I stepped into the ballroom at the student center to the sound of drums; the playing of

drums always sets me at ease, which was nice because I wasn’t particularly thrilled to be

attending the lecture when I first got there. As I walked around looking at little kid’s drawings on

the walls a gray haired man welcomed everyone and we found our seats. He was followed

shortly by a woman and then a man named Imara spoke of a time when he was able to sit down

and speak with Nelson Mandela personally. Then a larger lady with glasses and a friendly smile

took the stand and spoke about her travels to South Africa which led to a smooth transition into

the story the next two speakers told of their childhood growing in South Africa under apartheid.

Though I felt I knew a large majority of the information being presented to me, it’s the little

things that really seem to stand out, a mannerism of Mandela’s that is similar to your

grandfather’s or the acts of injustice that were allowed in Africa and how Mandela helped end

those atrocities just two years after I was born. It’s one of the many moments when you realize

the world is more flawed than you previously believed.

The tone shifted a tad bit and a woman came out and told the story of the Shaffer Chapel,

back in 1930 two black teenagers were kidnapped from the Marion jail and they were hanged

from a tree on the front lawn of a courthouse. The members of the Shaffer Chapel went to the

boys’ corpses and gave them a proper burial. A Reverend then came out and spoke of the

reconciliation act in 2003 where ten black and ten white clergymen came together at the very

same tree and held hands as a symbol of reconciliation. He was followed by the mayors of both

Marion and Muncie. Two songs were played by an ensemble and then Mandela’s inaugural

address was read followed by some closing remarks. All in all I enjoyed the event, I learned a

decent amount, about things I ignorantly thought I already knew a decent amount about, and the

speakers were relatively quick, each person took no more than twenty minutes.

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Pain and Forgiveness

Emens auditorium filled to standing room with people all there to hear one

woman speak about her hardships and how she overcame them but most importantly how she

was able to forgive. Eva Kor and her twin sister Miriam, born in 1934, spent their early life

living on their family farm in Romania living in constant fear of the growing Nazi power and

invasion. In 1940 Nazi troops moved in and seized the area. After 4 years of living under Nazi

occupation Eva and her family were sent to live in a regional ghetto and soon after shipped to

Auschwitz the girls were 10 years old. In the crowded confusion on the selection platform Eva

lost track of her father and two older sisters, she would never see them again. Still with her

mother and twin they stood and waited afraid and unsure what to do her mother held the twins

tight to her until a soldiers came to collect twins and had to pry the girls from her they would

also never see her again. Though she did not understand it at the time Eva lost all of her family

except for her sister on that day.

Being twins had saved them from death that day but as twins at Auschwitz the girls were

used in experiments performed by Dr. Josef Mengele, also known as the Angel of Death. The

tests caused Eva to become deathly ill but, knowing that if she passed that Mengele would also

kill her sister to perform an autopsy on both bodies for comparison, she willed herself to struggle

on and live. In early 1945, after the girls had been subjected to 9 months of imprisonment and

experiments, the Soviet Army liberated the camp. The girls were freed from captivity but now

faced the world without the family they came with.

Over the next five years Eva struggled to find a new home. Romania, now under

communist rule, no longer felt familiar to her and she immigrated to Israel where she met who

was to become her husband and eventually moved to the US with him leaving Miriam behind.

Later in her life Miriam would have health latent health complications as a result from

the experiments at Auschwitz. Looking desperately for any information that could help her

sister Eva got in contact with a doctor that was at Auschwitz but was not involved with the

experiments unfortunately he was unable to help because of the secrecy that Mengele had kept.

Eva began to grow closer with the doctor and trust him more even going so far as to forgive him.

This raised the question from others close to her: would she be able to forgive Dr. Mengele and

the other Nazis? After struggling with this Eva realized that carrying around hate, even for those

who have hurt you and the ones you love can only keep your enemies alive and cause more pain.

With that she decided to, while always keeping her family in her memories and heart, release the

anger she had been carrying with her and forgive Dr. Mengele and all the Nazis for their crimes

and pain they caused her.

I find her story incredibly powerful because while it takes great strength to get through

the pains and struggles in her life and will herself to live, it takes even more to forgive those who

have caused that pain.

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As I understand it, geopolitics is the study of the effects of geography on international politics and international relations. Geopolitics is considered to be a method of analysis for foreign policies. Through this analysis, we can comprehend, understand and predict international political behaviors in term of geographical variables. These variables could include physical location, climate, topography, demography, natural resources, and technological advances of the state. While typically the term is used to discuss the impacts of geography on politics, over the past century the term has evolved its uses to encompass wider connotations.

Traditionally, geopolitics studies the comparison between political power and geographic space. The tradition of geopolitics is coupled with concerns of power in world politics, the identification of international core areas, and the relationships between naval and terrestrial capabilities. In an academic stand point, geopolitics analyses patterns pertaining to geography, history, and social science with reference to spatial politics. Included in this academic understanding is the study of relations between the interests of international political actors, interests focused to an area, space, and relations that create a geopolitical system.

Throughout my readings on geopolitics, I have found that there are three important types of geopolitics. The first type is called formal geopolitics. This type of geopolitics could be considered the “normal” understanding. The reason it is considered normal is because it can be described as treating everyone as a member of the state or the states interests. The second type to consider is practical geopolitics. This type of geopolitics can be referred to as the politician way of thinking. An example of this type of geopolitics might be an interview. One of the examples mentioned in the readings was the speech given by George W. Bush. In his speech, former President Bush discussed the “Axis of Evil” in relation to Iraq, Iran and North Korea. This speech allowed the former President to group places together in order to create a general category for terrorism. Popular geopolitics is the last kind. This type of geopolitics could be anything from cartoons to television shows to any other media referenced issue. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of popular geopolitics are the images of super heroes during war times. Specific super heroes like Captain America defeating the Nazi’s and Superman protecting the world from our enemies.

Geopolitics is important because it allows us to produce ideas that help to label, order, and communicate with other areas of the world. As an example of this, we can relate geopolitics to the idea of “place.” We focus on this idea because in our everyday lives we use labeling of places to give us an understanding of where we are and what we are dealing with. An example of this would be the concept of the “Third World.” Our understanding of this place pertains to the fact that these places have low well-being and are in lower economic standing. With these ideas about this place in mind, we then determine how we are going to interact with those specific countries. It is important for our politics to be rooted in ideas that have spatial quality to them when it comes to world perspective.

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Geopolitics can be simply defined as politics that are influenced by geographic and country boundaries that occur in the world.Painter and Jeffrey discuss how the recent “war on terror’ has made this idea of geopolitics to rise in political prominence, although it has been seen before in other country conflicts throughout the years. The idea of geopolitics was introduced in the late nineteenth century but began its popularity during first world war. To understand geopolitics, we must understand its classical foundations. As stated earlier, it started by Swedish scientists Kjellen in 1899, he based the idea thinking that it was beneficial for setting up the base of the state, its natural endowment, and its resources.He believed the physical geography of the state reflected its own power potential. Painter and Jeffrey go on to discuss the three main points that geopolitics gained from this early beginning. the first was the attention to the centrality of the state to geopolitics. This lead to the importance we place on the state as we do today, they focused on the threats that could happen in the future and so they started to promote this idea of international relations and geopolitics, a concept still very important in our world today. The second point was that this early geopolitics linked natural environment to political potential.The future power and wealth of a state could be linked directly to the resources that that state possessed, this lead to colonialism around the world from more developed countries to have access to more natural resources. As mentioned in the previous chapter, it was the result of this colonialism and imperialism that lead to the significant gap of economic wealth seen today in the world. The third point was the theories discussed by different geographers and scientists throughout the years. Painter and Jeffery discuss the different additions, and approaches to geopolitics from numerous geographers such as Sir Halford Mackinder who mapped threats facing Britain and institutionalized geography in the UK, Karl Haushofer who built on Mackinder and helped with the reorganization of Germany’s territories and colonies and helping the state territorial strategy, and lastly Isaiah Bowman who institutionalized geography here in the United States.The second half of the reading, Painter and Jeffrey discuss the role of critical geopolitics in society. Critical geopolitics is linked between 3 concepts: formal geopolitics- what we have associated with the classical foundation of geopolitics, practical geopolitics- ideas used by politicians during foreign policy, and popular politics- or the communication of geopolitic ideas through popular culture of the stae, cinema, and other multimedia platforms.Painter and Jeffrey go on to discuss the role that geopolitics played in the Cold War and the crisis in Yugoslavia, it is very similar to what Robert McNamara was discussing in the movie Fog of War (which whose blog i thought was due today). Geopolitics concerns ideas about the world that affect numerous states and persons involved. Critical geopolitis draws on a range of social and cultural theorists to explore the power of relations that help the production of international relation and geopolitical ideas.

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What is geopolitics? It is the study of how important political issues and geography interact and the relations it creates between nations. The book talks about how geopolitics is centered around a group of ideas. These ideas create the framework of a geographic area. Geopolitics can be associated with the invading of a country. Geopolitics is centered on a number or beliefs and ideas, some ideas being one’s homeland or the buffer around their homeland. The book says that each idea tries to convey how a particular idea how the world is or how it should be.

One idea of geopolitics is critical geopolitics. Critical geopolitics is the idea that reject the “taken-for granted” assumptions and how we create political labels. This perspective views geopolitics as a broad practice. It presents itself around the idea that the world has been characterized on type of people and places. After September 11th, 2001, tried to bring in a new idea of the world. It was an idea that freedom was being attacked. The authors say that geopolitics are about ideas and how these ideas are a reflection based on real life events or experiences. The authors then explain that there are three different forms of geopolitics.

The first form of geopolitics is formal geopolitics. Formal geopolitics is what we refer to what we have linked with classical foundations of politics worldwide. Some think that formal politics is connected with the idea that is another form of neoclassical geopolitics. Neoclassical politics is an idea that uses terms like “the nations interest” or “national security” as if it was an individual person. The next form of geopolitics is practical geopolitics. This refers to the ideas used by politicians in the government and foreign policy. We can see this when the president gives his state of the union address each year. Each year he talks about the relationships that we have with countries and whether those are positive or negative. The final form is popular geopolitics. This is an idea based on the views or geographical ideas of a population and how they are portrayed in culture whether that is cartoons or movies.

Then there is the idea of anti-geopolitics. Anti-geopolitics is the idea that there are political ideas that are from people who do not want to be politicians or that they do not want to share power. This occurs from a form of resistance and then the gendering of politics.

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Geopolitics is a term that I may or may not have spent the last few years of my academic experience believing that I understood. It seems straightforward enough; geo-politics, or geographical politics. However, as with every term and/or concept throughout the duration of this course, it is way more complicated and complex than that. Geopolitics is founded in ideas. Through the understanding of geopolitics, rather, ideas are learned to not be taken for granted. Ideas are what decisions and actions are always rooted in; there can be no real practice without them. In order to be able to carry out geopolitics in the world, there must be some idea generation and thoughts about how things in the world are or should be laid out-and also how interactions and relationships proceed around the globe.

Geopolitics could be considered a fairly young terminology, as the first time it is really seen in the past is during the time of Nazi Germany’s dominance in Europe. However, the foundations and roots behind geopolitics are inherently present around the world always. Ideas of world politics are focused on with geopolitics; it indicates thoughts of ordering, arrangement, and division around the globe. In the present time, I believe that it is important for everyone to understand the workings and ordering of the world in order to understand how countries and territories are meant to interact, and so that countries can understand other places in the world. Understandings very rarely prove to be unhelpful in the communication between groups. It is easy to see geopolitics as an easy route to determining when war should occur; however, geopolitics gives us opportunities to be humanitarians as well. Caring for our fellow men, even if they are across the world, is essential for the sought after smooth, peaceful interactions in the world.

Geopolitics is heavily related to the early concept of “place”. It is focusing on the understanding and labeling of places everywhere. For example, we have deemed the “Third World” as a place that is in lower economic standing, as well a low general well-being. These ideas about this space determine our practices and actions in regards to this particular space. We have concluded that this is not an area of potential military threat, but rather a place that could use our aid. It is important for our politics to be rooted in ideas that have a spatial quality to them, especially in a world perspective. Geopolitics is our efforts in generating ideas that help us to label, order, and communicate with other special area of the world. This is essential in determining our actions and social place across multiple nations.

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Geopolitics and Anti-Geopolitics

I never knew geopolitics had so many different classifications as to how it is looked and how things can be recorded.  Classical geopolitics I knew about or had an idea of how it would function, but seeing critical geopolitics made me see just how much geopolitics applies to everyone’s lives, whether they realize it or not.  When discussing other major powers in states or states themselves, these ideas were rather likely to have been formed from geopolitical studies or have some basis in geopolitics.  These ideas we form on other states or other groups of people can be attributed to geopolitics and how we view each state or group.

Anti-geopolitics almost seemed misleading at first though.  When you hear anti attached to a word, you would think it would most likely be opposed/against the idea it is anti for.  Yet, it does not flat out reject the thoughts and ideals of geopolitics.  It instead focuses on areas that were not looked at with geopolitics such as gender differences or those that rebel against the typical geopolitical force or identity.  Although anti-geoponics does have some good ideas to it, I do not believe it could completely function without that of regular geopolitics.  I also believe that regular geopolitics cannot be fully considered without that of anti-geopolitics.  They both offer something the other does not and need each other in a way to make proper decisions and to form proper (or at least, better) ideas and mental images of those states and people we are looking at.  One without the other is just like looking at half the image.  You may get a gist of what is going on, but you would never see fully the cause and outcomes of all the players.

Geopolitics (and anti-geopolitics) plays important roles in our daily lives, more often than not, occurring without our realization.  Without this study of geopolitics and how it plays into the world, our thoughts and views of nations would be vastly different than they are now, which can have both positive and negative aspects to it.  It was looked down upon after World War Two due to how close it was potentially linked with Adolf Hitler, but it has evolved since then and has looked at a wider range of topics than just that of pure power.  It can help people generate ideas of why conflict might be happening and why it is being handled the way it is and help the world as a whole understand one-another that much more.

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