All through history we can see times of great trials for the human race. Empires rising against each-other, starvation, diseases, genocides and even infanticides. As I learned about all these events in the past, I didn’t realize to the extent that I do now, how much of these events are still happening to this day. Yet these problems don’t have one simple answer to them and are far more complicated than I could have imagined. Yet I feel they are extremely important, because I think at the root, all these issues come from the practice of ethnocentrism. Which is judging other groups of people based on my own assumptions and values.
Now I learned a lot about the crisis in Burundi, concerning the Hutu and the Tutsi. They are two groups of people that have been fighting for a long time throughout history. They each have a very rich culture and heritage, but somewhere down the line they developed a hatred for each-other. Of course this doesn’t apply to every Tutsi or Hutu, many just want the fighting to end. Here are similar issues from other groups with similar circumstances, that I learned from some of my classmates.
Jonathan describes the civil war in the Ukraine right now. He explains that since the revolution in 2014 that put in place a pro-European government, many places with a majority of Russian populations have declared independence. This has lead to lots of violence and blood-shed, because of the clash between these two cultures.
Alex informs that in Eritrea, many people are fleeing the nation because of an out of control government. He reports people not being able to express their religious beliefs and unfair trials resulting in torture and murder which is the “Government’s way of sending fear to the people who follow their rules.”
Hidenao reports similar political conflicts in South Sudan. He states that over 750,000 people have fled to neighboring countries.
Amanda got to research the “defectors” from North Korea. These people are so scared that she said, “As they take refuge, they pray that they don’t get caught by citizens and Chinese military who threaten to report or even deport them back where they will face bigger threats of being thrown in jail, raped, tortured, forced abortions, and even public executions.”
Allyson talks about the collapse of the government in Afghanistan. From those who are sill there she says, “From the insider’s perspective, specifically Shakila Muradi’s, she was mostly concerned with how women are treated just like property, and are not allowed to attend school.”
Erik describes all the violence and war in Kenya. How they want to go to Europe to get freedom.
Heidi examined the civil war in Somalia. In that, “The refugees do not appear to be faring well, numerous accounts say that the refugee camps, particularly Dadaab, are unsafe and have poor living conditions.”
Sierra also researched the war in Somalia. She explains that due to natural disasters and people being forced to leave their homes, violence and war have broken out.
Haley who has followed the Sahrawian refugees. States, “the Sahrawian refugees are originally from Morocco but fled due to the Western Sahara war.” Also that they really need more aid.
Lourdes researched the Tibetan refugees. She found that “refugees have been undergoing the same crisis for years since the invasion of China in the 1950’s. The Tibet refugees tried to fight the Chinese government from invading, but their attempts have been unsuccessful.” This is an entire country, trying to take over such a small culture of people.
So now what? Well through my experience in my anthropology class and in this research, I have actually learned a lot about my self. For one, I come from a very conservative background. My whole life I have been influenced by those around me in the ways I think. Through this course I have been able to see in what ways I may judge someone else’s culture based on my own. Now that I know this, It’s easier to put my self in other peoples shoes. Because before, it was almost like I had no idea what my shoes looked liked, but now it seems much clearer. This doesn’t mean my thinking is or was wrong, although I do admit I have thought wrongly about things. It just means that we all have different ways of thinking, and what I think is freedom may not be ‘freedom’ for someone else.
I strongly, suggest taking Anthropology for anyone. No matter what career choice you choose. I think it helps so much in understanding others and from my experience understanding yourself.