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Showing posts from November, 2012

Colonial cartography, catalyst of conflict.

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Take a look at maps of the world before and after the age of imperial colonialism and you will  notice a stark contrast. Before colonialism boundaries were largely amorphous, curved and fluid; after they were rigid, straight and intransigent. At the turn of this century the lines that cut the globe also separated people, languages and cultures providing the touch-paper of conflicts that we see today, everyday...

In the language of geopolitics the work of power brokers, surveyors and cartographers of the late 19th century provided underlying tensions that today form the basis of global shatterbelts  -regions caught between stronger colliding external cultural-political forces, under persistent stress, and often fragmented by aggression.

A good starting point for any investigation of the origins of conflict is to look at who gained, and who lost, when the modern day borders of conflict zones were delineated. In 24 short, turn of the century years (1884-1919), the borders of  Israel, Pale…

Temporarily racist. The rise of the right in Greece.

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The rise of the right in Greece gives cause for concern at a  time when the EU has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. People on the streets of Athens talk of civil war, and even if only speaking in hyperbole, this can be read as a legitimate expression of fears based on harsh every day realities. Golden Dawn, the right wing Nationalist party, fills a vacuum the state has been unwilling or unable to fill: that of addressing the issue of immigration.


Due to the nature of it's island geography Greece has highly permeable borders. It is the south-eastern frontier of Europe and, until now, an attractive proposition for economic, social, political and conflict created refugee influxes from the east (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria) and south, i.e. Africa. Greece, however, does not form a free flowing conduit for the hopeful or hapless to the rest of Europe. Within the EU illegal immigrants, when captured, are returned to the country where they entered. At least that…