The Greek-American Dream

Both of my parents were born and raised in Greece. My father was the son of a farmer and became very familiar with the daily struggles of poverty. As a child, he was accustomed to tending to his family’s orange and tobacco fields in the city of Nafplion. He was very interested in anatomy, and coincidentally, after losing his father to a heart attack, he received an incredible opportunity to pursue his passion for healthcare, and practice cardiovascular surgery in New York. Knowing little to no English, he traveled to the city for this opportunity and navigated his way to a secure job in Youngstown, Ohio where he raised six children with the help of my mother. Similarly, yet very different, my mother was born in the metropolis of Volos and traveled to France to earn her teaching degree. She then traveled to the States, where she, like my father, spoke little to no English and navigated her way through the country until she met my father at her best friend’s home in Boardman, Ohio. My parents represent the embodiment of hard work, to attain their Greek-American dream. There hard work and proliferation motivated them to break through boundaries, overcome obstacles, and create a better life in America for me and my siblings.

* Taking into account both structure and content, in what ways do these two documents resemble each other?
These two documents illustrate the idea that their independence has been earned, and they are victims of acts of terror. I think it is interested to note that both of these countries feel inherently right and that the actions of both nations are justified throughout their history.
* What role does religion play in each document?
Religion plays a very heavy role in both documents. In fact, in the Israeli document, the Israeli’s say “here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books”. They portray themselves as true owners over the land.
* How does each of these two groups define themselves?
Again, both sides portray themselves as victims. Isreal illustrates the hardships they have gone through over the decades with the Holocaust and strongly feel the need to be liberated when they say, “ACCORDINGLY WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE BASIS OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.” These words are very powerful and the Israeli people feel victimized and underrepresented. On the contrary, Palestine claims, “We render special tribute to that brave Palestinian Woman, guardian of sustenance and Life, keeper of our people’s perennial flame. To the souls of our sainted martyrs, to the whole of our Palestinian Arab people, to all free and honorable peoples everywhere, we pledge that our struggle shall be continued until the occupation ends, and the foundation of our sovereignty and independence shall be fortified accordingly.” It is understood through these passages that both sides have experienced great heartache and are obligated to their freedom as citizens.
* How does each define the other?
They treat each other as the enemy and as a nation that terrorizes the other. For example, Palestine ” calls upon all peace-and freedom-loving peoples and states to assist it in the attainment of its objectives, to provide it with security, to alleviate the tragedy of its people, and to help it terminate Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
* How does each envision the place of the other in their new state?
They envision a world of peace and unity, where freedom is welcomed to everyone in it.

Divides in South Asia Prompted by British Colonialism

As previously discussed in class this week, South Asia carries a heavy history of the massive divide between religions and races. When the British established power in the 19th, a divide was also established between Pakistan and India, creating great indifferences among the two cultures (Indian and Pakistan war of 1947). This divide was created in order for the British to establish some sort of dominance and control over the state. Colonialism formed by the British harmed South Asia in many ways, but most importantly they crippled the ties between religious cultures of the Indian communities and the Muslim communities. In India’s government, false powers were given by the British, to leaders who had very little knowledge about running a government. One of these leaders was Nehru. With the help of the British colonial powers, a divide between Pakistan and India created a massive massive war over frivolous discrepancies, mainly prompted by British intervention. However, for Nehru, “the driving forces of the modern transformation were science and secularism, which were in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the most powerful forces transforming the world. But the progressive effects of these forces on India had been deformed – particularly when it came to religion – by the structure of colonialism itself, through which the British had manipulated religion and distorted India’s modern development to serve their own exploitative purposes” (Gilmartin Page 25). As described by Gilmartin, Nehrus inexperience and the British intervention caused chaos. This establishment of power founded by colonialism is also described in India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion. This reading mentions “Nehru’s economic policies boosted India’s monopoly capitalists. His priorities were heavy industries and elite polytechnics, which precluded major investments in primary education, health, and land reform.” Again we see the established ties of colonialism and the reign of incoherent leaders such as Nehru driving major decisions for South Asia during the 19th century, and onward.

Effects of Colonialism on Race in the Developing Latin American Countries

Professor Holt was a guest lecturer this week and focused on the development of Latin American countries leading into the 20th century. In South American countries, colonialism was a principal topic of interest for these developing countries. Colonialism was a driving force for urbanization and served as a primary pillar of economic support for almost all of these countries during the 17th century. In a larger context, colonialism was propelled into full throttle by the transatlantic slave trade that was dominating the Eurocentric powers of the world at the time. Colonialism also gave precedence to new derogatory racial slurs and stereotypes that had never been seen before in these areas, in this way, bringing these absurdities to new heights. People were now being treated as second class citizens and racial identities were taken to the extreme. Racial identities of Latin Americans branded them as hot-headed and unworthy individuals, in comparison to the rest of society. This theme is highlighted in a piece of literature that can be found from today’s reading, Upside Down by Edwardo Galeano. Particularly on page 321 of his thesis, stereotypes present of Latin Americans are analyzed and its grievances are amplified in this context. “We have spent five hundred years hating ourselves and one another and work heart and soul of our own ruin.” Through this piece of text, we can conceptualize how difficult it must be to carry such an abhorrent burden in a society that has dealt with these stereotypes throughout the generations. These ideas whcih have caused such immense heartbreak and duress for Latin Americans citizens, and is also highlighted in Galeones’ work, is a direct result of colonialism started over 500 years ago in South America.

10/4/19 Blog Post

1. Tony Judt argues that it is possible to identify a number of shared “thematic shapes” in postwar European history (page 7). Describe one of these thematic shapes and explain why it emerged.

One of the thematic themes that Tony identifies is the history of Europes reduction. Tony explains that the constituent states could no longer be recognized after 1945 to an imperial or international status due to the fall of radical ideologies like fascism and communism. This, in turn, created a new Europe, with the exception of Great Britain and Germany, but even then Judt admits that these states later succumbed to this status well. The new Europe had been liberated from the war in many ways because of the fall of communism and wars, which allowed the nation-state to  gradually gain back its autonomy and reclaim  its sovereignty.

2. How did the “political topography” of Europe change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries (p.785)? What were some outcomes of this change?

The political topography changed within the 21st century because of the cultural shift from the old-style political party to the public intellect. Throughout the years these old school political intellectuals representing a majority of communistic and fascist ideologies were becoming incrementally marginalized and the continental intellectual was starting to become more common. Once these philosophies became expunged from the continent, a new Europe started to emerge, particularly in western Europe where things like the death penalty and censorship had been almost eliminated. These events then lead to the liberties and freedoms never practiced before in Europe. Some of these events included the practice of homosexuality and abortion, two practices that once held heavy consequences, like the death penalty, in the old-style political world.

3. Judt points to the “limitations of a post-national prescription for a better European future” (p.797). How would you apply his observation to the personal statements and political posters in the documents from The World Transformed?

When Judt mentions the limitations of a post-national prescription for a better European future, he mentions a very specific instance in history that lead to an immigration and identity crisis that is also interconnected into his work, World Transformed, — the aftermath of 9/11. This particular event was so traumatic for many people not only nationally, but internationally as well, because it was classified as a terrorist attack. And because citizens uniformly sacrifice to some degree their freedoms as citizens in exchange for security from the government, this attack frightened everyone including the government. Thus, nation-states, like Europe, felt vulnerable and scared, because, as Judt mentions, “keeping citizens safe is what nations do”. These events led to an identity and immigration crisis that is then interconnected to the World Transformed article propaganda. Here we have prejudice posters and handouts claiming to help obliterate the Islamic religion (page 479 and 480). What I find most surprising, is that we find these prejudices in the new European state like France and Britain. Additionally, the economic trials that were facing Europe at this time added “fuel to the fire” expanding tensions and prejudices between foreign affairs, its citizens, and so forth.


Imperialism in Africa: The Economic Crippling of a Nation

The 1870s (-1900s) brought about a nation faced by imperialist aggression from superior European powers, wanting to claim their dominance — this nation, Africa.  One way to demonstrate this national preeminence was through the acquisition of territories around the world, including Africa. Places like Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were competing for power within European power politics (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture).  And as the British and French saw an opportunity for an economic surplus, places like Asia and Africa seemed likely sources for contribution. Africa however, received the greatest setback, particularly, the crippling of the nation’s economy. During this time, there was a surge of industrialization in Europe, and major social problems grew in Europe, such as unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. After gaining control of most of Africa,  these European powers had control of every major port along the coast and took advantage of the raw materials grown on this land which were used for goods and flipped for a profit (lecture). Even after the late 1800s, the early 19th century left the country in turmoil. As a primary export for raw materials, Africa suffered greatly during the great depression. Tea and coffee, wool, rubber from West Africa, and mining dramatically decreased as a result. Wages fell in urban and rural areas, and poverty rates expanded. The country also “benefited from the rising value of gold itself”, a major export by the end of the 1930s (Bayly). However, not even gold could save this nation and even East African British colonies, such as the Rhodesias and Kenya suffered a similar medium in rural areas. When the Berlin Conference determined the integrity of the nation’s economy with the interference of foreign powers, and its future trajectory, they were right to think that opportunity for financial growth existed, but they failed to recognize the true cost. No one could have predicted events such as the Great Depression, but nonetheless, the nation suffered greatly for years, as a result of this intervention.