Europe is the stuff of American dreams: Tuscan sun and food. strolling around the Eiffel Tower, and even visiting the “cousins” in London. Recently, Buzzfeed posted a series of empty maps, purportedly filled in by geographically-challenged Americans.
I haven’t been able to determine exactly who did this experiment or how the sampling was done so caveat emptor. Still, its a great introduction for teaching about why it is important to know name/place geography. And we know that Americans do struggle with geographic knowledge, as Daniel C. Edelson, vice president for education at NatGeo explained in 2005.
via Americans Try To Place European Countries On A Map.
How national geography is shaped by current events and conflict–and how in the Middle East, everything is connected:
Syria’s unraveling would set precedents for the region, beginning next door. Until now, Iraq resisted falling apart because of foreign pressure, regional fear of going it alone and oil wealth that bought loyalty, at least on paper. But Syria is now sucking Iraq into its maelstrom.
“The battlefields are merging,” the United Nations envoy Martin Kobler told the Security Council in July. “Iraq is the fault line between the Shia and the Sunni world and everything which happens in Syria, of course, has repercussions on the political landscape in Iraq.”
via Imagining a Remapped Middle East – NYTimes.com.
Sometimes a line is not just a line. What a border dispute tells Afghans about US and Pakistan relations:
The “issue of the line,” as he called the border, may be minor to the rest of the world. But it “shows us we have friends who we cannot trust,” said Mr. Barakzai, 43. Everyone listening knew he meant America, and they kept nodding.
The border, of course, is no simple boundary: It is the Durand Line, named for the British colonial official who drew it up to separate Imperial Britain’s Indian possessions from Afghanistan — dividing traditionally Pashtun lands between Afghanistan and what would later become Pakistan. To the world at large today, the line, however contentious, is official.
via In Afghanistan, Comment on Border Brings Tension – NYTimes.com.
The answer is not “Ghostbusters”…
In the International Organization world we note governments, “non-governments” and even some “inter-governmental” bodies, but what to do if you’re not in one of those categories? (MNC’s would be included through a sideways dotted line.) Join the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, of course.
It looks as though these groups miss out being discussed in broad political geography classes–although I’m sure many are included when you go regional or sub-regional.