Saturday, 14 April 2012

Blood of the Condor - Film Synopsis



The film the Blood of the Condor seeks to address and convey to its audience the complex and exploitative situation; which indigenous Bolivian communities face in the form of their interactions with Western development projects. The film was filmed in 1969 in Bolivia and was initially released in Argentina. At the heart of the film is a complex narrative which is seeking to express the negative impact of Western led initiatives in Third World and developing countries. The film is composed of a series of flashbacks which relate to the opening scene; surrounding institutionalized domestic violence and abuse when a wife is unable to conceive a child and therefore she is unable to fulfill her marital and maternal obligations. The next scene shows the chieftain of the village, and the protagonist of the film being severely wounded in an execution attempt by corrupt police and officials by firing squad; which is in fact the end of a chronological sequence of events, however the scene is shown at the beginning of the film to engage the viewer and trigger them into wanting to find out what has happened.

The film is distinctly art-house in its construction and the film takes many compositional notes from European cinema at the time; in an attempt by the film maker to cater to European audiences of the time; in order to convey the important message of the film. The focus of the middle segment of the film follows the heroine, and wife of the chieftain in her attempt, along with her brother-in-law, to save her husband following the wounds that were inflicted upon the chief by the corrupt Bolivian officials. The plot conjures up a degree of paranoia. The Bolivian community organise a protest against the supposed existence of a sterilization clinic, which is believed to be trying to eliminate the indigenous tribe. The leaders of the Peace Corps in the area, who run the clinic and are believed to be conducting forced sterilization; are then set-upon by the natives who target their hostilities towards the Peace Corps. After taking up arms, and relating to the earlier flashback at the beginning where the leader is shot, we are faced with an urgent need for a blood transfusion to save the life of the leader; which is in turn continually delayed at the hospital due to bureaucratic ineptitude and a lack of funds on behalf of his wife. The viewer is then presented with the leaders brother who desperately searches for a means to raise the money to pay for his brothers medical treatment, before he succumbs to the wounds inflicted upon him at the start of the film. But in terms of the time sequence the events which took place leading to the leaders shooting wound have happened at the end.

Friday, 13 April 2012

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 9


In conclusion, both these views of Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies can be criticised. As Gladstone wanted to intervene over Alsace and Lorraine in 1871 and his Bulgarian pamphlet can be seen as opportunist, as despite his support for these interventions he attacked others such as the Berlin agreements even though they resulted from a European Conference. Whereas Disraeli can be seen as upholding the principles of Palmerston by following a traditional foreign policy, whereby he supported Turkey against the looming threat that was Russia. At the same time his Imperial adventures were not necessarily his own ideas, many of these exploits were brought about by his men on the spot who made their own independent decisions; he was simply reacting in order to maintain the balance of power. It could therefore be argued that both men had preserved essential British interests as they saw them and thus both had a fundamentally cautious outlook.

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To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 8


By comparison, Disraeli appeared to relish in the business of Empire. During 1872 in his Crystal Palace and Manchester speeches, Disraeli set down the maintenance of the British Empire and British interests, such as trade, as a central part of his belief in Tory Democracy and the preservation of Empire. Hence, he was prepared to engage the British army in campaigns regardless of the cost. For example, Disraeli jumped at the chance to purchase shares in the Suez Canal. Gladstone called the purchase of the shares a ‘ruinous and mischievous misdeed’, but in actuality it was an important sign that the British government were prepared to defend her overland routes to India. It was interesting that when Gladstone returned to power in 1880, he did not sell off the shares. Indeed, the irony is that Gladstone in 1882 ordered the bombing and complete occupation of Egypt in order to preserve British interests: arguably. Arguably this was much more of a forward-looking policy than anything Disraeli had proposed.

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Part 9   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 7


The same could be argued of Gladstone’s approach to the Franco-Prussian War. Gladstone was concerned not to involve Britain in this European War, and as a result was heavily criticised by Disraeli for allowing the future of Europe to be shaped by the victor of war that was so close to home. By opting out Gladstone had ensured peace for Britain at the time, but this meant that her influence in the post-war discussions would be limited. There is no doubt that Gladstone’s opinion of this war was that it had nothing to do with Britain and her imperial interests, in addition there would have been substantial financial costs involved in such an engagement, which he worried about immensely. Therefore, Gladstone’s foreign policy can be declared as a juxtaposition of high morality with a commitment to financial regulation and retrenchment.

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Part 8   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 6


The Alabama Arbitration illustrated Gladstone’s true nature in terms of where he saw Britain’s geo-political position; in addition to this it showed that he was afraid of conflict. When the Americans demanded compensation for the sinking of one of their ships, Gladstone capitulated to the pressure from America. Gladstone justified his actions by claiming that it was morally right that Britain should pay up: the British public as a result were dissatisfied, not because of the compensation itself but because Gladstone appeared too quick to reach such a demeaning solution. Gladstone’s act also seem to destabilise the balance of power, by making Britain appear to be an inferior country to America as a result of so readily catering to it’s demands. Disraeli was equally as critical of Gladstone’s actions for not standing up for British prestige and by undermining Britain’s standing in the world.

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To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 5


Disraeli’s philosophy on the other hand was militaristic and he appeared to, as Prime Minister, glory in Britain’s imperial possessions. During his ministry there were some very significant foreign policy campaigns. Whereas on the other hand Gladstone sought to emphasize the ‘Concert of Europe’, which meant emphasising diplomacy and discussion, which is evident in his approach towards the Franco-Prussian War, Disraeli by contrast involved the British government in active campaigns.

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Part 6   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 4


On one level Gladstone and Disraeli appear to be driven by differing ideologies: Gladstone was very concerned to ensure that there was a moral element to British foreign policy. He believed that the British should be focused with spreading civilisation and Christian values. However, there was a contradiction at the heart of Gladstone’s belief in upholding Empire, which was to promote the self-determination for certain peoples such as Europeans, but not all because places such as India were vital to Britain’s economic prosperity. Gladstone’s foreign policy was liberal in that it focused on ‘progress’, he viewed education as essential in that it would serve to enable people to realise their potential.

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Part 5   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 3


Historians have argued that the moral imperative and co-operation in Europe were central to Gladstone’s plans for Britain’s foreign policy. In addition Gladstone did not want Britain to engage in frivolous issues that would entangle Britain’s resources elsewhere. This was viewed as a sly remark on Disraeli’s foreign policy, as he had deployed troops to Afghanistan and South Africa. Furthermore Gladstone disliked Disraeli scoring diplomatic success with regard to the Cyprus Convention and the Congress of Berlin 1878. As Gladstone believed Disraeli was using Britain’s political muscle to interfere with other nations, in order to suit the demands of the Empire. Disraeli’s actions were thus in direct conflict with Gladstone’s foreign political ideologies, especially with regard to diplomacy and a Concert of Europe whereby cooperation would be the key. Hence Gladstone’s support for the London Conference in 1871 and his opposition to the Suez Canal shares. Furthermore Gladstone’s Christian ethics came into play over the Bulgarian atrocities, which saw Gladstone attack Disraeli’s attempt at ‘Beaconsfieldism’. Disraeli on the other hand, can be argued to be a supporter of a more active and interventionist form of foreign policy, as outlined in his speeches of 1872, possibly an opportunistic attempt as Disraeli was seeking to take advantage of the unpopularity of Gladstonian initiatives towards foreign policy. Evidence of Disraeli’s actions can be seen in the British governments accumulation of Suez Canal shares, Disraeli’s anti-Russian stance and the Congress of Berlin, which all serve to support this view of Disraeli.

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Part 4   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ? - Part 2


Gladstone and Disraeli had strongly contrasting views of the role of Empire. Disraeli was motivated by upholding and preserving Empire, he was principally concerned with maintaining Britain’s routes to India and he took great pride in purchasing the Suez Canal shares in 1875 and gaining control of Cyprus, a key strategic point along Britain’s trade route, three years later. Gladstone viewed Disraeli’s obsession with the route to India as absurd and he bitterly attacked Disraeli’s acquisitions of various territories. Gladstone believed in the rule of international law and he supported the cause of self-determination of nations, yet he remained conscious of the need to protect British interests.

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Part 3   
                   

To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ?



To what extent were Gladstone and Disraeli’s foreign policies from 1870 to 1880 driven by different ideologies ?

On one level both Gladstone and Disraeli appear to be driven by differing ideologies: Gladstone was very concerned to ensure that there was a moral element to British foreign policy. By contrast Disraeli’s philosophy was militaristic and expansionist. It was with regard to foreign and imperial policy that we can see the extent to which Gladstone and Disraeli’s ideologies conflicted with one another. Both men were driven by contrasting ideologies, in terms of foreign policy there was a clear divide between Gladstone and Disraeli’s political outlook. In theory at least Disraeli’s aim was to increase Britain’s power, influence and imperial superiority, his motive was to preserve and develop the British Empire. For Gladstone however, this was not the correct path to take with respect to Britain’s foreign policy. Gladstone condemned the way in which Disraeli’s government acted with regard to foreign policy. Disraeli’s government only acted in the interests of Britain, and did not as Gladstone detested, take note of whether their actions were “right or wrong morally”. Gladstone’s foreign policy was considerate and diplomatic; his view incorporated a ‘Concert of Europe’ and the self-determination of nations. Disraeli however, thought in terms of great power politics, gunboat diplomacy and the protection of Britain’s Empire at all costs.

Gladstone and Disraeli 1800 -1898 timeline



Gladstone and Disraeli 1800 -1898 timeline

1804 – Disraeli is born.

1809 – Gladstone is born.

1832 – Gladstone first enters the Commons as a Tory MP who opposed parliamentary reform, defended slavery and the Anglican Church.

1837 – Disraeli enters parliament, representing the rotten borough of Maidstone. He was a Tory and backed Peel.

1839 – Disraeli marries the wife of his sponsor, his wife was twelve years older than him, and he was able to pay off his debts.

1841 to 1843 – Gladstone assumes junior office under Peel.

1843 to 1845 – Gladstone has Cabinet office under Peel. And he shows his support for Free Trade. He is member of the Cabinet as president of the Board of Trade in Peel’s Conservative government.

1844 – Disraeli and the ‘Young England’ group begin to attack Peel’s policies. Disraeli’s novel Coningsby attacks the Tamworth Manifesto as ‘an attempt to construct a party without principles’.

1845 – Peel passes Maynooth grant. As a result 149 Tory MPs opposed it.

1846 – Repeal of Corn Laws. The Tory party subsequently splits into Protectionists and Peelites. Gladstone sides with Peel and Disraeli with the Protectionists led by Derby.

1852 – Disraeli first holds Cabinet office as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Palmerston and then Russell.

1859 – The Conservative’s franchise reform bill is defeated. Palmerston and Russell agree to bring down the Tory government (meeting at Willis rooms). Palmerston becomes Prime Minister.

1859 to 1866 – Gladstone becomes Chancellor for the second time. He joins the Whigs out of ambition and dislike of Disraeli. (Read more after Break)

Key Turning Points – Catholic Reformation 1500 - 1600



Key Turning Points – Catholic Reformation 1500 - 1600

Fifth Lateran Council (1512 -1517)
This was a serious attempt to address the problem of clerical education and discipline. Often considered as the first sign of commitment towards reform. Despite the Roman Catholic Church being corrupt at the time, they were still committed to the reform process.

Sack of Rome (1517)
The affect of this was to localise the crisis within the church. It served to bring the problems facing the church to the forefront of the papacy’s concerns. Making reform urgent.

Paul III’s commissioning of the Consilium de Emendenda Ecclesia (1535)
This was part of the papacy’s programme of seizing the spiritual, political and ideological initiative from the growing Protestant threat. This served as a moment of self-realisation for the Papacy. As the Vatican for the first time realised its inadequacies as an institution and for the first time were attempting to rectify the situation. As a result they sought to resolve these issues through reform. (Read more after Break)

Catholic Reformation 1495 to 1610 – Timeline



Catholic Reformation 1495 to 1610 – Timeline

Note – All prior Papal reform had been haphazard, localised and lead by individuals. Thus no clear direction or authority.

1495 to 1518 – Key individual Ximenez de Cisneros reforms monastic orders, as a result of corruption and the formation of lay brethren.

1497 – The Oratory of Divine Love was established.

1500 – The First Franciscan monk mission is sent to the Caribbean.

1512 to 1517 – First Lateran Council.

1515 to 1534 – Cardinal Briconnet reforms his own diocese of Meaux.

1517 – Luther makes public his 95 Theses.

1524 – Theatine Order are established in Rome.

1527 – The sack of Rome occurred.

1528 – Capuchins order begins. At the same time Cardinal Giberti started to reform the diocese of Verona.

1534 to 1549 – The pontificate of Paul III.

1535 – The Ursuline order start their work.

1537 – The ‘Consilium de Emendanda Ecclesia’ a report into the condition of the Catholic Church is commissioned by Pope Paul III.

1540 – Society of Jesus (The Jesuit order) were given papal approval and recognition.

1542 – Saw the creation of the Roman Inquisition and the establishment of the Index, in addition to the death of Cardinal Contarini. (Read more after Break)

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