United States and the United Nations did not want to get involved, and that they were not willing to help another country in need. During the genocide, “[the] last [few] weeks we received a shocking call from an American staffer…He told me that his estimates indicated that it would take the deaths of 85,000 Rwandans to justify the risking of the life of one American soldier. It was a macabre, to say the least.”

    To conclude, Romeo Dallaire’s novel Shake Hands with the Devil was unnecessarily lengthy at times, yet extremely graphic and forward. It exposed the repulsive injustices that were faced during the genocide.

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    • Thx great summary! Good use of quote to focus his thesis. Well written. His tale is lengthy yet he assesses a crisis of action so often with geopolitical topics. Any solution is duty bound to reflect on Dallaire’s conclusions.
      Good luck and choose poignant personal non-fiction in your future. Thx -Al Smith

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    • Dallaire has a story to tell that we need to learn from. While lengthy, there were quite likely many things he did not say that perhaps he wished he could. A great Canadian who had to witness some of the worst of human nature. Thank you for you intelligent review.

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  10. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Friedman focuses on globalization and outsourcing, and the effect which they have on the global playing field of commerce. Friedman compares the leveling of the global playing field to the world becoming flattened, and describes ten events which caused the world to become flat. Friedman believes that having a “flat world” is detrimental and suggests that changes should be made by the U.S. government in terms of updating its workforce and facilitating job transfers within the country. I thought that Friedman’s perspective on globalisation was communicated clearly and insightfully. The book addresses geographical themes location, region and movement. Location relates to where companies choose to locate their factories and call centers based on costs of labor and land. Region relates to the environment where businesses choose to outsource and what factors of the region motivate them in making that decision. Movement relates to the issues associated with job transfers within a country and is discussed in terms of what the government should do to facilitate this movement. A statement about different transitions of globalisation that resounded with me was, “In Globalization 1.0 the key agent of change, the dynamic force driving the process of global integration was how much brawn- how much muscle, how much horse power, wind power, or, later, steam power – your country had and how creatively you could deploy it.” I thought this summed up the essential aspects of the globalisation movement simply and effectively.

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    • Thx for your assessment. Globalization is complex. ‘Flattening’ economics and political policy is an oversimplified metaphor no doubt but it does raise our conscientiousness . Your quote is a strong example of the issue.
      Good luck with your pursuits and keep reading provocative non-fiction not just textbooks. 😉 -Al Smith

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    • The author has an interesting perspective on globalization. I agree with less outsourcing and that it should be the governments responsibility to keep companies within the country of origin. I am not sure I like the analogy of a flat world as that makes it seem like the world is an equal playing field.

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      • Bravo! Critiquing any metaphor is essential to inquiry. They are just metaphors after all not doctrine and certainly not TRUTH. Intelligent people know truth is far more elusive. 🙂

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    • Your selection of quote, under our assignment criteria, was well chosen. Although his metaphor ‘flat’ is obviously oversimplified, it raised the notion of change globally. Westerners have tended to be geo-centric, forgetting about forces worldwide. Friedman’s book woke up the mainstream press and many business people. In fairness to the author, his book ‘Flat’ is older and his books elaborate the dynamic nature of human interaction as you have highlighted.

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    • Your assessment and summation of the book is very well written and the quote is the well chosen. Globalization is a positive direction for the world economy to head in if it weren’t for the exploitations done by some companies. For example the aforementioned company outsourcing to other locations based on cheaper labor costs is detrimental to economies for job loss of a region and the unsuitable wages in another. Companies should choose to create jobs in counties, or even regions, of origin and until the government’s should do something to negate outsourcing as an option.

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