A walk for democracy- to be continued ​

On March 7, 1965, state troopers viciously attacked non-violent civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama. Look back at the events of “Bloody Sunday” that shaken millions of Americans and galvanized Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Almost a century after the Confederacy’s guns fell silent, the racial legacies of slavery and Reconstruction still reverberated loudly throughout Alabama in 1965. Even the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 months earlier had done little to the discrimination against African Americans. This made it difficult for them to register to vote, although it now was a basic right. There was possibly no place where Jim Crow’s gripped tighter than in Dallas County, where African Americans made up more than half of the population. Interestingly, they were accounted for only 2 percent of registered voters.
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John Lewis stand on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alamaba, almost 50 years after the brutal events of “Bloody Sunday”

It started as a peaceful demonstration outside the courthouse in Selma, Alabama, but resulted in the arrest of thousands. In a letter written to The New York Times in February 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “There are more negroes in jail with me than there are on the voting rolls”. The racial tention increased when state troopers shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-ols demonstrator who tried to protect his mother as she was being struck by the police. In response, the civil rights leaders, such as King and Lewis, planned to take their cause directly to the Alabama Gouvernor on a 54-mile march from Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. Even though Gouvernor Wallace ordered the state troopers “to use whatever measures are necessary to prevent a march,” 600 marchers startet to walk towards Montgomery. The voting rights advocates walked undisturbed though Selma, but as they becan to cross the bridge which connected Selma to Montgomery, they met trouble. A wall of state troopers stood ready to attack, with the Confederate general and reputed grand dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, Edmund Pettus, in front. They knocked the marchers to the ground since the protestors did not fight back. hith-selma-corbis-AP650307075-AB.jpeg

From Bloody Sunday

Martin Luther King Jr. leads the protersters through another march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, but this time people from all around America came to participate. In contrast to the first march, there was no attack; the crowd turned back at the barricade of state troopers.

August 6. 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Without the events in Selma, African Americans wouldn’t be a part of the American democracy. This march is so significance in American history that it has been reenacted many times on it’s anniversary. On the 50th anniversery of the march former President Barack Obama joined thousants of Americans in Selma. This was very special as Obama would possibly wouldn’t have been elected President if it wasn’t for these events. The First Family waits with former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush prior to the walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Nevertheless, even with the success, great challenges still remain. That is why the legacy of Selma must not be viewed in the vacuum of history, but rather as an inspiration for our future. As President Obama put it on the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”:

“[Selma] is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents: ‘We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.’ ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” Souce The White House

Sources:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/selma-montgomery-5-things-you-may-not-know-about-bloody-n729276

http://www.blackpast.org/aah/bloody-sunday-selma-alabama-march-7-1965

http://www.history.com/news/selmas-bloody-sunday-50-years-ago

 

 

 

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Black lives matters

As we are reading the book “The Hat U Give” we are also looking into the international activist movement Black Lives Matter. The campaign made its’ mark on social media in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a man who shot the unarmed African-American Trayvon Martin. It all began with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, and today BLM are regularly holding protest speaking out against police killings of black people and racial inequality.

Three women were all we needed. Alicia Garza was one of the people who shared their feelings on Facebook regarding the acquittal of Martin’s murder. She posted: “Our lives matter, black lives matter”. Patrice Cullors then replied with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Opal Tometi was the third women to show her support with the same hashtag. Since then it has become the banner under which dozens of disparate organizations, millions of people, loosely and tightly related, press for change. The campaign continued to spread as several police killings have occurred. In fact, the slogan of the movement was created when another story was shared: Eric Garner was killed by NYPD-officer with a chokehold. Garner screamed “I can’t breathe” about eleven times before he died. Ever since his words have covered clothes and posters worldwide.

The BLM movement is a powerful example of the social revolution we are a part of. Social media is not only for posting pretty pictures of our “perfect” lives. It is also a platform for discussing issues like racial inequalities. The internet is a unique tool for reaching out with an important message fast and far. Only on Instagram, the hashtag has been used 6 668 883. Everything is one keystroke away, which makes it possible for people in every corner of the world able to participate in the movement. Ordinary citizens are able to tell their own stories. Black Lives Matter activist Ashley Yates says: “Social media has given people on the ground a voice and a validation as a trusted source.” (Media)

Even though this is great, social media also has a dark side. Harassment, threats, and insults are basic hazards of online activism today and this campaign was not an exception. The movement has faced a lot of criticism. Some argue that it is a protest against anti-police. Others believe it is unfair that the lights only are shining on black victims. As a response, the phrase “All Lives Matter” sprang out. But the core of the case is not about whether or not you are black or white, it is about police officers abusing their power. It is a protest suggesting that the system is failing.

 

Scotland + Brexit = Scoxit?

The 2016 referendum which decided whether the UK would leave or remain in the European Union has turned the UK upside down. With more than 30 million votes, 51,9% backed Brexit and 48.1% was against. The breakdown across the UK however, shows otherwise. Scotland, for example, voted Remain by 62% to 38% BBC. Clearly,  Brexit is lacking in general approval from the Scottish people. In light of a new analysis predicting Scotlands future, SNP politician Nicola Sturgeon is suggesting a second referendum. Is Scotland facing a constitutional crisis?

Neither the UK government or anyone else, including the Scotish government, have a strategy for Brexit. The only thing that seems to be certain these days are that Brexit will have a huge impact on the UK’s economy, and not for the better. The paper analyzed the potential impact of three scenarios: EEA membership, a Canada-style free-trade agreement, and reverting to basic WTO rules. Sturgeon said every option would involve a “hit to the economy”.

In case of a “hard” Brexit, the UK will have to operate under the World Trade Organisation rules. The Scottish government report shows that this will result in an 8% decrease in the UK’s economy. Additionally, it would alone cost Scotland up to £12.7 billion, as well as cause real household incomes to fall by 9,6% (£2,263 per head). On the contrary, due to the intensification of digital industries, energy, and services, the UK economy will possibly result in an increase of 2.4% if they remain a part of EU’s single market (The Guardian).

First minister Sturgeon believes it is “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland is forced to leave the EU when they voted to Remain BBC. The report highly strengthens the arguments for staying within the single market. This way, the Scottish independence referendum is flourishing once again, creating indyref2. Last time, in 2014, 55% of the Scottish population voted against Scottish independence. However, this time the tables might be turned seeing as the Scottish people clearly wanted to remain as a part of the EU. If that were to happen it would most likely create a chain of independence referendums throughout the UK.

 

 

 

Northern Ireland and Brexit

Written by Ingrid, Benedicte and Rebekka

Elaborate on and discuss how key historical events and processes have affected the development of  British society.

Write an article on your blog using material from the PowerPoint presentation to explain why this is a controversial issue today. Be sure to include historical facts, the process of Brexit and the views and concerns from both sides of the border. Be sure to list your sources.

The conflict in Northern Ireland during the late 20th century is known as The Troubles. Over 3600 people were murdered and thousands injured. At the heart of the conflict lay the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. The conflict has its roots in “the irish question”. “The irish question” was used to describe Irish nationalism and the calls for Irish independence. The goal of the unionist and overwhelmingly Protestant majority was to remain part of the United Kingdom. The goal of the nationalist and republican, almost exclusively Catholic, minority was to become part of the Republic of Ireland. The conflict was based on two different visions of national identity and national belonging.

This lead to actual fighting, including killings uprisings, violence and revenge: The Troubles.

The two enemies in the conflict started cross-parting-talking in the beginning of 1996, and in 1998 the two parts officially ended The Troubles. President of the United States at the time, Bill Clinton, took an active personal role during the negotiations. He pointed out veteran US senator George Mitchell as chair of the talks process that today is referred to as the Good Friday Agreement or the Belfast agreement. The agreement created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The agreement was made up of two inter-related documents, both agreed in Belfast on Good Friday;

  1. A multi-party agreement by most of Northern Ireland’s political parties (the Multi-Party Agreement)
  2. An international agreement between the British and Irish governments (the British-Irish Agreement)

This whole agreement led to major changes in the Northern Ireland politics. An assembly was set up which made many political decisions affecting people in Northern Ireland for the better. The assembly has members from all sides of the community. The Good Friday Agreement also marked a shift in Northern Ireland’s political landscape. The UUP and SDLP agreed to accept power-sharing, including with former paramilitaries who were committed to the peace process.

Even though there’s been pretty peaceful between the two parts, there are still fears that violence is returning, especially in areas where Protestants and Catholics live closely together. Since 2007, Northern Ireland has had a stable internal government where former enemies cooperate to make sure that the province will avoid falling into the pitfalls of the past. In 2015, six Irish men were arrested by the police after they discovered bomb-making equipment close to where the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were due to visit.

The border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is one of the main issues regarding Brexit as it is the only point where the UK will continue to meet the EU. As the UK is leaving the EU they are also leaving the customs union. This means that Northern Ireland will have different trade regulations to Ireland which would require a border. If a hard border is created many people are afraid to feel like they are back in the time of The Troubles, and they fear that a greater division between the two countries will rise. A border does not have to mean a hard border however, it will mean barriers, checks, queues, papers, regulations, and tariffs. This can become an obstacle for the 30 000 people who cross the border everyday (Connal Parr and Edward Burke, 2017). Additionally, Ireland is by far Northern Ireland’s largest external trading partner, accounting for nearly 30 percent of its trade in goods (Financial Times, 2017). According to data from Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency, goods make up 81 percent of Northern Irish export to the Republic. And food and live animals account for the largest share of trade with Ireland.

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Sources

 

“The hate u give”, my first impression

We have started to read a new book in English. The book looks at police violence, especially against afro-Americans, through the eyes of a teenage girl named Starr. Her life suddenly becomes more complicated as her best friend Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. I find the book very interesting because I believe this is a highly important issue which is necessary to bring to debate as it, unfortunately, still happens several places. Additionally, the book is quite easy to read which makes me motivated to continue reading.

In the beginning of the book, Starr and Khalil are driving from a party. They get pulled up by an officer. The police officer says:

“Okay, smart mouth, let’s see what we find on you today”

I believe the problem with police violence begins with communication, as this quote is an example of. When the police officer is talking to Khalil like he is above him, Khalil feels disrespected and does not want to cooperate. He, therefore, refuses to obey the officer’s command, which results in a gutshot. The book continues to debate this topic, and I am excited to read more.

 

Gender equality

goal nr 5

Hannah Nora Rebekka Karl

 

We have chosen the fifth global goal, and it is labeled gender equality. It is concerning women and their right to freedom and equal opportunities as men. We find this global goal interesting, because we are women from a very “gender equal country”. Even though we come from an equal country it is important to learn and discuss the situation for people of suppressive cultures. We have to fight for their cause. Hence, we work with the fifth global goal.

By 2030, every woman & girl around the world will be empowered. This is the UN’s goal for the topic of gender equality. The current situation is quite terrifying. Every five minutes a girl dies as a result of violence. Today, there are 63 million women and girls who have undergone female genital mutilation. There are several other severe and gross statistics expressing inequality. However, there are several global-goals targets to make the world more equal. Here they are:

TARGETS:

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.  
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

When it comes to gender equality, we all have to work together. Only then can we provide the next generation with the very bes support for shaping their own path in life.

Movie: Lions for Lambs (To be continued)

Lions for Lambs is an American drama war movie from 2007. We meet a Republican Senator (Tom Cruise) who would like to represent a new strategy for victory in Afghanistan to a veteran reporter (Meryl Steel), two special forces who are ambushed in said operation on the Afghani ridge, and their previous college professor who tries to re-engage a promising student by telling him the soldiers story. What makes this an interesting movie, is that they are all connected to each other.

The two students Arian and Ernest were inspired to do something with their lives, by their professor Dr. Malley. Therefore, they become soldiers for the special forces. Their story becomes the string between the different people in the movie as the Senators decisions will affect Arian and Ernest’s fates and their story will affect Todd’s life. At some point, they all have something to do with the U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

“The decisions you make now, can’t be changed, it will take years and years of hard work to redo it. No lifeguard is watching you anymore, you are on your own. The decisions you make are yours alone, from here an til the end.”

This was something the professor said to his student Todd. What he meant was that as we grow up, we have to make choices, someone more important than others. Our future is shaped by our choices we take today. To some, this is very scary, but to others it’s freedom. For me, it’s both. Soon I will graduate from High School and I have to find out what I would like to do. Should I go in the army, should I take a gap year or should I go straight to college? These choices I have to make will play a role in shaping my future. As for the movie, Arian and Ernest’s choices shaped their future. They chose to do something important and as a result, they became soldiers.  This decision can’t be changed, and they made it all alone.

America needs to do more.  The students in this movie try to get others involved. Discuss how this clip is important to the movie. Do you agree with these students’ choices?

This clip is important to the movie as it shows that

The professor asks Todd to get involved. What can he do?

In order for Todd to get involved, he can

Is there a connection between social conditions, the welfare state and the USA’s involvement in wars?

The U.S war in Afghanistan enters its 16th year, and president Donald J. Trump indicates that there is no end in sight, by tweeting “Let’s get out!”. In August, for example, he sent thousand more troops into the war. It seems like the United States is most likely to stay highly involved in Afghanistan as long as Trump is the president, and perhaps even longer.

A report released by the US Census Bureau in 2010 shocked both Americans and people around the world. It showed that the poverty in the country never has been higher. Ironically, America is the richest country in the world. Clearly, this shows that a few handful of people are very rich, while the majority, on the other hand, does not have a big income. There are definitely most individual suffering in the United States. Critics claim that 99% of the American population no longer has a political representation as the 1% are so rich that they have taken over. This way, only one percent of the population decides whether or not the involvement in the wars are high or not, which makes it clear that there is a connection between social conditions and the involvement in the wars.

Military spending on the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan is one of the main reasons for the huge deficit in the American economy. Maybe if they would have used the tax money on the welfare state rather than war, the differences between the rich and poor wouldn’t be so big. This way the social conditions would be better, the welfare state stronger and the involvement in wars be smaller.

However, going big makes it harder to go small. Both previous president Bush and Obama put massive resources into Afghanistan to win. Additionally, Americans are patriotic. They pledge allegiance to the flag at school and are tough to dream about fighting for their country. Because a lot of people are so poor, their country is all they have and every victory for the country is a victory for them personally. A lot of Americans are brainwashed and believe that winning the war will make life better.

I believe that the Media has a huge impact on how the American people are informed as well. They have the power to present the facts as they want. Because of this, the war can occur to be in favor for the American people as the information is presented in a specific way. By excluding information, the media can trick the people to only read about the good things, and therefore make people support the war.

Others, on the other hand, are aware of the big military budget which is at 523.9 billion US dollars each year. A lot of people will debate that this money should rather be used to strengthen and improve the social conditions in the country. As the war in Afghanistan is ongoing, it will continue to be a highly debated theme. Unfortunately, there is no correct answer on how the budget should be divided; it depends on who you ask.