Global Gerrymandering

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For the real go-getters, gerrymandering is used internationally to carve up whole populations and ethnic groups. For example, in the natural world, lakes and rivers (and even much larger bodies of water) unite people, whereas cartographers often draw their borders right down the middle of the waterway, thereby splitting the population and pitting one riverbank or shoreline against the other. When the Americas were carved up, many smaller Indian bands were packed into one collective and forced to duke it out among themselves, while larger and stronger bands were cracked by new borders drawn across their lands. At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, the European colonists chopped Africa apart and then put it back together in such a way as to keep the Africans at each other’s throats or else separated by many new haphazardly placed national borders. As WWI was winding down, Britain carved up its acquired Arab territory in order to control the flow of oil. And the Kurds had their homeland divided by four countries in 1923, effectively making them politically non-existent. From Tibet to Hawaii, Quebec to Aceh, Biafra to Chechnya, separatist movements seek autonomy from governments that they perceive work against them. Thanks to international gerrymandering, there are more than 300 indigenous nations around the world that are not official states.

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