Making the World Squirm
Making the World Squirm
  • Lim Youjeong, Lee Sujin
  • 승인 2014.05.10 20:21
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Occupied by Two Countries, England and China

At first, Hong Kong was part of China.  It was one of China's islands.  However, Hong Kong was occupied by very few residents because the land was desolate, except near the ocean.  Hong Kong was used as a trading port.  The area made for good trade between the West and China.  Major trade was done with England, and the trading lead to friction between the West and China.  According to China's traditional values, a merchant led a humble station in life, so Chinese looked down upon western merchants and leaved high custom tariffs.  For these reasons, most western countries that traded with China did not like China.  Chinese people were poisoned with an opium addiction, and the opium came from western countries like England.  Because the Chinese government saw the state of its nation and people clearly, China set an embargo on the import of opium.  However, as people were addicted to opium, the smuggling of opium into China begun.  The opium trade and smuggling caused a war to break out between England and China.  China, after losing the war, signed a poorly drawn up treaty.  One of the stipulations was that China gave the Island of Hong Kong to England for 99 years.  After signing the treaty, another war started between England and China, but China was once again defeated.  It also lost the Kowloon area near the Island.  After four decades of trade and war, the English government made an agreement with China.  The agreement stated that all of Hong Kong would become British land.  With this agreement, Hong Kong fell under British rule. 
At that time, the England Empire was at the zenith of its power.  In reality, England didn't want to govern the territory but needed a space to maintain England's economical system, so countries that were governed by England including Hong Kong, itself, didn't consider Hong Kong an unfortunate colonial country.  Furthermore, Hong Kong was only settled by a few people, so there was no fear Hong Kong would act towards independence.  Hong Kong became a trade center for England and its economic development.  England nurtured Hong Kong’s culture, transportation system, and standard of living.  Enhanced by this nurturing, Hong Kong became what it is today.  Nowadays, Hong Kong is a completely independence city, enjoying huge profit from its tourist industry.  Moreover, its economic power is also a world trend setter.

A Place of a Revolution

In the 14th century, when western countries like France, England, and Spain were struggling to build national infrastructures.  On the other hand, Portugal had settled national infrastructures and was a stable nation.  Therefore, it was easy for Portugal to take over Brazil.  Starting at that time in history, Brazil became a colonial country of Portugal, and this lasted for 21 years.  During the colonial years, Brazilian land was used to cultivate sugarcane and cotton.  The plantations were farmed by exploited Brazilians.  Brazil’s global status fell because it lost its solidarity.  Portugal also enjoyed the profits from sugarcane and cotton sales.  In those days, people in countries that were colonized were seen as slaves.  Over time, most countries on the Americas were liberated from the slavery system; unfortunately, Brazil couldn’t. 
In the 18th century, Brazil, despite being occupied by Portugal, developed its economy.  However, as Portugal monopolized trade with the US, all export profits were not seen as Brazil earnings.  Portugal took all profits related to sugarcane and cotton, which eventually led to an uproar among Brazilians.  Brazilians separated two groups: one insisted on the need to work for independence, but the other asserted the need to remain true to Portugal.  Generally, the second group wanted to remain on friendly terms with Portugal but create an independent Brazilian empire.  It was then that a historic event happened, which supported the group insisting on a friendly relationship with Portugal.  Portugal’s royal family was killed by France militants.  Some of the Portugal royal family were lucky enough to be in Brazil at the time.  King Joan Ⅵ didn't want to return to Portugal because he felt Brazil to be a safe haven, so Joan Ⅵ declared Brazil an is an union pack with Portugal.  However, Brazilians wanted Brazil to become a republic and independent from Portugal.  Therefore, they fought hard to make this idea happen.  Finally, on September 7th 1882, Brazil succeeded in cutting ties with Portugal.  Once Brazil established republicanism, Joan Ⅵ returned to Portugal, and Brazil finally saw real independence.

Shake the World

In June 1987, there was a big movement towards democracy in South Korea.  Most people wanted to overthrow the dictatorship.  In the process, a lot of people were killed or injured.  Koreans were told that to live comfortably required sacrifice, but in the stretch of 26 years, Koreans became indifferent.  They felt sacrifice to be an old historic adage that no longer had any application.  Now, people elsewhere in the world are striving for democracy.  The struggle for democracy is no longer an old story written in a history textbook.  It’s a real world event happening right now in Syria. 
The Syria Civil War started as a cry for democracy, but has now become twisted and incorporates other ideals such as power struggles and religious conflicts.  In addition to Syria, other Middle East nations are experiencing states of tension.  Two important points come to light from the Syria Civil War.  The first is secularism versus Islamism.  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pro-secularism while the Muslim Brotherhood leads an Islamic movement.  Even though demonstrations are held by general concerned citizens, the Muslim Brotherhood has turned the protests into a civil war against Assad’s government.  Second, there are two major religious sects in the Islamic faith: Shiah and Sunni.  Assad’s government members are of the Shiah community, which is a population minority, while the Muslim Brotherhood and most other Syrians follow the Sunni sect.  Each Middle East country has both Shiah and Sunni sects, but only one of the sects takes control of the nation, so outside nations are divided when it comes to Assad’s government.  There appears to be no end in sight for the Syrian Civil War.  Many people continue to die even now.  Koreans don’t know how to help, but we do know that the war needs global attention, so everyone should keep trying to find a solution that leads to peace in the land.

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