Monthly Archives: July 2018

Afghanistan

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AFGHANISTAN

Afghanistan is a country in Asia. This nation is sometimes classified as being part of South Asia. It is sometimes categorized as being in the Middle East. There is no consensus on this.

The neighbours of Afghanistan are Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The climate of Afghanistan is hot in summer and cold in winter. The Hindu Cush mountains dominate the northern section of the country. There is plenty of snow there in winter.

Much of the country is desert. Not much of the land is fertile. There are new forests.

Afghanistan had civilization for thousands of years. A long time ago the nation was Hindu. The place was divided into several warring statelets.

In the 8th century AD Islam came to Afghanistan. The Afghans converted en bloc. 99% of Afghans are Muslims. Most of them are Sunnis. There used to be significant Sikh and Hindu communities. There were Jews in Afghanistan until 10 years ago.

The country gradually united. At times it was conquered by India. The Mongols conquered this land. They then proceeded into India.

Afghanistan then split apart from India in the 17th century. The country was semi-united. There was a King of Afghanistan.

By the mid 19th century the Britishers had established mastery over India. British troops were on the border with Afghanistan. The Afghans had been wont to raid the very west of India. This is the are that we know as Pakistan.

The British went to war against Afghanistan. Most of the soldiers on the British side were Indian. It was 1839 – the First Anglo-Afghan War. It was a rare British defeat. The Afghans practiced guerrilla tactics. They sniped at the Brits from the hills. Only one man made it back to Jalalabad Fort. It was the most ignominious British defeat ever.

Russia and the United Kingdom vied for influence in Central Asia. They sent agents into the region incognito. They had to have absolute command of the local tongues and pass themselves off as Mohammedans. Sometimes they were unmasked and executed. One such type was Connolly who went under the pseudonym Khan-Ali which was an allusion to his real name.

This attempt to wrest control over Central Asia was know to Britons as the Great Game. The Russians called it the Tournament of Shadows – which is more evocative. Sir Rudyard Kipling wrote in a poem ‘I will go far and far into the north playing the great game.’

Much about the region can be gleaned from the pages of The Man who would be king. This is a novel from the pen of Kipling. There was a region called Kaffiristan which held out from Islam until the 19th century.

In 1879 there was another Anglo-Afghan War. The British ambassador in Kabul, Louis Cagnavari, had been murdered. This resulted in another British reverse.

The King of Afghanistan was invited on a state visit to the United Kingdom. He landed at Dover and entrained for London. He arrived at Victoria Station. He was taken by horse drawn coach to Buckingham Palace. One Cockney said to another ”Who is that then?”. The other man answered ”he is the King of Afghanistan.” The first man asked ”So who is king of the other half?” That is because Cockneys pronounce ‘half’ as ‘af’.

In 1919 there was the Third Anglo-Afghan War. This was a draw.

Afghanistan received refugees from Central Asia. In the 1920s Turcomans and the like fled the onslaught of the Red Army. Nevertheless the country established a cordial relationship with the USSR. Some Afghans were exposed to communist ideology. Afghanistan proclaimed her neutrality in the Second World War.

The Central Asians who fled communism in the 1920s were living in Afghanistan  50 years later when another attempt was made to impose communism on them. Their fight was red in tooth and claw.

Afghanistan was still very underdeveloped in the 1950s. The country had very little railway line. Most people were illiterate. Many people lived in abject poverty. Few people had electricity.

In 1970s a communist insurgency started in the country. King Zahir Shah tried to contain it. He was overthrown and a communist regime assumed control. The governing party was the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan PDPA. It was divided into two factions – Khalq (People) and Parcham (Flag).

Many rural Afghans objected to communism. A rebellion began in the countryside. Most Afghans were conservative Muslims. The USSR was worried that its ally would be ousted. On Christmas Eve 1979 the Soviet Army entered Afghanistan. The aim was to prop up the ailing communist government. The world denounced this as an invasion. This was despite Kabul requesting Soviet assistance.

There ensued a ten year irregular conflict. There were many atrocities on both sides. Over 40 000 Soviets were slain. That is what the USSR would admit to. Millions of Afghans fled to Pakistan. Pakistan assisted the mujahideen. This mean the resistance. There were at least eight different resistance organisations. The US was very keen to inflict a defeat on the USSR. The CIA gave huge sums of money to arm the mujahideen. They disbursed this to Pakistan. The ISI – Pakistani intelligence – handed it to their preferred factions.

In 1989 the Soviets pulled out. Many people expected the regime to collapse forthwith. It held out for four years. There then followed the war of all against all. Alliances shifted.

Finally in 1993 the Taleban began to take over the country. They were ultra reactionary Islamists. They banned television. They outlawed music. The Pakistanis recognized the Taleban as the de jure government of Afghanistan. Almost every other country recognized the Northern Alliance as the legitimate government of the country. The Northern Alliance held Afghanistan’s UN seat. The Taleban were mostly Pathans and spoke Pashto. That made them the same group as the people in Pakistan’s north-west.

Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qa’eda organization was in Afghanistan at the invitation of the Taleban. The Talibs brought some very rough justice to the country.

In 2001 Al Qa’eda carried out the attacks on the World Trade Centre. It was the 11th of September. These infamous attacks were called Nine Eleven.

The US Government demanded that the Taleban hand over Bin Laden to stand trial and expel the Al Qa’eda members. The Talibs refused. The United States commenced military action. They fought in close concert with the Northern Alliance. The USA invoked the article of the NATO charter that demanded other NATO members help them. NATO countries sent troops to assist.

The conflict in Afghanistan rumbles on. The Taleban have clawed back much of the country. Opium is almost the only export. The king came back. Zahir Shah had been in exile in Rome. He was not restored to his throne. He died some years back.

The country is democracy. Hamid Karzai was the president of years. Corruption is endemic. Women’s rights have advanced markedly under the new system.

Dari and Pashto are the main languages. Turcoman, Uzbek and Tajik are also spoken. Dari is Persian – the language of Iran. Iran is a very Shia country which is why Afghanistan will not unite with it.

The flag is a tricolor. The vertical bars are black, green and red. There is a white emblem like a building on the middle bar which is red.

Afghanistan is a poverty stricken country. It relies on foreign aid. Many Afghans work abroad. They are particularly found in Pakistan.

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  1. What is the capital of this country?
  2. What was the original religion of the country?
  3. Which lands border this one? Five marks.
  4.  What is the main mountain range?
  5. Does this nation have a littoral?
  6. What is the main religion of the country?
  7. Who was the last king of the country?
  8. What are the two major languages?
  9.  Which European country invaded Afghanistan in the 19th century?
  10.  Which superpower sent troops in here in 1979?
  11. What was the ideology of the PDPA?
  12. Who are the Taleban? Three marks?
  13. What was Nine Eleven?
  14.  What are the minor languages of this country?
  15. Dari is the same as which language?
  16. What is the climate of Afghanistan like?
  17.  What is the landscape like?
  18.  What is the main export?
  19. Who was the first president of free Afghanistan?
  20.  Would you like to visit this land?
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Oman

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OMAN

Oman is a country in Asia. The country is located in a region called the Middle EAST. The country is beside the Arabian Sea and the Gulf. The climate is warm in winter and very hot in summer.

The neighbours of Oman are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman has an exclave at the end of a peninsula. It is only connected to the rest of the country by going through the UAE.

Most of the country is desert. There are steep mountains near the sea. There is little fertile land. Many people were nomads. They roamed the land on camels and with flocks. They sought water and fresh pasture.

In the 7th century AD Islam was brought to Oman. The Omanis are mostly Ibadis. This is a version of Islam that is neither Sunni nor Shia.

The country was divided into different tribes. Each had a chieftain. They raided each other for camels. This was considered gentlemanly. They used minimum violence in raids but people were sometimes killed. This was different from war when killing men was entirely acceptable.

The Omanis were often fishermen. They also sailed to India and to Africa to trade. They set up ports such as Zanzibar and Gwadar.

In the 17th century the Omanis came into contact with the British. They signed a treaty with the Britishers. This granted the Omanis protection. The British Army set up a base in Oman. Foreign affairs were handled by the United Kingdom.

In the 1960s the British decided to withdraw. The country became fully independent. Oman ceded Zanzibar and Gwadar.

Sultan Qaboos overthrew his father. Qaboos married years ago but had no children. He is a Gilbert and Sullivan fan. The sultan founded a music school. He is go ahead and declared that married women should work.

Qaboos has been terminally ill since 2015. He has written his will and put it in a safe. In this document he nominate his successor. Until then no one knows who will come next.

The capital city is Muscat.

The currency is the Omani Riyal.

Air Oman is the flag carrier.

The official language is Arabic.

This is a wealthy country. It has plenty of oil. The population is only 4 000 000. The wealth does not have to be shared with many people. There are many migrant workers from India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Kenya.

The Flag of Oman is red, white and green. There is a knife emblem on it.

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  1. Which continent is Oman in?
  2. Which region is Asia is Oman in?
  3. Oman abuts onto which two seas?
  4. What is the language of this country?
  5. What is the currency?
  6. What is the capital city?
  7. What is the climate like?
  8.  Name the three neighbours of Oman. Three marks.
  9. Describe the landscape.
  10. What is the major religion in Oman?
  11. What European land handled foreign affairs for Oman?
  12. Name two overseas ports that Oman once ruled. Two marks.
  13. When did Oman regain her sovereign independence?
  14. Who is the Sultan of Oman?
  15. Why is this country prosperous?
  16. What activity is Qaboos enthusiastic about?
  17. Who will be the next sultan?
  18. Draw the flag. Five marks.
  19. Which countries have dispatched guest workers to Oman?
  20. What is the population?

Albania

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ALBANIA

Albania is a European country. This nation is situated in the south-east of the continent. The neighours of Albania are Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. The country is beside the Adriatic Sea. Just across the Straits of Otranto one finds Italy.

The climate of Albania is mild in winter and very warm in summer. The land is fairly mountainous yet fertile.

Albania was part and parcel of the Roman Empire in ancient times. Christianity was introduced here at the end of the Roman epoch. When the Roman Empire dissolved this land became independent once more. People professed the Catholic edition of Christianity.

In the 15th century the Ottomans arrived from Turkey. The Albanians were so valiant in fighting the Ottomans that the country was known as the right arm of the Pope. In the end the Ottomans prevailed. Most Albanians converted to Islam en masse. 80% of Albanians are Mohammedans. 10% are Catholic Christians and 10% are Orthodox Christians.

Albania became part of the Ottoman Empire. People from other provinces of the empire arrived there. Likewise Albanians shifted to other Ottoman lands.

The Ottomans built Turkish baths. Turkish was the official language. They took some Christian boys to be Janissaries. Janissaries were raised as Muslims and to speak Turkish. They were an elite regiment.

In early 20th century Albania ceased to be an Ottoman province. The country became independent. A monarchy was established. The country was small and not wealthy. Moreover, many ethnic Albanians lived outside Albania.

The country fought on the Allied side in the First World War. The nation suffered heavy casualties.

In the 1920s and 1930s the country was ruled by King Zog. There was a border dispute with Greece. Italy was the regional power. She came down on the Albanian side.

The nation was underdeveloped. She relied heavily on Italy. In 1939 the Italians annexed the country. Some Albanians joined the Italian Army. Others fought against Italy.

In 1945 the Second World War was over. Albania regained her independence. Enver Hoxha was a communist partisan leader. He became the president. His surname is pronounced ‘HOD ja”. Hoxha ran a viciously Stalinist regime. Dissent was mercilessly stamped out.

The British secret service -MI6 – tried to insert Albanian anti-communist agents into Albania. They were all caught and killed. This was because the Soviets had a mole in MI6. Kim Philby was a British communist who was feeding back information to the Soviets. This scuppered every bid to weaken the communists.

The country split with the USSR in the 1960s. They considered the USSR too liberal. Albania became close to China.

In 1985 Hoxha died. His regime carried out. Religion was outlawed. People lived in dire poverty.

In 1989 the communist regime ended. Dr Sali Berisha was elected president. He was a cardiologist and therefore one of the few people permitted to travel around. The country became a democracy and a capitalist country.

The rest of the world was horrified by the severe penury under which the Albanians suffered. Conditions in orphanages there were a scandal. Many Albanians emigrated especially to Italy.

Family values are very strong in Albania. So are gender roles. If there is no man alive in a family then a woman can become a sworn virgin. This means that she swears that she is a virgin. She dresses as a man and behaves as one. She is accepted as a man but cannot wed.

The capital city is Tirana. In Albania it is Tirane.

Kosovo is a neighbouring country. 90% of the people there are ethnically Albanian. Macedonia has 25% of its people who are ethnic Albanians. Some Albanians want a greater Albania.

Mother Theresa was an Albanian from Macedonia. She became a nun. She was a tireless charity in India.

In the Albanian language their country is Shqiperiska. This means Land of the Eagle. In nearby countries people sometimes called them shipdas – that is derogatory.

The Flag has a red field. There is a black eagle on it.

The currency is the Leke pronounced ”leek”.

The official language is Albanian.

The European Union is eager to admit Albania as a member state.

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  1. What is the capital of this country?
  2. Describe the climate?
  3. Does this nation have a littoral?
  4. Name the neighbours of Albania? Three marks,
  5. What is the currency?
  6. Which was the first empire to rule this land?
  7. What is the official language?
  8. Describe the landscape of Albania.
  9. What was the first major religion of this land?
  10. What was this country called the right arm of the pope?
  11. What has been the main religion of this country since the 15th century?
  12. Draw the flag.
  13. Which European country invaded Albania in 1939?
  14. Who was the last King of Albania?
  15. Who was Enver Hoxha?
  16. Who was the first democratic president of the country?
  17. Which did anti-communist activity fail in the 1960s?
  18. Which European land did many Albanians go to in the 1990s?
  19. What is the Albanian name for their country?
  20. Which two nearby countries have large indigenous ethnically Albanian communities?
  21. What is a sworn virgin?

 

 

 

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new political party UK ====================================================

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Sir Vince Cable missed Brexit vote

labour eurpphiles moderate

left labour eurspectic

1983 promisr to leave eec. lingest sucide note in history – Gerald kaudmann.

SDP. Limehosue declarion

tories might join eurofanatic party

cable bon mot stalin to mr bean. 75. invisible leader. may be pressured to stand down.

lib dems did worse last time than before.

tories would be helped. anti Brexit vite split

new parties tend to shrivel u afrera few years . UKIP bukced the trend

 

Pakistan election =============================================================

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T I I winning

khan . who he

anti cirruption. no kleptocracy

PPP down. bilal gay

PML Nawaz sharif gaol.

ISI picks winner. deep state

1988 election fixed.

what happens next?

do not be optimistic

many severe challenges. taleban, india. poverty, pollution, population explosion.

iran presents and opportunity. help them

Trump will take no nonsense. Afghan conflict may end.

Chinese economic corridor.

Algeria

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ALGERIA

Algeria is a country in Africa. This country lies in the very north of the continent. It is beside the Mediterranean Sea. To the west of Algeria there are Morocco and Mauritania. To the east is Tunisia and Libya. To the south there is Mali and Niger.

The northern section of the country is mountains. These are the Atlas Mountains. These mountains also run into Morocco. These mountains are mentioned in Greek myths. Hercules stood here to hold up the sky. Later he was replaced by Atlas who did the same.

The climate of the country is mild in winter and very hot in summer. It is not so bad in winter.

This country was conquered by the Romans. They founded cities here. The Carthaginians had been there before. The coast is mentioned in Ancient Greek annals. Christianity came to this land at the end of the Roman era. St Augustine of Hippo came from there.

There was a Vandal kingdom in northern Algeria in the Dark Ages. These people gave their name to mindless destruction.

The people in northern Algeria mostly spoke the Berber languages.

In the 7th century AD Islam began in Saudi Arabia. The Islamic faith spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East. By the end of the 8th century almost everyone in Algeria was a Muslim. Algeria became part of the Islamic Empire.

Muslims from North Africa invaded Spain and Portugal. Algerians joined this invasion. Soon the whole of Spain and Portugal were under Muslim rule. The North African Muslims were called Moors by the Europeans. The Moors invaded France but were defeated by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours. But for that the continent might have become Islamic.

Algeria was part of the Islamic Empire. Eventually this fell apart. The Ottoman Empire was founded in the 11th century. In time Algeria came to be a province of the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan of this empire resided at Istanbul. He appointed a governor of Algeria whose title was the dey. In the 15th century the Moors were driven out of Iberia.

The Ottoman Empire declined in the 18th century. Algeria became largely independent. The sultan remained the titular ruled of the country. There were Barbary pirates based on the coast of Algeria. They raided the shipping of Christendom. They pillaged Christian towns. The Spanish developed a phrase equivalent to ”the coast is clear.” It is ”no hay Moriscos in la costa”. That means ”there are no Moors on the coast.” Infidels were abducted and taken as slaves.

In 1830 the French ambassador was speaking the Dey of Algiers. The dey was displeased with the ambassador and struck him in the face with a fly whisk. The French then invaded Algeria. France annexed northern Algeria very quicky because they possessed superior military technology.

French immigrants arrived. They introduced modern agriculture to the country. French became the official language. Some Algerians were dispossessed of their land.

The French did not evangelise for Christianity. That would have enraged the Algerians.

More European settlers arrived such as Germans, Italians, Spanish and Maltese. They became French citizens. In the 19th century Muslims could not be French citizens.

Algerians were allowed to join the French Army. They served in Muslim units.

Railways and roads were built by the French. Algeria was represented in the French National Assembly. France did much for healthcare in Algeria.

Gradually the French extended their control to southern Algeria. That area is mostly desert and of negligible economic value. People there were principally nomads.

In 1904 France became a secular state. Muslims were allowed to become citizens. Very few did so.

In the First World War many Algerians fought for France. This was vital in ensuring Allied victory. By this time some cities on the Algerian coast had a French majority.

In the Second World War France was beaten in 1940. A Vichy Government was established under Henri-Philippe Petain. Petain co-operated with Germany. The Governor of Algeria was Admiral Darlan. The British were anxious lest the French Fleet be placed at the disposal of Germany. The Royal Navy attacked the French Navy at Mers el Kebir in Algeria. Over 1 000 French sailors were killed.

In 1942 Americans landed in ALgeria. Darlan changed sides and joined the Allies. He was assassinated by a French monarchist.

At the end of the war some Algerians massacred 100 French people. French settlers then killed 10 000 Algerians. No one was punished for this huge scale massacre.

Some Algerians agitated for independence. In Vietnam there was a successful uprising. This gave heart of Algerian nationalists. In 1954 and insurrection began. There were many crimes on both sides.

France spent a lot of money trying to keep control of Algeria. Many Frenchmen were killed and conscription was extended. France agreed to independence for her other colonies. Legally Algeria was part of France and not a colony. It had 15% of its people being French.

In 1958 there was a new constitution in France. It was the Fifth Republic. Charles de Gaulle became president again. He said to Frenchmen in Algeria ”Je vous ai compris.” They took this to be an expression of support. In fact he saw that the situation was untenable. He then fast tracked to independence for Algeria. The French settlers les pieds noirs mostly returned to France. Many pro French Algerians moved too. Pro French Algerians who stayed behind were killed.

In 1962 Algeria became independent. It was a military dictatorship. The country was allied to the Soviet Bloc.

Arabic is the official language. French is used a lot but is unofficial. This is the only former French colony never to give French official status. This is because of the ill feeling engendered by the conflict. Many Algerians have emigrated and gone to Francophone nations.

Algeria suffers poverty. There is high population growth. The country’s hydrocarbons have not helped the common people.

In 1991 the army allowed free elections. The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) won. The army then annulled the elections. This lead to years of bloody fighting. The army retained control.

Algiers is the capital city. In Arabic it is Al Jazeera – meaning the island.

The Flag has green and white halves. The green is the on the left. There is a red crescent moon and a red five pointed star on the middle.

Football is popular here.

  1. Which continent is this country in?
  2. What is the capital?
  3. What is the official language?
  4. What is the main religion?
  5. WHat European language is widely spoken here?
  6. What is the original language of the country?
  7. Which saint came from this land?
  8. What was the title of the Ottoman governor of Algeria?
  9. When did the French invade.
  10. Which French president granted independence to Algeria?
  11. Who were les pieds noirs?
  12. What is the main mountain range here?
  13. Is this a rich land?
  14. Who was Admiral Darlan?
  15. What does Al Jazeera mean?

 

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Andorra

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ANDORRA

Andorra is a country in Europe. This country is in the Pyrenees Mountains. It has France to the north and Spain to the south. This country is landlocked. The climate is mild in summer and cool in winter.

The land is not very fertile. Traditionally people were shepherds. The country sells sheep, mutton, wool and leather goods.

There is no railway here. It is too mountainous. Nor is there an airport.

The official language is Catalan. This language is also spoken in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia. Most people in Andorra are also conversant in French and Spanish.

This country has been independent for centuries. Napoleon and other conquerors have not bothered to annex it. Its unimportance protects it.

The country has two heads of state. Their title is co-prince. They are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgel. The bishop lives in France.

The capital city is Andorra La Vella.

The Euro is the currency of this nation.     This is a high income country. The Flag is a tricolor with vertical bars – blue, yellow and red. That is left to right. This is exactly the same flag as Chad or Romania.

This country is not a member of the European Union.

The voting age is 25. It is the highest in the world.

  1. What continent is Andorra in?
  2. Which hemisphere is it in?
  3. What is the capital?
  4. What is the official language?
  5. Which two other languages are spoken in Andorra?
  6. Why did no one conquer Andorra?
  7. What is the currency?
  8. Draw the flag. Three marks.
  9. Is this country by the sea?
  10. Who are the co princes?
  11. What is the legal age to vote in Andorra?
  12. Is this a high income country?
  13. What is the climate like?
  14. Which place other than Andorra speaks Catalan?
  15. Andorra has the same flag as which two other nations?
  16. What transport difficulties does this land have?

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