Skip to content

Topic 2.4. Interethnic and confessional conflicts in the countries of the West.

Topic 2.4. Interethnic and confessional conflicts in the countries of the West.
Abstract: Problems of ethnic minorities in Western Europe. Contradictions between Walloons and Flemings in Belgium, Walloons and Corsicans in France. Formation of the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland, the terrorist organization ETA in Spain. The requirements for secession from the UK from Scotland. The attempt of Quebec, the province of Canada, to create an independent state. Racial conflicts in the US, measures of elimination, consequences.
Requirements for knowledge and skills:
To have an idea: about the history and the current state of development of interethnic and religious conflicts in the Western states.
Know: the causes of ethnic conflicts in Spain, France, Belgium, Britain, the United States and Canada, as well as the measures taken to resolve them.
To be able: to generalize experience in resolving conflicts on religious and national grounds in Western countries and the degree of acceptability of this experience for modern Russia.
Problems of ethnic minorities in Western Europe.
In the modern world there are more than 180 states and only 20 of them are ethnically homogeneous - that is, in them national minorities make up less than 5% of the population. More than 40% of the world's countries are home to five or more national minorities. In total there are about 8 thousand people in the world - large and small - and, theoretically, each of them can claim independence. Thus, the vast majority of countries in the world can become an arena of interethnic conflicts. During the second half of the 20th century, there were more than 300 ethnic conflicts in the world, which periodically passed into the stage of violence.
It would seem that despite the almost 50-year process of economic, and since the 1990s and political integration, the national question in Western Europe is still relevant, although not as acute as in other parts of the world, and in part it has been provoked just by the unification of European states.
The most dangerous tactic of separatists is terror. Today in Western Europe there are at least three centers of separatism in terrorist form: Basque in Spain, Ulster and Scotch in Britain, Corsican in France.
Ethnopolitical conflicts in Great Britain.
Branch of Scotland. The dispute between England and Scotland has been going on for more than one century. At the beginning of the XVIII century. under the military and economic pressure of England, the Scottish Parliament was abolished, only small elements of autonomy were preserved. Since then, in Scotland there is a movement for independence, which only recently managed to achieve tangible success. In 1997, a referendum was held in Scotland, in which 3/4 of the population supported the restoration of the parliament. Thus, in 300 years it was revived. True, the parliament in London still controls the affairs of the economy, foreign policy, defense, social security throughout the UK. The most radical Scottish nationalists advocate the creation of an independent state. May 5, 2011 in Scotland in the parliamentary elections, the Scottish National Party received 69 of 129 seats. According to the statements of its leader Alex Salmond, it is planned to declare a referendum on the separation of Scotland from Great Britain.
Northern Ireland. The situation in Northern Ireland is even more acute and controversial. The origins of the Northern Irish conflict lie in the 12th century, when the independent Irish kingdom of Ulster was formally subordinated to the English crown, although in fact the power remained in the hands of the clan leaders. In the XVI century. The territory of modern Northern Ireland was part of the province of Ulster. The indigenous population of Ulster (Northern Ireland) is Irish. But in the 17th and 18th centuries, during the colonization of this region by the British government, immigrants from England and Scotland were moved here, who occupied not only the best lands, but also key positions in economic and political life. The indigenous population fell into the position of tenants and farm laborers, and lost most political rights. Such national and social stratification is aggravated by religious differences. The indigenous Irish population professes Catholicism, while the descendants of England and Scotland are Protestants. All this turns Ulster into a complex knot of socio-economic, national and religious contradictions.
In 1949, Ireland became an independent state, and now the main efforts of Irish Catholics are aimed at joining it Ulster. At the same time, the struggle is conducted not only by political methods, but also in the form of armed resistance to the British, which is carried out by a paramilitary group - the Irish Republican Army (IRA), established back in 1919. As a result of its terrorist actions, thousands of people were killed, and the British government is forced to keep troops on the territory of Ulster. Only in 1998 the government managed to reach an agreement with the Ulster nationalists. In Northern Ireland, autonomy was restored. But the disarmament of all the fighters of the IRA has not yet been completed, so the threat of a new aggravation of interethnic contradictions has not been lifted.
The national problem in Spain.
The presence in the country of national minorities (almost 6 million Catalans, about 2 million Basque), complex historical development and geographical conditions predetermined the desire of some regions, especially those populated by Basques and Catalans, to independence. The independence of the Basque Country was first legalized in 1425, although later the Basques lost this right. During the Second Republic (1931-1939), the autonomy of the Basque Country was restored - it had its own government and parliament. However, in 1937 the dictator Francisco Franco again eliminated the autonomy of this region. For 40 years of his rule, he was not allowed to hang Catalan and Basque flags, speak the national language and even perform national dances. After the end of the Franco regime, Spain in 1978 adopted a new constitution, according to which 17 autonomous regions were established in the country, including Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country. This largely removed the former tension in interethnic relations. But in the Basque Country, occupying an area of 17.5 thousand km2 with a population of 2.5 million people, which until the end of the XIX century. remained independent, it still remains. Here, the overwhelming majority of nationalist parties require greater autonomy from the government (the Basque Nationalist Party uses the greatest support).
And the extreme nationalists and separatists insist on the formation of their own state under the name of Euskadi (Euskal - the self-name of the Basques), and in the composition of not only the northern provinces of Spain, but also the border area of France. As the main armed force of the extreme Basque separatists, the organization called ETA (Euskadi ta Askat-suna, which means "Euskadi and Freedom") emerged during the reign of Franco. Despite a temporary political calm in the Basque Country, it remains one of the main "hot spots" of Western Europe.
Contradictions between Walloons and Flemings in Belgium.
Here, interethnic relations have become a difficult problem almost from the moment of the formation of this independent state in 1830. Belgium is a bi-national and bilingual country populated mostly by Flemings and Walloons. In addition, a small part of the population in the east of the country speaks German. Flemings live in the north of the country, in Flanders. Their language is very close to that spoken in the neighboring Netherlands. Walloons live in the southern half of the country, in Wallonia, their native language is French.
During the XIX and the first half of the XX century. The economic core of the country was Wallonia. Flanders also acted as an agricultural appendage to the rapidly developing industrial south. Its population was subjected to cultural and national discrimination. But after the Second World War, both parts of the country, as it were, changed roles. In Wallonia, where the coal, metallurgical and other old industries were mainly represented, the economic decline began. At the same time, the potential of Flanders has grown significantly, mainly through the development of new and emerging industries. Due to the higher birth rate, Flanders increased its preponderance over Wallonia in the country's population. Now 58% of all inhabitants live in it, while in Wallonia - 33%; The rest is mainly in the capital district of Brussels, part of the province of Brabant. All this again sharply exacerbated the contradictions between the Walloons and the Flemings.
To overcome the crisis, it was decided to implement a transition to a federal state structure, which was held in several stages and ended in early 1993, when the Belgian parliament approved constitutional reform. At the same time Flemish became the official language in Flemish, in Wallonia - French.
Some Flemish politicians still insist on self-determination. This conflict in 2008 became so acute that it began to threaten the division of Belgium into three parts. Now the political crisis is continuing in the country.
The national question in France.
The French make up 86% of the country's population, while the rest falls on other ethnic groups. They differ from the native French in a cultural and linguistic sense and are settled in the outlying areas of the country. They are Alsatians (1.3 million) in the northeast, speaking one of the High German dialects, Bretons (1 million) in the northwest, whose language belongs to the Celtic group and is related to the languages of Welsh and Irish, Corsicans (300,000) ) on about. Corsica speaking the dialects of the Italian language, the Flemish (100 thousand) in the far north of the country, the Basques (130 thousand) and the Catalans (200 thousand), living in the Pyrenees. All these peoples are actually bilingual. Keeping the knowledge of their native language, they widely use also the French language, which usually conducts training, business and cultural communication.
In France, as in many other countries, the ethnic self-awareness of ethnic minorities has recently intensified, which are struggling to preserve their traditional culture. The separatist movement is most strongly in Corsica, which in 1768 was transferred to Genoa by France for debts.
In 1976, the National Liberation Front of Corsica was established, which began the terrorist struggle for independence of the island. In 2001, the French Parliament granted Corsica limited autonomy. But finally the question has not been solved yet.
The struggle of Quebec for independence.
The population of Canada is divided into two groups: Anglo-Canadians and French-Canadians. Confrontation between the British and French residents of the province began in the middle of the XVIII century, when, after the end of the Seven Years' War, France lost the colony in Canada. The victorious English drove the French Canadians to Lower Canada, renaming it Quebec.
To the conquered population, the invaders regarded themselves as second-class people: they forbade the use of French language and respected national customs. Over time, the position of French-Canadians improved, the French language even became the second state. But conflicts of domestic character continue. Formally, the head of Canada is still the English queen, which irritates part of the Franco-Canadians.
The mass and organized separatist movement in the province began in 1960. Then, the government of Jean Lesage, who came to power in Quebec, promised "to make the French Canadians masters on their land".
In the same years in Quebec, radical movements also acted, aimed at the complete separation of Quebec from Canada and the construction of an independent state. The Quebec party (Party of Quebec, PC) and the Liberation Front of Quebec (the French abbreviation - FLC) stood and are standing on this position today. In the early 1970s, they tried to pass to the tactics of terror. However, most Franco-Canadians condemned him. FLC completely lost popular support, and most of the separatists rallied around the PC. After its victory in the elections in Quebec in 1980, a referendum on the independence of the province was held. Then, the idea of secession from Canada was supported by only 40% of those who voted. The second and to date the last referendum was held in 1995. Then, only a percentage of the percentage decided the outcome of the popular vote: 49.4% of the votes were given for the independence of Quebec. 50.6% of Quebecers voted against withdrawing from Canada. Thus, the referendums did not lead to the separation of Quebec, but allowed considerable autonomy in solving both internal and some external (immigration) issues. The 2007 regular parliamentary elections in Quebec showed that the separatists, according to their results, took only the third place .
Race conflicts in the USA.
Unlike other Western societies, in the United States racial-ethnic relations and conflicts played an independent, or even leading role in the social environment at many stages. Throughout the history of the United States, its color population in its socio-professional structure was significantly different from white. Color was always subjected to overexploitation and racial discrimination, belonged to the most deprived layers of the population.
As a result of mass anti-racist demonstrations, the Civil Rights Act was adopted in 1964, which prohibited discrimination of black Americans in public places, employment, etc. Also, the black population achieved quotas on admission to educational institutions. But racism, which disappeared from the language of the Americans, continued to persist in their minds. Those who received the same rights and privileges "blacks" began to cause discontent among the Whites, because they have more children, are more likely to be in prison, more often receive benefits for poverty, unemployment, and the upbringing of children. White began to separate from the black dense wall and, contrary to their answers to the questions of public opinion services, do not show a desire to mix with them in a single nation. In response, Black Americans took their own racial stance: in order to isolate themselves from whites because of their "ineradicable racism", they sought to form their own subcivilization: they created schools, theaters, higher educational institutions.
Discrimination in the United States was also experienced by groups of American citizens speaking Spanish, most of them Mexicans - Chicanos. Since the beginning of the 1970s, about 16 million legal immigrants have entered the United States. The number of illegal immigrants is not exactly unknown, but it is also measured in millions. Therefore, the racial-ethnic issue remains important.
Although today there is no direct threat to the unity of American society, nevertheless, since the early 1970s. there are tendencies that may contribute to the emergence of racial conflicts. Now, under the influence of mass immigration from the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, the "porosity" of American society is growing, as it contains more or less large inclusions of communities of Chinese, Koreans, Burmese, Vietnamese, Mexicans, etc. A typical example of such an inclusions is the American cities the world of "chinatown" (Chinese communities), where the "one hundred percent" American has no way and where he does not seek.
The race-ethnic problem in modern America poses a considerable threat to the future existence of the white, Anglo-Saxon population. As a result of the uneven distribution of various racial-ethnic groups across the country, powerful clusters of non-whites were formed in a number of regions (Texas, California, New Jersey, etc.). As a result of the territorial concentration of national minorities, numerous "colored" cities appeared on the map of the USA (Washington, Miami, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, New York, etc.). It is the concern to preserve oneself as a Western nation that underlies the growing public sentiment in favor of restricting immigration. But limiting flows of immigrants from other parts of the world comes in collision with the economic benefits for America from this process. As a result, the task of integrating American society is again today.
Questions for self-examination:
What factors determine the Northern Ireland conflict?
What is the basis for the contradictions between Walloons and Flemings in Belgium?
What are the methods of struggle of ethnic minorities for their rights in the countries of the West?
What are the trends in the development of racial and ethnic relations in the US?
To continue downloading, you need to collect the image:


Hi! Do you want find a sex partner? It is easy! Click here, free registration!