Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The occasional reader survey

It has been a while since I had a reader survey. I am not sure I have very many human readers left since this blog seems to be dying. It is well over a hundred in blog years after all. However, I still find it useful as a reference source to myself. I am also reluctant to let it completely cease to exist for purely sentimental reasons. The Golden Age of blogging has long passed and so has the Silver Age. At best we are now in the Iron Age. This blog has always occupied a very small niche, but lately I have been feeling I have come close to exhausting its potential, at least for now.  So blogging will probably continue to be slow for a while. On the other hand this thing has survived four continents. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

71 Years Since the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars

Today is the 71st anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars from their ancestral homeland on the Black Sea to the deserts of Uzbekistan and wet forests of the Urals. I don't have anything new to write about this tragic event today. But, for those that are interested I have linked to my previous years posts regarding this massive crime against humanity.The link from 2010 is a short article, "The False Charges of Treason Against the Crimean Tatars."










Thursday, May 14, 2015

Герои Советского Союза немецкой национальности

This is a great short film on Russian-German Heroes of the Soviet Union during World War II.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Социальная реклама

This film from Kazakhstan on the deportation of ethnic Germans from western regions of the USSR is quite good. Although in reality the Kazakhs were not always welcoming of the deported Germans. Also the figure 440,000 German deportees mentioned in the clip says it is for Kazkahstan and Siberia. In the Soviet archival documents the figure 440,000 German deportees is for Kazakhstan alone. A roughly equal number of deportees ended up in Siberia in 1941 for about 800,000 deported ethnic Germans.

Friday, May 08, 2015

The end of the semester again

Classes are over for the semester. Now I just have to give and grade final exams. Over all I think the students did well this semester. My graduate course on ethnicity and race which had five students has already finished their take home exam, but I still have not gotten their historiographical papers to grade. Over all I think this semester went fairly well. I managed the department seminar, teaching three classes, and submitted one book chapter. I also had two journal articles published.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Two new publications

Recently two pieces of my writing were published. The first to appear in print was "Soviet Ethnic Cleansing of the Crimean Tatars" in International Crimes and History, no. 15, 2014. They seem to be running a bit behind as it is now 2015. The second piece was "Scourging the Caucasus: The Soviet Deportation of the Karachais, Chechens, Ingush, and Balkars in 1943-1944" in the Forum of EthnoGeoPolitics, vol. 3, no. 1 (spring 2015). With the Russian occupation of Crimea I am hoping that there is a renewed interest in some of these historical issues.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Big Men

Yesterday I saw the movie Big Men. Now I too want to be a Big Man. But, to be a Big Man you need Big Money and in West Africa the biggest money is oil. In Nigeria corrupt officials have stolen over $440 billion dollars of oil money meant for the people of Nigeria since 1960. That is some serious corruption. Ghana is just starting along this path. So far the Jubilee oil field has yielded $2 billion of revenue of which $440 million went to the Ghanaian government and the rest to Kosmos Energy based in Dallas Texas. None of the $440 million cut taken by the Ghanaian government seems to have trickled down to either education where I am a public employee or health care. While the Ghanaian government at one time discussed following the Norwegian model for administering its oil revenues it seems that it is instead moving in the direction of emulating the Nigerian model. The Niger River Delta of Nigeria where much of the oil is extracted is a truly distopian nightmare. Despite the incredible amount of oil wealth generated in Nigeria, the majority of the population of the country are now on average poorer and worse off than before it began the massive extraction and export of oil. Corruption extends down from the rotten head of the Federal Government in Abuja all the way down to individual oil workers illegally siphoning off semi-refined petrol for sale on the black market. Despite producing oil since 2010 the currency of Ghana has gotten much weaker. The cedi fell from 1.6 to the dollar in 2011 to 4 to the dollar in summer of 2014. A massive infusion of two multi-billion dollar loans brought it back up to 3 to the dollar. But, the currency has again fallen to 4 to the dollar and there is no end in sight and it appears no possibility of any more IMF or Cocoa Board Loans to bring it back up like last year. At the same time we have constant black outs. We now have black outs extending in Greater Accra from my flat in the Adenta to the north to the university in Legon. These black outs last 24 hours and occur every other day. Supposedly University of Ghana is a world class university. But, what world class university has no electricity all day and night between three and four times a week? The power outages are wrecking an already weak economy and the production of oil has done nothing to alleviate it. Indeed just as in Nigeria things have gotten worse in the wake of the commercial extraction of oil here in Ghana.