Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blog #3: Is history destined to repeat itself?


Read the articles
a)"Fight for the Top of the World" : http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1663445,00.html

and
b)"CIA Expands it's Inquiry into Interrogation Tactics":
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E3DC1F3EF93AA1575BC0A9629C8B63

Both articles make allusions to topics we've recently covered in class. Article A discusses the colonization of the Arctic and clearly relates to the scramble for colonial territories in the Americas that occurred during the 15th-17th centuries.

Perhaps more controversial is the position that harsh interrogation tactics toward suspected terrorists as described in article B can be likened to the persecution of suspected witches in the New England colonies in the 17th century (collectively referred to as the Salem Witch Trials.)

Consider our recent study of culture and poltics in pre-revolutionary colonial North America. Reflect on the relationship between these current events articles and your study of history. When is the use of colonial power and harsh interrogation tactics justified? Is history destined to repeat itself?

You may reflect on one or both of the articles assigned. Remember to respond to the question as well as the comments of at least one other classmate. Your response should be at least 200 words.

Image: "The Snow Queen", Hans Christian Anderson, 1844.
Blog due Friday, October 3, before the begining of class.
Reminder: all work for the 1st marking period must be in by Tuesday, October 7 by 3:20 p.m. This includes extra credit.

18 comments:

Aleksandra said...

Aleksandra Makowska

To say that history is " destined to repeat itself" would be, in my opinion, a bit far-fetched. Such phrasing suggests a paranormal phenomenon that manipulates our world and shapes our history into a never-ending circle. Of course, I cannot deny that events of our history repeat again. However, with the same lands and the same people with the same emotions, isn't it inevitable? Destiny has little to do with it; common sense prevails.

The first comparison made was between the Salem Witch Trials of the seventeenth century and the recent aggressive attitude of the United States' government towards suspected terrorists. The Salem Witch Trials occurred as a result of fear among settlers in America after misfortune. The interrogation tactics of the United States' government was likewise a result of fear. Waterboarding has, in this case, replaced burning at stake (which is, admittedly, a great improvement). As fear spreads throughout the world, such reactions occur. Destiny? I doubt it. It's simply human instinct to want to protect oneself from any suspected danger.

Secondly, "Fight for the Top of the World" by James Graff has suggested a future "scramble for Antarctica", similar to the sudden exploration of America and the "scramble for Africa" that followed America. To me, this event seems very likely. Antarctica is sure to hold some very valuable resource that has not been uncovered there yet. When that happens, every country will want to claim it for itself, as happened with every other continent in the world. As with one's sense of preservation and fear, one's curiosity and greed is also undeniable. Therefore, I am sure history will repeat itself. It would only make sense. Throughout the past five centuries since America was first "discovered" , humans have not changed. We will continue to explore new lands, and once we find them, we will fight over their wealth. It's not destiny, it is (once again) human nature.

Therefore, history is not destined to be repeated. As something that never ends, it cannot be repeated; it can only be continued. Humans have not changed, and land has not changed. Most importantly, human nature has not changed. As a result, fear will always end with unfair treatment, contentment will end with progress, jealously will end in competition, and curiosity will end in discovery. History does not repeat itself, it continues.

brianne hannafey said...
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brianne hannafey said...

The statement “history is destined to repeat itself” is a very tricky statement especially because there is no right or wrong answer. History does repeat itself even though many people will say it doesn’t. This statement is a matter of opinion so people are always going to have a different outlook on it.

Aleksandra said that she doesn’t believe that history is destined to repeat itself and she does make a good point, but in my opinion I feel that it does. Aleksandra states, “Water boarding has, in this case, replaced burning at stake (which is, admittedly, a great improvement).” In my eyes this is history repeating itself, but in a different form then before. People are being tortured out of fear, and to get information. During the Salem Witch Trials people were being burnt at the stake because they were “witches”, which they weren’t. Now a technique called water boarding is being used to get information out of people, who could be a treat or know something about a threat. In both cases people are being tortured out of fear. Things like this happen in countries around the world everyday. In fact, things like this will be going on for years to come. For example, every day thousands of kids die from drug abuse, and more kids will die tomorrow. The death of this kids can not be changed, which would make it history. Yesterday was history, and everyday at least one thing that happened yesterday will happen again today. When things keep happening like this that would be “history repeating itself”. Even though the way things happen might change, but what happens because of event will not. Every couple of centuries a war occurs, and that will never change.

The years change, the tactics change, the world changes, but the people in it don’t change. This is why “history is destined to repeat itself”.

katie said...

The statement history is destined to repeat it self, is perfectly believable. History will have the same events happen over and over just in different time periods. History is not detained to repeat its self but it most defiantly will due to human error. When history repeats it self people wont even believe that it has until the look back on it, if humans were able to see how we repeat historic events then humans would be able to stop themselves from making the same mistakes over again. Seeing as people do not realize their own mistakes it would be difficult to stop from repeating history. This article reminds me of the scramble for Africa, where countries were trying to create colonize to gain slaves and natural resources such as gold. In this case countries are trying to gain oil form the arctic.
The similarity are that countries now or in the past had stopped to consider the damage that might be caused while they take over the land. In the scramble for Africa no country took into consideration what the people they enslaved may have wanted. Now with this new want of oil in the arctic no country is going to stop and consider the environmental problems they might create when they suck all the oil out of the arctic. To me this relates back to the quote in saying yes history while and does repeat its self.
I disagree with Aleks I believe that history does repeat its self. It does not continue because then it would have never ended. There fore it repeats it's self in a different sense then it had before. If history had just continued then it would have never ended and the same one event would still be happening.


Katie McSherry
Block: H
AP US

rOebelLa said...
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rOebelLa said...

Aleksandra, you make a perfect point. Could it be that history is destine to repeat it self or could it just be the people that make these events occur. However, I am in slight disagreement, although I do understand your point of view. Humans could cause these events to repeat each other, but whether these events are destine or not, history still can repeat itself. Personally, I beleive only certain things are destine to happen, and the repetition of history happens to be one of them.

As Brianne said, people at one point were being tortured in order to for them to give out information. During the Salem Witch Trials people were burnt in order to release information. Thankfully, there is now a new way of doing this and it is call water boarding. These events relate to current events because after the September 11th attacks, certain religions and races of people are looked at differently. The way they are looked at as some type of bad people. If a cop or someone of high command sees another man walking down the street who is of a Pakistani decent this man is now looked at as a, what people like to call, ‘bad guy’. Could this man be someone to do harm to another, most of the time your answer will be no but just because he is of a certain decent, he will be taken into custody and be question if they know anyone, any events or anything that is related to the September 11th attacks. This to me shows a less harmful way or receiving information from a human yet are still torturing them by keeping them captivated.

In the article Fight for the Top of the World it describes how there are undiscovered resources in Antarctica. Chances are, these resources could benefit many things in the world. When the resources are discovered, history repeats itself. People from all over the world will fight to own these resources, or even the whole piece of land for that matter just for wealth and to benefit themselves and the people of their country. People will over fight over things for wealth and power, its something that’s destine to occur now and all through history and the future.

After all, people made things occur in history and nothing will stop humans from making these things occur again, it's just destine to happen.

Rosa Carucci
10/5/08
H-Block

laurelhaim said...

Although Aleksandra makes a good point at one point in time the "scramble for countries" did stop. Country borders were set and each nation had its resources. Trade was established with major imports and exports so that countries buy and sell resources. So if this point in history stopped it does repeat.

"The Fight for the Top of the World" is a repeat of the European nations looking to seize control of South Africa.

The Arctic region is believed to have about twenty- five percent of the worlds undiscovered oil. For many countries this could be a huge advantage in their economy.

Here history is destined to repeat itself as it was during the colonization of South Africa and the Americas and even the Chinese colonizing Japan.

Human nature is what causes history to repeat itself. During the Salem Witch Trials people were tortured and burned at the stake. Today Waterboarding is most similar to the acts of the Salem Witch Trial.

I agree with Katie. People must learn from their mistakes and by not learning the same mistakes are repeated. History is not destined to repeat itself, but humans mistakes cause the same faults.

History is not destined to repeat itself. The results of humans not learning from the past is the cause of this “repeat” in history.

90's kid said...

History is destined to repeat itself for the fact that the leaders of the world continue to ignore it. I disagree with Aleksandra's statement, " However, with the same lands and the same people with the same emotions, isn't it inevitable?". Americans , of all people, should not be repeating the mistakes that our forefathers have made, though we come from the same land and are the same people and such. These mistakes should be unable just for the fact that we have research papers, documents , monuments , songs, movies and plays reminding us of our mistakes everyday! From the bombing of Hiroshima to slavery to 9/11, American leaders should be able to look at these disasters and correct them for the people of today, but they just seem to ignore them; pretend as if they never happen. Destiny has little to do with it, in my eyes.

In my junior year, I was able to conclude that in times of fear and chaos, the government including the people tend to act a little crazy and take unjustified actions. Learning about the Salem Witch Trails and the Era of McCarthyism helped me form my conclusion. In the Salem Witch Trails, women were being accused of being witches without evidence in a theocracy.In this cas accusation lead to isolation , death and jail time with unfair trials. In the McCarthyism Era, people were being accused of being communists. From 1948 to about 1956, America was in fear of her democracy turning into a Soviet's communism.A former, senator accused people of being Communism also without evidence . He felt that if he named a couple of people communist, that the American people would feel safter and acknowldge that the government was taking actions against communism. Though being a communist was really not a crime that required actual jail time. The accused would some times be exiled, jailed,isolated and violently hurt without a fair trial. Both American events violated what the American Constitution stood for then and now. Also, besides the governmental leaders, the people were turning on each other because of fear and personal reasons, especially in the Salem Witch Trials. In both sistuations, people were treated harshly without justification. Both of these incidents, bought alot of attention in the media and at the end of it, alot of compensations and apologies. Obviously the American government had realized that it had done wrong. With this acknowldgement, one would think that the government would know how to act if a crisis like the SWT and Mcarthyism occured again , something like 9/11, but nope they dont. After 9/11 the government caused Americans to turn on Americans in the face of fear . They fasley accused people of being terrorist without any trials or evidence. They locked them up in Guantanamo Bay with no representation for years. They have violated our privacy rights and the list goes on.

Colonial power and harsh interrogation tactics may be justified in Zimbabwe or China ,but not in America, for the fact that our Constitution promises us the opposite treatment. Im not saying that Zimbabwe or China deserves it ,but for them , they should start by making colonial power an unjustified interrogations illegal, first. We, as Americans, have already passed that step and know that it is immorally wrong. Now our government leaders have to follow up on their part of the deal.

The American people have changed over the past decades, centuries , whatever. I feel that we have become more liberal, which is a good thing. We have come to understand the delicatness of human society. People are unfair to America, when they say they Americans will always be the same and follow the same tactics. I don't see salvery anymore. I just think America needs new leaders that have open a history textbook or two!
KHadijat OLagoke:).

Dana Pistilli said...

If we take a look back at the facts, it could be proven that history repeats itself. Just by looking at the title and reading the article from the New York Times, Fight for the Top of the World, reminds us of centuries ago. Back in the old days, countries used to fight over land and try to claim what they thought was their's. Such is happening in this article. Ever since the polar ice caps melted, frozen ice became a stream over the glaciers in Greenwich, England. All of this has been occuring because of global warming. As a result of global warming, the Northwest Passage has become an actual trading route. A number of years ago, sailors have been trying to find a way from one country to the next ever since Christopher Columbus "discovered" America. This sort of reminds me of the Berengia land bridge, which was uncovered from the Ice Age. The land bridge helped nomads to travel acros from Asia to North America. In other situations, global warming has let countries to occupy the arctic for human jobs and survival. It seems as if history is just to repeat itself.


I agree with what Katie had to say. The statement that history repeats itself is totally believeable. I think that history would have to repeat itself for everyone to survive. Without the use of violence and corruption, everybody's "world" would fall apart.

Ho Lee said...

The statement that history is destined to repeat itself seems quite possible. The fight for Arctic is a clear example of history repeating itself. The rush for resources in the Arctic seems quite similar to the rush for exploration within the Americas. The article about the resources in the Arctic reminds of the claims Columbus had made by quick assumptions. In the article it is claimed that 25% of the Earth’s oil reserves are in the Arctic while, some critics say there may only be 10%. By countries greed for resources the amount of resources available may have been exaggerated like in Columbus’ case. In Columbus’s case he exaggerated about the amount gold that could be found in North America due to his greed for land granted by the Monarch of Spain.
Due to the greed of countries the inhabitants and the land were abused for the need of precious resources. The damage caused by that greed was not assumed when the race to obtain resources was at hand. In the colonization of America nothing was considered morally incorrect. The many deaths were seen as progress to many countries because, of their idea of European superiority. The many that were enslaved and killed were not accounted for when the greed of nations were in play. From past events in history it does seem accurate that history does indeed repeat itself. I agree with Katie, that History repeating itself has to due with the negligence of human beings within History. I also agree that history is hard to prevent because, people do not know what they’re doing wrong.

PeAcHyRoC92 said...

The question is history destined to repeat itself is one that is equally true as well as misleading. Throughout time many changes and modifications have helped shaped the world into the place it is today. From the colonization of America, to the attacks on the World Trade Center, history has created many events that allow individuals to view the world in many perspectives. History cannot simply replay itself as if it were a recorder that rewinds back to previous events and reruns the same event over and over again. Rather history replays itself in a sense of recreating similar events from the pass to those of the future. The advancement of technology has drastically transformed the world and contributed much to history. As Alex mentions the Salem Witch Trials and the events occurring after September 11, 2001, relate to each other as both accused people whether innocent or not. During the 1690’s Witch Trials became an event in Salem, Massachusetts that left many questioning as to who they could trust. Men and women became suspicious of one another because beliefs that people were witches arose, and left many hesitant as to who was a witch. Accusing people of being witches spread throughout the area and tests were set up to distinguish those who were normal and those who were witches. The principle for accusing people of being witches seems abnormal in today’s society, but lack of knowledge permitted the people of the late 1600’s to view the events as perfectly understandable. Protecting civilization from the violence and aggression of human behavior played a key role in the Salem Witch Trials, and would later affect America nearly 300 years later. The events of September 11, 2001 left America in a devastating place where many felt insecure about society. War on Terrorism became an intense time for America, as the U.S. increased its security on airports, immigrants, and especially people of Middle- Eastern decent. The United States became so fearful of another attack that they placed suspected terrorists in places such as Guantanamo Bay. Prisoners were forced to stay in these locations even if the United States had no proof that they were guilty. Similar to Khadijat’s idea the United States also experienced this issue after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Placing Japanese Americans in incarceration camps during World War II gave the United States a sense of security. Even if the citizens weren’t guilty of committing any of the accused crimes, America believed this way the correct way to respond during their time of crisis. In this way history is designed to repeat itself because throughout time, America has been held responsible for the same incidents. The relationship between theses incidents is: an event happens, people respond to the circumstance in fear, and later accuses a certain group for being the reason why the event occurred. Having someone to blame for the situation is the foundation of all these events, and all result in violation of human rights. Thus, history is destined to repeat itself.
Geographically wise history can repeat itself, but not simply in the way that it did before. The seven continents as we know them to be today did not merely establish themselves as individual locations. Time combined with alternations in the earth’s formation allowed the world to become the place it is, and human procession has achieved much on its lands. During the colonization of America, European countries claimed areas and began to develop their own organizations of life. Areas such as China and Africa have also been locations where countries instituted their colonies in hopes of economical advancement for their country. Trade contributed much to the colonization of many European countries, as events such as the “Scramble for Africa” left many Europeans in hopes of gaining great wealth. Using the natural resources of the land for trading, the Europeans took advantage of the Africans by taking control of their territory. Using the Africans for labors Europeans viewed the continent as a land where lucrative trade was bound to occur. China was also a location colonized by the Europeans. Beginning with the English, China became a place where the profitable item of silk was located. England trade with China consisted of imports of silk, tea and other goods of great value. In exchange for the Chinese goods, the English traded opium, an extremely profitable drug that the Chinese purchased. However, the ruler of China abolished the imports of the drug, and thus the Opium War began. Still Europe continued in its quest for conquering land. Throughout the centuries, many countries have desired to expand their borders for economic increase, and to this day that longing continues. As Palestine and Israelite forces still fight over territory possession, present-day society has not changed much from that of the past. The pursuit for oil, gold, and other useful natural resources are major issues occurring in the world today. As gas prices increase in America, and troubles arise in the economy, the craving for oil has become an enormous interest for the U.S. government. Fighting for areas in the Artic for oil and land could allow history to repeat itself, as countries brawl over who obtains what on the Artic soil. The events that occurred in history cannot happen again in today’s society play by play, but pieces from the past have reoccurred numerous times. From wars, to the expansion of land history replays itself not by replaying events step by step, but rather in a way that restructures society in a modern approach.
By:Racquel Wood

Lightspeed2552 said...
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Lightspeed2552 said...

"History is destined to repeat itself" is a frequently used statement. The statement leaves questions for the people's actions; actions which shape the destiny of this entire world, its past, and its future. So history isn't destined to repeat itself but caused to repeat itself by the people's actions, as well as their decisions. This is a matter of cause and effect. We are the real cause of history's repetition.

In article A, global warming has been melting the ice in the Arctic, clearing the Northwest Passage between Europe and Asia. Soon enough, there will be frantic searches for resources and trade routes in the Arctic, similar to the search for new land in America during English colonization. Just as the Puritans explored the New World that is America, we are now exploring the far reaches of the Arctic. In article B, agencies and certain groups started investigating the inhumane methods of interrogation used by holding facilities. The inhumane interrogations of prisoners in places such as Guantanamo Bay are similar to the Salem Witch Trials. In both cases, innocent people are put under suspicion by others with no plausible evidence. In these ways, people's actions have caused history to repeat itself.

I like your perspective on this matter Raquel. It is possible that history may not repeat itself completely but as a slightly different version of our past (to be more futuristic because of our advancements in technology).

Michael Appelgate
H block

Simit Christian said...

Historical trends are known to have been repeated, or have reoccurred in a similar fashion. For example, recently interrogation techniques utilized by the CIA were labeled inhumane. From water boarding, physical torture and other violent approaches to obtain information from “possible” terrorist related individuals, government agencies have clearly mistreated suspects to gain any significant details. “Lets keep in mind what the objective is—to get information that will save American lives, and there is an absolute necessity to use effective interrogation to gain insights on a plan to kill Americans” stated s senior intelligence agent defending the brutal actions towards detainees This issue appears similar to the witch trials in Europe and the New England colony in the 17th century. During these trials mainly females were accused of witch craft, and these accused witches had little strength to defend themselves.
Another example of congruence between historical events and modern ones include possibilities of colonization in Antarctica. Certain people believe that countries in the future would compete for territories in the cold continent. The “Scramble for Africa” and for America are valid reasons that show that the predictions about Antarctica are possible and will most likely occur.
The aforementioned similarities seem to convey that historical events are bound to occur again over time. Furthermore, one can clearly observe that humans are expected to make similar decisions that lead to surprisingly comparable results. However when Briane Hannefay mentions that “The years change, the tactics change, the world changes, but the people in it don’t change” she seems to misunderstand the connection between modern events and historical ones. Although humans might share certain characteristics, they might not always have similar thought and beliefs, along with approaches to any issues, each individual posses unique feature and ways of thinking.

Briana Kohm said...

A question that fills the mind of many is whether or not history will repeat itself? Personally if people are not informed about the past then it is likely that history just might repeat itself. When people learn about history it is to inform them of a hard ship or a problem that happened a long time ago. People also learn about history and how it shaped the way things are today. If people don’t learn from the mistakes of the past then they just might happen again.
A good example of a history repeating itself although it many may disagree is the Holocaust. Today there are genocides happening all over the world to me this is what is meant by “history being destined to repeat itself”. Since the Holocaust was a genocide that killed millions you would hope that people would learn from the past and try to stop it from happening again. Another Example of a repetition of history would be War. World War I was a terrible war and many countries were affected by it. Not long after WWI did World War II happen. It is horrific that people just don’t learn from War and the history behind it.
Hopefully the people that do take history seriously help others to learn the importance in knowing what happened many years ago. If more people are knowledgeable about the past then maybe people will use this information to the best they can.

Briana Kohm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vince said...

"Is history destined to repeat itself"? Such a question might involve a bit of opinion and logic in it, so this particular question seems to be a trick question. But the show must go on, so in an overall favoring, I say history is destined to repeat itself.

History is destined to repeat itself because people don't favor difference over similarity. From time and time again in the history of mankind, individuals have performed, and behaved the same excact way for over a millenia of generation. People have fought wars for many centuries, perhaps even at the dawn of mankind. Where their is value, there is competition. Mankind fights for resources which will help themselfs expand onward. Not surprisingly, in the modern day world, forms of interrogation that exsisted thousands of years ago are still being practiced on present day people. Examples of such interrogation tactics include the use of Waterboarding. A type of Chinese torture which will cause immense pain to the victim causes them to feel that they might drown, even though the user is only using small water amounts. Old habits die hard, I suppose.
In addition to Waterboarding, people are still using competition and conquestful imperialism to conquer the Artic for oil resources. During the fifteenth and seventeenth century, many European countries were also trying to conquestful imperialism and competition to take control over the Americas. DaJa Vu, coincidence, or the simple circle of life? Another example of how destiny will always repeat were the Salem Witch Trials. Out of sheer fear, suspected individuals were interrogated to the extent of death.
Obviously, history will tend to repeat itself here and there, and will continue this trend for the rest of humanity. I certainly agree with Ho Lee with his remarks about how today, people exaggerate how much oil are really in the polar ice caps, just like Columbus did when he went back to the Old World, except in his case it was spices, gold, and fortune.History will always repeat, no matter what happens. War is current, and yet wars were most likely happening the dawn of mankind. Connections from the past to present are key to truly understanding how history has repeated itself thoughout the years. History is destined to repeat itself, but individuals could attempt to change it's course.

Ms. Francis said...

Aleksandra: Compelling, pointed post. Excellent use of detail from article to support your thesis. E+

Brianne: Thoughtful, and I like the way you worked with Aleksandra's post. E-

Katie: A bit too concise (brief) but thoughtful and accurate. G

Rosa: Interesting use of current events to prove your thesis. Solid interaction with other posts. E-

Laurel: Informed and specific. I remind you to elaborate on your examples for a more compelling response. E-

Kadijat: Excellent use of your knowledge from last year and of current events. I was suprised to hear you think harsh interrogations are justified in Zimbabwe and China! E+

Dana: Interesting connection to the Berangia land bridge & it's influence of history. Try to elaborate on your examples and utilize specific details from the articles to enhance and support your thesis. G

Ho: Nice incorporation of statistics in your blog. I would have loved to see more elaboration on the historical evidence you gave that humans act unethically throughout history.

Raquel: Detailed and well supported. This is a compelling and thoughtful blog. E+

Michael: Interesting though I feel you could've incorporated more details. G+

Simit: Analytical and well supported post. E

Vincent: I'm curious what your evidence is for the amount of oil in the arctic being exaggerated? Otherwise, thoughtful post. G