Crisis in the Balkan

A Map detailing the mix of ethnic groups before the Balkan Crisis

The Balkan Peninsula is a region located in southeast Europe that has been an area of ethnic tention since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1989, the  cold war came to an end with the result being the fall of communism in the soviet union as well as many eastern European countries as well including yugoslavia. After the fall of communism in Yugoslavia, the nation broke into five different states and the Christian Serbs in Bosnia initiated a ethnic cleansing that was aim to drive out Muslims and Croats. Their exreme methods of rape and murder to drive out other ethnic group caught the attention of UN forces. NATO launched air strikes towards the Serbian forces that eventually led to a cease fire but the casualties of this ethnic cleansing were dramatically high.

Six year’s after the ethnic cleansing that claimed a large percentage of Bosnian civilians lives, another enthnic cleansing arose in the Balkan Peninsula. The Yugoslavian troops and Serbs aimed to drive away the Albanian residents in Kosovo. In order to halt the violation of human rights, NATO engaged in a war with Yugoslavia that lasted two years.


African Americans evolve..

According to Foner, African Americans lives changed dramatically. The absence of legal segregation and their presence in areas of American life from which they were entirely excluded. African Americans now worked in large numbers alongside whites in corporate board rooms, offices, and factories. The economic boom of the late 1990’s aided African Americans enormously and their average income rose more rapidly than that of whites.
However, on the other side of things, African immigration rose and they settled in urban areas. Among these immigrants were refugees and many more were professionals fleeing to find a better opportunity. While some prospered, others found it difficult to transfer their credentials to the United States and found themselves driving taxi cabs and selling African crafts.the black unemployment rate remained doubled, half of black children lived in poverty and two thirds out of wedlock.


African Americans in the 1990’s

During the 1990’s there was a new era, not just in terms of politics but also in terms of freedom and equality.  African Americans became more and more free and accepted as the 90’s came along.  In the 1990s Clinton became President and the rich people in the country were prospering like crazy, while the poor people’s minimum wage failed to increase with inflation.
Even though the wealth gap was increasing, African Americans were getting more jobs and the black wealth was going up.  According to Foner more blacks where getting jobs that were formerly known as white jobs, such as being a fireman or police officer.  The number of black police officers increased from 24,000 to 65,000 from 1970 to 2000.  Blacks were getting more and more wealthy faster than whites, and the concept of racism started to fade.  Even though racism was going away, black communities still continued to struggle as half of African Americans lived in poverty, and the ones that weren’t in poverty lived in predominantly black neighborhoods.  This is a huge factor in history I believe because you cannot just expect racism and segregation to die out so quickly it takes time for the older generations to forget about the days of racism and the ideas that “blacks are lower.”  This is a huge part of history and the hardships African Americans need to go through to gain full equality.


Global Economic problems

According to Eric, in the 1990s, countries all over the world have economic problem. In Western Europe, the unemployment rate was much higher than the United States. Russia had more economic problems then they could handle. The Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, asked for advice from the U.S. government and U.S. economists. As a result, “they imposed severe cuts in wages, and guaranteed jobs, health care, and housing Russians had become used to under communism.”(Erin: 1011).
Most of the countries had to borrow some major loans money from foreign banks, and had trouble paying back. Some foreign investors were able to pay back the loans, but most countries had to cut- back on their budgets to pay off some of their loans.


The Disputed Election of 2000- George W. Bush v Albert Arnold “Al” Gore, Jr.


I strongly believe that the section concerning the presidential election in 2000 deserve more elaboration to explore the different aspects. The presidential election in 2000 is perhaps the election with most suspicious and debatable results in American history. The outcome of the election ended with Bush’s victory by a tiny margin; however, it was not a solid victory for George Bush, as there was a widespread confusion at the votes in the decisive state, Florida. The disputes in the vote-counting administration in Florida was humiliating for the America, as the other countries jeered at the failure of our technological advanced nation.

Moreover, it was also suspicious that the outcome of the election was later left for the Supreme Court justices to decide. On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the recounting of Florida ballots was terminated, and the decision of the ballot was left for the Florida’s governor, Jeb Bush, who happen to be George W. Bush’s brother. With Jeb Bush declaring George W. Bush has won the state, the tie of the election was broken and the seat of president was given to the Republican candidate.

The presidential election of 2000 certainly has given rise to suspicion and even conspiracy theories in the public. Some has suspected that the mistake in the Florida ballot was carefully planned for Jeb Bush to declare his brother as the president. Due to the uncertainties and disputes in the election process, I believe Eric Foner should devote another page to explore the other aspects of the election process.


Fighting aganist War

(Protest Against Vietnam War)

(Protest Against Iraq War)

Both of these two songs are protest against the war that US has fought.  The first song is protest against Vietnam war.  The second war is protest against Iraq War.  In both songs, the meaning for war is always questioned.  “What are we fighting for” is often used in protest musics to emphasis the meaningless of war and it lacked of cause.

through these two songs, we can see a change in protest methods.  In the first song, we can see many people rally on the street to protest against the war.  In the second song, we see more battle actions than protesters on the street.  The impact of the action on batter field in emphasized in the video to reflect crudity of the war.


Sounds of Anti-war

The 60’s was a time of social revolution and saw a rise in protest. This protest contributed to a large anti-war movement also. People between the ages of 18 and 25 started to influence new sounds, music genres and music content. Hopeful protest songs such as John Lenin’s, “Give peace a chance” invited an anthem for people to still believe and fight for peace, instead of war. This was a song which promoted a solution rather than reiterating the conflict at hand.

The fashion of  using music to reach out to the masses a common opinion, was not limited to 60’s. It can also be seen post 9/11. The song “Time will Tell” by Redhill is an anti-war protest song for Afghanistan. It describes the environment on the streets of the war struck country, and shares the stories of  scared children running on the streets. These innocents are victim to violence encouraged by war. This song in comparison to the other works more to illustrate an image of war and death, whereas the other provides a more positive outlook on finding a solution. But both represent an opinion which seeks to end a reign of power over a group which may in fact be weaker.


Protest songs of the past generation

West of the Wall

World Wide Suicide

Both of these two songs serve the same purpose of informing the public on a current issue the artist as well as much of the country/world wants changed.  The song, West of the Wall serves to protest the Berlin Wall which was formed in 1961 in Germany to seperate the country into West Germany and East Germany to prevent the spread of fascismism.  The singer of this song is protesting the song because the wall prevented freedom of movement, she sings in a very casual and direct manner, as opposed to Pearl Jams “World wide suicide” which is a rather indirect subtle manner to criticize the U.S. Gov’t.  Pearl Jam is seen in his hit single as expressing his anger towards the war in Iraq and how he believes it will lead to a world genocide.  Both of the artists are seen portraying their expression of freedom and liberty throughout the world, which was and still is a modern theme in the live of all Americans.


“Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die” and “Sex and Gasoline”

“Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die” was written by Joe McDonald is a famous protest song which is anti-Vietnam War. It was the released on 1967. The singalong chorus and stinging attack on the US military industrial empire had its greatest moment. “Sex and Gasoline” by Rodney Crowell is from 2008 his Grammy-nominated album. The song is depicts a society still run by men who wield their power over young women making them into whores, literal or otherwise. It attacked the ear that mistresses of golfers and the like are objects of fame rather than shame. Compare to the protest songs from 1960s and nowadays, I found that most of protest songs around 1960s are mainly about anti-war. But most of the modern protest songs are attacked unfair social phenomenons.\”Feel Like I\’m Fixing To Die\”



Protest Songs

“Where have all the flowers gone?” (1960-1970) by pete seeger. The song is about wives to soldiers, who love to pick flowers. But then, their husbands are to go to war, and the wives receive horrible news that their husbands have been killed. So, in the end, the flowers that the wives pick end up on the husband’s graves. The wives have picked so many flowers, that there are barely any more flowers left for anybody else. “What I’ve Done” (2000-2010) by linkin park. The song is about people who litters and pollutes and does so many other bad things to the earth. But one day, they wake up and realized what they had been doing was terrible and wrong. So they asked themselves, “What Have I’ve Done?” and that is where the song title comes from. “Where have all the flowers gone?”, and “What I’ve Done”, are both about horrible things that happen to people. But, “Where have all the flowers gone”, is about people who are just trying to protect their country, instead of being rewarded, gets death, and the other song is about people who actually do bad things to harm someone/ something but no one gets hurt.
“Where have all the flowers gone?” changed society, because when people heard it, they realized that war is not necessary, that problems can be solved without death, and that way, less people would die like the soldiers in the song, and their families would not be miserable. “What I’ve Done” protests against pollution and other ways of damaging the earth.


I’m Black & I’m Proud….Rule


James Brown’s song “I’m black and I’m proud” as well as Nas’s song “Rule” are both songs of protests in their time. They expressed their feelings through their lyrics directly referring to the problem at hand and making sure everyone knows it.

“I’m Black and Im proud” is noted as one of the most notorious black power anthems to be recorded. The prejudices towards African Americans were addressed and the need for empowerment. He uses powerful lyrics to portray his emotions towards the country and for his people: “we demands a chance to do thangs for ourself/we’re tired of beating our head against the wall/and workin’ for someone else” and “We’ve been ‘buked and we’ve been scorned/We’ve been treated bad, talked about as sure as you’re born”.Nas’ song’s lyrics are political, inspiration and reminiscent of those on Nas’ 1996 single “If I rule the world (Imagine that)”.

Back in the day, protests were powerful. If the people felt something was wrong with the system and wanted something done, they took action. Whether it was through marches, boycotts, songs, movies, the people expressed how they were feeling. These days I feel that society has gotten scared. Nobody wants to speak up for the injustices done and artists are able to do so. Many artists use songs to write about things going on in the world today, But other than that I dont feel like we do enough.


Women wanted!

In 1960s, feminism in USA and around the world starts to gain momentum.  At that time, typical women are viewed as housewives.  In the public perspective, commercials often depicts women being helpless if her car broke down.  The roles of women at home and public creates gender difference and inequality in society.  Such difference limited women’s opportunity to advance in their economic and political life.

The feminist reform started with more women attending college to obtain law degree and pursue political life.  Through political reform, and the assistance of law, feminist gained equal opportunity in many fields.



The Urge For Civil Rights Continues

High pressure hose used against protesters in Birmingham, AlabamaDuring the 1960’s, there was a firm desire for  gaining equal rights for African Americans. This desire was sparked by the movements made in the 1950’s where many civil rights activist were able to abolish many forms of segregation such as in public schools in the case of Brown V. The Board of Education and public transportationin the case of the The Montgomery bus boycott. Although progress was made on equal rights during the 1950s, not much has changed in society seeing as segregation still existed in bussiness and there were still only a handfull of Colored students enrolled in previously all-white schools.

 The forms of protest performed by activists were mainly passive. Even while facing the harsh riots of Birmingham, Alabama, Colored students marched in the streets while being assulted by the local athorities. The atrosities commited in the Birmingham incident were broadcasted and raised awareness of the brutal actions taken towards protesters. After the Birmingham incident became publicaly known, actions were taken to quell the riots and established desegregation in the local bussiness.


Spring 1963


The climax of the modern civil rights movement occurred in Birmingham. The city’s violent response to the spring 1963 demonstrations against white supremacy forced the federal government to intervene on behalf of race reform.The public outcry provoked President John F. Kennedy to propose civil rights legislation that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act opened America’s social, economic, and political system to African Americans demonstrators Attackedand other minorities, including women, the handicapped, and gays and lesbians. The legislation addressed the principal goal of the movement of gaining access to the system as consumers but also set in motion strategies to gain equality through affirmative action policies.

Birmingham was a major centre of civil rights activities and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was an organisational centre for the movement. In particular, youths used the church as a centre to help plan out strategies to get more black high school children involved in the civil rights cause. In the Spring of 1963, stores in downtown Birmingham had been desegregated and just days before the bombing, schools in Birmingham had been ordered by a federal court to integrate – nearly ten years after Brown v Topeka. Many Klansmen would not accept this decision nor the successes the civil rights cause seemed to be making.

The chief of police in the city, Bull Connor, was very anti-civil rights and had ordered that police dogs and fire hoses be used on civil rights demonstrators in May 1963.

Birmingham was also a stronghold of the KKK. The influence of the KKK was such that children’s books that showed black and white rabbits together were banned from sale in book shops in the city. Segregation was the norm in the city. Violence against the black community in Birmingham was not unusual but the deliberate bombing of a church took that violence to a new level.


Threat of Nuclear War


The fear of a nuclear war existed in the world under JFK’s presidency in the United States. However he was also the reason the world was saved from such a threat. Both the United States and Cuba were ready to use nuclear weapons in battlefield. The arms race exaggerated the access of the nuclear weapons both in the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Khruschev’s plan to place missiles in Cuba, directing at the U.S. initiated circumstances that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. What seems to have relieved the conflict from both sides was the constant communication between the two countries. The back and forth dialogue between Khrushchev and Kennedy via letters, helped to come to an agreement to dismantle nuclear weapons in Cuba and bring them back to the Soviet Union if the U.S. promised to not invade Cuba. Later it was also suggested by Khrushchev that the U.S. also dismantle their missiles in Turkey.


Practice What You Preach !

Martin Luther King wrote Letter from Birmingham Jail April 1963 while serving a nine day prison term. This letter is very famous. Martin Luther King is originally from Atlanta but in the letter he explained “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and thats why he was in Birmingham conducting many non violent protests. Birmingham was one of the most segregated cities in the south. I title this post “Practice What you Preach” because in his letter Martin Luther King critized many clergymen for being afraid to support him and help fight for equality. A lot of white moderates and clergymen criticized what Martin was doing and they thought that he was being too extreme. They thought  that the blacks just needed to be patient and eventually there will be equality. Martin disagreed with them in his letter he stated “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro.” Blacks were tired of waiting; they were ready to fight and the younger generation also more aggressive than before.

During the 1960’s we see a lot more school aged kids fighting for equality. It can be assumed that the rise of protesting by students has roots in the 195o’s era change. I think that many were inspired by the Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. According to Foner, in May of 1963 when King made a bold decision to send young black school children to protest was a huge triumph for the Civil Rights Movement. Schoolchildren were beaten up by nightsticks and dogs, and sprayed by high pressure fire hoses and this caused a revulsion not only throughout Birmingham or the United States but around the world !





The Brown Berets

The Brown Berets is a Chicano nationalist activist group of young Mexican Americans that emerged during the Chicano Movement. The Chicano Movement is a Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. It stated in 1965, it was a cultural as well as a political movement, helping to construct new, transnational cultural identities and fueling a renaissance in politically charged visual, literary, and performance art. One of the first organizations that gave strength to the movement was the United Farm Workers organization(UFW), formed in 1962.


“Race Prejudice + Power = Racism”

I finally understand what people are talking about when they say that the system is out to get them. Institutionalized racism do exist ! Racism is not just prejudice against another race, its is about power. It is about having power, using that power and abusing it to show that the race is inferior.


I just wanted to share an interesting article that I found on Institutionalized Racism.





At least we are moving, trying to Integrate

There have been many events after the signing of the emancipation proclamation that freed slaves that moved the country towards equality for slaves.   It was a slow process, but after world war 2 and during the 1950’s the civil right movement moved with great force.  This movement finally took off in the 1960’s and became a full fledge movement.  There was a need to get blacks out of poverty, many feeling that it was one of the ways that freedom can be acquired, alone with equality.  The fights for better education, access to public accommodations, and voting that evolved in the 50’s allowed blacks to start fighting for better economic issues pushing for more government action.

Black Power movement at the Chicago Freedom Movement Rally, Soldier Field (Freedom Sunday)