Author Archives: Hamid

Week Four

The story of independence in Latin America is quite interesting since it is quite unique compared to other social movements in the history. The independence in Latin America started in 1821 by Bolivar who belonged to the “second tier” group during that era. Although he was “white” he did not have the advantages that a Spanish person would have such as having the right to participate in decision making procedures. As a result, this unfairness motivated him to fight for the people who had the same situation as him against the Spanish. This is exactly the point that makes Latin America independence different compared to the other significant social movements.

When I think about independence my first thoughts goes toward nationalism however, the fact that Bolivar had totally personal drivers to start such movement is very interesting and therefore this might be one of the reasons that made this independence movement less successful compared to other social movements such as United States independence. For instance and to be more particular, I can mention the fact that even after the independence movement by Bolivar, indigenous people still struggled with their lives and still faced many obstacles to considered a normal citizen. I think this is a very important point since it highlights the fact that planning for the future and the aftermaths of social movement is even more important than succeeding in that event itself. As we seen in one of the videos, Bolivar was also furious at himself in his last days of life since he also realized that people of Latin America might not be able to make decision for themselves and improve their situation following the departure of Spaniards.

Regarding Hugo Chavez, I believe his ideal was to modify Bolivar’s approach to independence and make it a nationalism. I think his nationalism approach made him popular in Venezuela and by using the money that his government received from selling oil, he could stand up against the United States. It is obvious that his actions were motivated by his role model, Bolivar, but I think his adjustments were to the point and assisted him to gain popularity.

I believe it is very crucial to realize what are the reasons for a social movement and what you want to gain from it but also more importantly how you want to achieve your targets and in my opinion Bolivar knew what he want but did not know how to reach them.

Thanks for reading this blog.

Week Three

One of the great ways to learn about the history is to observe the art pieces during that era. Casta Paintings are therefore could be used as handy tools to better understand the situation in South America following colonization. As I understood through the videos, racial difference was a huge matter during that period and people would have significant advantages or disadvantages solely based on their races. For instance, people who were from Spain would be considered as “pure blood” and as a result they were at the top of the social pyramid and would rule the society regardless of their capabilities. It was also interesting to see that even people who did not have “pure blood” would still get categorized by the society. So it was not just a case of black and white, but rather multiple of group of communities with various ethnicities.

If we take a look at this matter in a more global scale, we realize that, this undeserved social advantage eventually frustrates “lower class” people and leads to critical incidents in the history. For instance, we can name African American crisis in the United States, Holocaust or even currently Muslims. This unfair approach has always influenced the society in a negative way and had hefty consequences for everyone involved in it. Therefore, it would be crucial to address this issue and realize its importance so we can solve it with an appropriate approach.

I believe the most important reason that we study history is to learn from it and avoid repeating previous generations’ mistakes. However, since colonization countries and people have always struggled with racial abuse and despite significant efforts, particularly following the second world war, people are still getting victimized based on their race or faith. It is crucial to consider the great improvement that people around the world made to address this issue; however, it is also important to realize that there is still a long way to go to completely solve racism. It is up to our generation to educate people that someone’s skin color has nothing to do with their capabilities.

My question regarding this week’s topic has a wider scope than previous problems in South America. I want to ask, what do you think each of us should do in order to solve racism in today’s world?

Thank you for reading this post.

WEEK TWO

This week’s subject is surrounding the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and his first interactions with indigenous people. By watching the the videos and reading the articles I became more familiar with Columbus ambitions regarding his reasoning for starting his voyage towards western hemisphere. It was interesting to realize that his main driver for this journey was bringing back gold to Spain crown which would ultimately bring him fame and respect. However, I was surprised when I realized he was more of a businessman rather than a explorer. Also, It was impressive to recognize the way he connected¬†with natives during their first interaction; which again is a sign of him being a business oriented person. For instance, he tried to offer natives interesting objects from Europe and as a result, natives thought “he is a gift from god”. Thus, he made a strong first impression and gained natives’ trust to guide him through the unknown land.

However, based on some sources, there was a flip side to this story. According to these sources, when he became familiar with the land and realized the potential it has, for instance gold, he started to take advantage of natives. For instance, he used them as mine workers and setup unreasonable and brutal punishments for workers who could not bring him enough gold. Furthermore, his men used native women as sex slaves and raped and tortured them. Also, Columbus in his writings, constantly sees himself superior to natives. I believe this way of thinking finally leads him to use natives as slaves. I believe this gradual change in Columbus behavior is another sign that he was more of a business man rather than a person with morals who wanted to explore this world.

The most interesting point in this week’s topic for me is that even nowadays many people believe Columbus was an explorer and have solely positive thoughts and believes towards him. An instance of this claim is naming streets, universities and even a country after him. I think it is important to have a fair and realistic view of the history and give people credit when they deserve it and criticize them when they were wrong. Therefore, my question is what should be done to give people a more realistic view of Columbus and is it even important to do so?

Thank you for reading this post.

LAST 100 WEEK ONE

Hello everyone.. My name is Hamid and I am 4th year mining engineering student. I am taking this class for 2 reasons: first, because last summer I traveled to Colombia for 3 months to work on various mining projects and became interested in Latin American culture. Second: I need to take an art elective in order to graduate.. So I became interested in this course.

About the Videos:

THE WAR ON DRUGS:

This video was particularly interesting to me since it reminded me of my visit to Medellin where I got to talk to people about Pablo Escobar and how his business impacted millions of people’s lives. For instance, during my visit to Medellin, I encountered many people who had to send their families to other countries during the peak of the violations. Furthermore, I visited towns where hundreds of people were killed during gorillas bombings which was truly sad. Therefore I believe drug problems is a huge issue in this region and was accurately addressed in this video.

MODERNITY IN LATIN AMERICA:

I also enjoyed this video since through my personal experience I have realized how people of south America are desperate to improve their image and forget their rather bitter history, A good example of these attempts could be 2014 World Cup hosted by Brazil despite their numerous economic challenges. Also, governments of south American countries are trying to prepare the fundamentals in order to encourage foreign investments in major industries such as mining.

SENDERO LUMINOSO:

Among the videos that I watched, I liked the presentation of this video the most. The video was really informative and was presented in a very pleasant manner. The voice of the presenter was standard and the video is recorded in a comfortable and cozy environment that engages the viewer. However, It would be better to speak at slower pace when presenting such amount of information so it would give the viewer a little bit of time to digest all the new information.

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER:

The content of this video was great however, I think it is important to consider the way we present our work. I believe the video would be more engaging to viewers if it was more interactive and creative. Also, it would be beneficial to speak firmly with an optimal voice level when recording videos so that the viewers would not struggle hearing it.

Thank you for reading this post.