Ethnicity

Anna Eshoo and the Ignored Plight of the Assyrians

In looking over the sample ballot for the 2010 November election, my mind turned to the Assyrians as I came to the name of Anna Eshoo, their champion in the U.S. Congress. By “Assyrians” I mean not the ancient empire-builders, but rather the modern community, several million strong globally, that claims to be their – Read More

Catalonia: Nationality or Nation?

The Spanish policy of preserving national unity by devolving power to the regions faces three main challenges. First, some groups remain unsatisfied, pressing for enhanced self-rule or even outright independence. Second, members of several smaller unrecognized groups seek to hive off their own autonomous communities. Third, the borders of the existing autonomous communities poorly correspond – Read More

The Nation, Nationalities, and Autonomous Regions in Spain

In everyday speech, “nation” and “nationality” are largely synonymous terms. “Nationality,” my desktop dictionary informs me, is “the status of belonging to a particular nation.” In Spain, however, the Spanish equivalents of the two terms have come to convey distinct meanings through political fiat. The official differentiation of the Spanish nation from several distinct Spanish – Read More

Election Controversies and Ethnic Complexities on the Not-So-Tiny Island of Bougainville

In June 2010, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG) voted out three quarters of its parliamentary representatives along with its president. Whereas the outgoing leader was a former revolutionary committed to independence, the newly elected chief executive favors continuing ties with PNG. Most sources, however, do not see a loss of – Read More

Why Iran’s Azeris Are Iranian

The weakness of Azeri nationalism in Iran (discussed last week) seems surprising at first glance. Iranian Azeris form a large, distinctive, and relatively cohesive ethnic group that has been deprived of basic educational rights in its own language. Similar situations in neighboring countries have resulted in serious unrest if not prolonged insurgency – think of – Read More

Provincial Names and Ethnic Tensions in Pakistan

A bill to change Pakistan’s constitution, largely by reducing the extensive powers of the presidency and increasing provincial autonomy, has been working its way through parliament. The proposal has broad support; President Asif Ali Zardari is extremely unpopular, as were his immediate processors. One seemingly innocuous amendment to the bill, however, has proved bitterly divisive – Read More

Communist Insurgents and Ethnic Militias in Northern Luzon: The NPA Vs. the CPLA

The main focus of insurgency in the Philippines has long been the Muslim southwest. But as discussed in last Friday’s post, the Maoist New People’s Army (NPA) remains active in remote areas throughout the archipelago. One of the NPA’s main zones of operation is the Cordillera of Northern Luzon, a rugged area divided into – Read More