Russia first occupied Lithuania and introduced a program of “Russification,” an attempt to eliminate Lithuanian language and culture in favor of Russian culture, in the mid-19th century. After 22 years of independence from Russia, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939 reintroduced the Soviet Union’s dominance over Lithuania—as well as the other Baltic states: Estonia and Latvia. The Soviet Union publicly stated that Lithuania had joined the USSR willingly, although secret protocols of the pact disputed this. Following World War II, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania.
On July 19, 1979, the Nicaraguan revolution succeeded in overthrowing one of Latin America’s most long-lasting dictatorships: the Somoza dynasty. Leading the popular uprising was the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) – a leftist revolutionary movement that had been fighting against the Somoza government for the previous 19 years. Throughout Latin America, the Sandinista Revolution brought cheers and euphoria. The early years of the revolutionary government brought dramatic improvements in the lives of poor Nicaraguans.
In the late nineteenth century, the Argentinian working class had gained greater self-identification during the economic crisis of 1898–1904, when labor strikes – an unknown phenomenon up to then – unleashed the rapid expansion of labor organizing and labor unions, and the national FORA (Regional Argentinian Workers' Federation) was created. In the first decade of the 20th century, union actions were met with extreme repression by the state, which proved incapable of responding through conciliation, leading to general strikes in 1902, 1904, and 1906.
Ferdinand Marcos was elected president of the Philippines in 1965. Marcos was reelected in 1969 and when barred to run for a third term, he declared martial law and gave himself near absolute power. Marcos assumed full control of the military, dissolved congress, and had many of his political opponents and critics arrested. One of his more prominent critics had been Senator Benigno Aquino who was prepared to challenge Marcos in the 1973 election, had it occurred.
Many Turkish families know the horror of having a loved one simply disappear. From 1991 through 1994, more than one hundred Turkish citizens disappeared after being detained by police. Most, but not all, of the disappeared were Kurds from southeastern Turkey suspected of collaborating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an independence movement of the historically oppressed Kurds. When families of the missing sought information from police, they were mocked, beaten, and often imprisoned. Many victims were eventually found alongside highways or in unmarked graves
On February 14, 2005, a massive car-bomb explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon, which killed twenty-two people, including former prime minister and leader of the opposition parties Rafiq Hariri. Suspicions were high that Syria, which had occupied Lebanon with troops and intelligence agents for three decades, was behind the attack. Parliamentary elections were approaching and the anti-Syria opposition was widely expected to win. Rafiq Hariri was a charismatic billionaire businessman who had become the most popular opposition politician in Lebanon.
Agitation in Iran was visible by May 1977 in predominantly intellectual circles. A group of lawyers—upset by the government’s interference in the judiciary—drafted a strongly worded manifesto chronicling the legal abuses that had occurred under the Shah’s regime. Poets formed a Writers’ Association to call for an end to censorship and the activity of SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police. A National Organization of University Teachers began fighting for academic freedom while university and seminary students called for academic freedom in the schools.
In June of 1973, workers at the Brookside coal mine in Harlan County, Kentucky voted 113-55 to replace their membership in the Southern Labor Union (SLU) and join the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) union. The SLU was largely seen as serving the interests of the mine owners rather than the workers.
The owners of the mine, Eastover Coal Company, a subsidiary of Duke Power Company, refused to sign the new contracts, which would have established a UMWA local in Brookside.
Phulbari is a region in the northwest region of Bangladesh. It is an important agricultural region that is also home to low quality coal deposit. Several companies have proposed to use the open pit technique for mining the coal, which would displace thousands of people, many of them indigenous people. The proposed mining projects would destroy farmland, homes, and divert water sources to be used in the mining process.
Language is an important aspect of culture as it communicates and preserves heritage, ideas, and identity. Pakistan and India became independent from British rule in August of 1947. The British Imperial Government, the Indian Muslim League, and the Indian National Congress split the region based on religious lines of Hinduism and Islam. Large regions that were majority Muslim became Pakistan, and regions that were majority Hindu became India. Pakistan was geographically separated into East Pakistan (modern day Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (modern day Pakistan).