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Articles in Protest Movements

The Nasa (Páez) People Take on the Colombian Military and the Leftist Rebels

By Martin W. Lewis | July 20, 2012 |

A recent article in the Chinese news site CRI notes that the indigenous Nasa people of southwestern Colombia have “lashed out at a Colombian Army outpost in southwestern Cauca province, as the military refused to leave their land as requested.” The report goes on to note that some 1,000 people surrounded a military outpost and literally tried to drag the soldiers away. As reported elsewhere, Colombian riot police soon evicted the Nasa demonstrators, and later shot and killed a member of the movement who allegedly refused to stop at an armed checkpoint

Another Cartoon Controversy Strikes India

By Martin W. Lewis | June 27, 2012 | 3 Comments

Yet another political cartoon controversy has embroiled India in recent weeks. The cartoon in question dates to 1965, when opposition to the planned imposition of the Hindi language across India generated unrest over much of the country and especially the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil activists feared that the imposition of Hindi would reduce non-Hindi speakers to the status of second-class citizens, and thus agitated for the continuing use of English as the country’s unifying, common language

Anti-Mining Protests in Ecuador and Peru

By Martin W. Lewis | March 22, 2012 |

In Ecuador, hundreds of indigenous protestors have been marching for two weeks from the Amazonian lowlands to the capital city of Quito, which they are scheduled to reach today. Road blockades have led to clashes with the police as well as numerous arrests.

The Circassian Mystique and Its Historical Roots

By Martin W. Lewis | January 30, 2012 | 16 Comments

Although little known today, the Circassians were once a famous people, celebrated for their military élan, physical mien, and resistance to Russian expansion. In the nineteenth century, “Circassophilia” spread from Europe to North America, where numerous writers expressed deep admiration for the mountaineers of the eastern Black Sea. Prominent physical anthropologists deemed Circassian bodies the apogee of the human form. …

Mayotte: The EU’s—and France’s—Troubled New Exclave

By Martin W. Lewis | October 27, 2011 | 11 Comments
Map of the Comoros and Mayotte

On March 31, 2011, the European Union expanded, adding 144 square miles (374 km2) and almost 200,000 persons. The population of this new UE territory is almost entirely Muslim (97 per cent). It is also, by European standards, quite poor, with a nominal per capita GDP of only US $6,500. Oddly, the land in question is not even physically located in Europe, situated …

Oil and Arabic-Speakers in Iran’s Troubled Southwest

By Martin W. Lewis | October 22, 2011 | 9 Comments
Incorrect Map of Sunni/Shia Distribution in the Middle East

If Saudi Arabia faces a restive Shia minority in its main oil-producing area (see GeoCurrents Oct. 14, 2011), Iran has a similar challenge. Its foremost oil-producing zone—the southwestern province of Khuzestan (Ahwaz in Arabic)—is the heart of Iran’s dissatisfied Arabic-speaking minority. Fear of unrest in Khuzestan looms large in Iranian security deliberations. Not only does

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