COVID-19’s Impact on Student Mental Health

There are many reasons why COVID-19 could affect student mental health, including its impact on motivation, family confinement, loneliness, and depression. These effects might be short-term, or they could be long-term. Therefore, it is essential to understand the impact of COVID-19 and how it might affect student mental health. School closures, family confinement, and depression are among the most common factors.

School closures

A new study has investigated the effects of school closings and the emerging COVID-19 virus on students’ mental health. The study’s authors focused on a group with low resilience – about one-fifth of the sample – who reported high anxnxiety, uncertainty, and stress about school closures. Other results indicate that school closures impacted their daily lives, relationships with teachers and peers, and overall health.

The researchers identified 36 studies, ranging from one week to three months, involving 79 781 subjects and 18 028 parents. The closures lasted anywhere from a week to three months, and various factors contributed to the harm. In addition, the researchers were unable to differentiate between the effects of school closures on mental health across different races and class groups. Nonetheless, the researchers found evidence that low-income students experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression than their middle-class peers.

While the report indicates that students’ mental health problems are subsiding, the study did not identify a balancing act between school closures and the impacts of the outbreak. As a result, it is still too early to tell how much the effects of COVID-19 will have on students and educators, but researchers have found some promising signs. Among them:

Family confinement

Several studies have documented the impact of family confinement on the mental health of college students. For example, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 47% of sheltering in place individuals experienced adverse mental health effects. In addition, Europe and China reported elevated anxiety and depressive symptoms among general population samples. The study also found an increased risk of online learning difficulties and conflict with parents.

The study found that more than a third of participants reported increased stress levels during the outbreak. The epidemic’s impact was associated with multiple stressors, including fear of infection, social isolation, and restrictions on movement. Further, students were exposed to various negative social situations and were unable to maintain social ties. Several other variables also contributed to increased stress, including depressive thoughts and difficulty concentrating. Additionally, the students reported decreased social interactions, which reduced their academic performance.

Despite the psychological toll of quarantine, children and adolescents are resilient. They may feel threatened by the virus but also feel frustrated and restless. Their lack of room to roam can have adverse consequences well beyond the quarantine period. After the outbreak, many students stopped attending school and will remain out of school until September 2020. In addition, the families have children and home-office activities, which can be problematic.


The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on student mental health have been numerous, ranging from rescheduling school dates to affecting the learning environment. As the outbreak spread, schools had to return home during the school year. In addition, many universities switched to online learning, separating them from their friends and social groups. Coupled with a lack of social interaction, leading to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness among students.

Survey results revealed that male students were more likely to report psychological issues related to COVID-19 than female students. Still, they were less likely to report positive personal habits or motivation levels. COVID-19’s impact on student mental health also varied among sxyprn groups, with female students more likely than males to convey feelings of depression and anxiety. Female students were also more likely to report experiencing mental health problems than their male counterparts. Still, they were less likely to expect lasting effects.

Although the pandemic’s effects are still unknown, the study has shown that many students reported significant changes in their lives. While a considerable portion reported fewer social interactions with peers, most students reported reduced independence and less face-to-face contact. In addition, many students said reducing social interaction with roommates and extending their stay inside during quarantine. The effects on students’ mental health may not be entirely clear, but the findings are concerning.

The psychological toll COVID-19 may be taking on Americans | Pew Research Center

Symptoms of mental health disorders

The present study identified a broader range of psychological problems among COVID-19 students. We examined whether the symptoms associated with the virus led students to experience higher levels of psychological distress. Symptomatic students participated with 20 to 30 percent higher estimates of poor mental health, with 1.5-times greater odds of having depressive or anxiety symptoms. This study has important implications for health care practitioners.

Despite its impact, COVID-19 has increased students’ rates of mental health problems. Furthermore, young people, particularly women, are more prone to develop mental illnesses than other age groups. This study aimed to describe the characteristics of mental health disorders among COVID-19 students and draw conclusions for handling similar crises in the future. We chose a full-university setting, namely the University of Heidelberg, as the study population. We surveyed the students using internationally comparable screening instruments.

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt all around the world. Lower socioeconomic groups have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Previous economic recessions have resulted in an increased number of depression and suicidal behavior cases. Increased psychiatric symptoms can be associated with female subjects and older students. They indicated that these students might be experiencing a higher degree of pandemic-related stress.

The lockdown: A solution for Covid-19 but a threat to Tunisian Students' mental health


The COVID-19 pandemic placed a new and unprecedented burden on students’ mental health. This virus has increased pre-existing stresses and weakened coping mechanisms such as social isolation, which students may need to overcome. Therefore, it is critical to explore the causes and impact of the virus and to implement routines for COVID-19’s impact on student mental health. Listed below are three strategies for managing COVID-19-related stressors.

In addition to creating a welcoming learning environment, schools can help baddiehub students re-enter the classroom. These strategies may include creating a safe in-person learning environment. In addition to providing staff and resources to assist students and faculty and developing a trauma-informed plan to address the COVID-19’s impact on student mental health. Moreover, schools should implement the guidelines above to prevent COVID-19-related mental health concerns among students.

The study used an online interview survey to collect college students’ mental health information. The objective was to determine the significant stressors associated with COVID-19 and assess their effects on student mental health. Findings based on interviews with college students from an extensive university system in Texas will be updated in the future. There are no known sponsors for this study. The design and data analysis were conducted through departmental funds. The corresponding author had full access to all data and final responsibility for the paper.

COVID-19: Student Survey - Active Minds


The recent COVID-19 outbreak has devastated students’ mental health and post-college careers, and many are worried about the future. With many campuses closing unexpectedly during the spring semester, students are still adjusting to the chaos, and the fall semester is looming. In the meantime, students are worried about how they will survive the upcoming semester as panicked college administrators send them home.

The study revealed that many students feel stigmatized about seeking mental health support, preventing them from seeking the help they need. One-third of COVID-19 participants said they only talk to friends and family. However, some used virtual meeting applications like Zoom to communicate with loved ones. Only one participant said they were receiving professional therapy. One student reported using a mobile app that connects them with mental health services.

These findings suggest that societal stigma and perceived COVID-19 threat may be associated with lower levels of mental health. In addition to reducing mental health risks, these studies suggest that interventions targeting multi-level factors, such as mindfulness and social support, may effectively prevent COVID-19 among students. The lessons learned from HIV/AIDS prevention efforts can be applied to COVID-19. Public health professionals can use strategies such as anti-stigma campaigns, crowdsourcing, and community engagement to address the issues that students issues. Finally, they may look to disadvantaged groups to increase awareness and access to resources for COVID-19 prevention.

The Psychology of Compensation

By Joachim Vogt Isaksen

Why do certain people seem overly inclined to seek power and dominance? When people discover they lack something in certain areas of life they try to achieve goals that make them feel superior in others. In this piece I will go through the mechanisms behind the psychology of compensation.

The Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler (1870-1937) found that if a person feels inferior, or weak, he is likely to try to compensate to hide the weakness, by doing something else really well. According to Adler, inferiority is a feeling that stems from the childhood. Since infants are small, incomplete, and weak, they feel inferior and powerless. To compensate for this deficiency, they set a fictional goal that is big, complete and strong. Thus, a person’s final goal reduces the pain of inferiority feelings and directs that person towards either superiority or success. People may in such cases not even be aware that they are compensating.

If you recognize extreme behavior in a person, inferiority could be the underlying drive. This explains why some people seem to be obsessed about achieving certain goals. However, it does not really solve the cause of the problem.


Positive and negative compensation

We may differentiate between positive and negative compensation. Negative compensation either manifests itself as overcompensation, or as undercompensation. Overcompensation happens when a person feels inferior and will go out of his way to feel superior. This leads to the person seeking power, dominance and increased self-esteem. This happens when a person has felt physically or socially inferior all of his life, and for example becomes overly eager to become a sport champion, or feel the urge to gain power over other people.

Overcompensation may also take place if a man doubts his masculinity, and goes out of his way to talk about subjects that are considered masculine, such as cars, sports, and fighting. He may act aggressively or verbally hostile towards homosexuals, in an attempt to appear more masculine. If this person also had negative experience with women, he may act overly chauvinistic towards women, for example stating phrases such as “all women are sluts or bitches.”

On the opposite side we have undercompensation, which takes place when a person acts helpless, displays a lack of courage and a fear for life. The person makes himself dependent on other people, not being able to properly handle personal problems on his own. Neither of the two forms of negative compensations help the person to remove the feelings of inferiority, and may actually reinforce such feelings.

Positive compensations takes place if the person is able to address the source of her inferiority. If the person becomes consciously aware of why she is compensating, she may start to work with her feelings of inadequacy or incompetence in one area. For example, a woman may feel inferior as a result of a poor social life with few close friends. If she starts to invest a lot of time and resources in seeking out new social connections, the compensation works to solve her particular problem. If she on the other hand continues to avoid situations where she could meet new friends – and rather becomes overly eager to focus on her career – compensation will actually prevent her from overcoming her feelings of inferiority.


Love and compensation

Why are some people love addicts and repeatedly tend to fall in love with the wrong person? The main reason is that people compensate for negative earlier experiences and unmet needs, thus fulfilling these through another person. So, instead of resolving personal and emotional issues it feels easier to escape from them through falling in love. For example, if a woman all her life has been shy and insecure, she will tend to fall in love with overly confident and outgoing men.

This happens at an unconscious level, as people often are not consciously aware of why they become attracted to certain types of people. When this woman falls in love with the confident man she may believe that this person is special, while he only serves to compensate for her own flaws. The concept of compensation may actually help explain why there are so many unsatisfying loving relationships. When people start to address personal problems, they will become able to sustain more healthy relationships, suffer less from break-ups, and in general be less dependent on other people.


The positive sides of compensation 

To sum up, the strong desire for achievement in one particular area could stem from feelings of inferiority in others. Compensation works as a coping strategy that can cover up real or imagined deficiencies. While negative compensation can make a person´s problems even worse, positive compensation may help a person overcome personal difficulties. If compensation is dealt with in a healthy manner it can be a positive and valuable force, thus leading to personal growth. In such cases compensation, and the coping strategies aimed at achieving personal goals, could be of great value both for the individual and for society.


Further reading:

Adler, Alfred 1992. Understanding Human Nature. Fawcett Publications Incorporate.


*Cover photo by U.S. Navy, wrestling photo by 807th Medical Command

The Fall of Rhodesia

Why did the white minority rule end in today’s Zimbabwe?

By Tor G. Jakobsen, NTNU

Today’s southern African country of Zimbabwe, now infamous for its land invasions, state repression, and erratic rule by its de facto dictator Robert Mugabe was until 1980 a country with white minority rule. However, economic sanctions and guerilla warfare led to the transformation of power from the whites to the majority blacks, which in the recent decade meant a mass eviction of white farmers and also their exodus from the country as a whole.

In 1965 Rhodesia, led by its leader Ian Smith, declared independence from United Kingdom. The country was run by a minority of approximately a quarter million whites, who had both the political and economic power. This illegal declaration of independence led to economic sanctions against the new country, first from the United Kingdom, later from the United Nations. 1972 saw the beginning of a seven year long guerilla war between black nationalists and the Rhodesian security forces.

The sanctions continued and the political pressure against Rhodesia increased as the 1970s progressed. Negotiations concerning a transformation to majority rule came about in 1976, and the first multiracial elections took place in 1979, an election where the guerilla factions ZANU and ZAPU were banned from participating. After renewed pressure from the UK and the US a new election was held in 1980, this time including the two guerilla factions. Robert Mugabe (ZANU) won an overwhelming victory, and Rhodesia had now changed its name to Zimbabwe.

In 1891 the area which was to become known as Rhodesia came under the administration of the British South-Africa Company (BSAC), and thousands of white settlers poured into the region. When the reign of the BSAC ended, the settlers chose to create Southern Rhodesia rather than to join the newly formed South African Union to the south. Southern Rhodesia became a colony under British administration; however the settlers soon developed a tradition of self-rule with little interference from the UK. In 1936 and 1941 the agricultural land was divided between the blacks and the white settlers. The white minority received most of the fertile land. After a short union with the colonies of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi), Southern Rhodesia changed its name to Rhodesia, and kept its status as a self-governing colony under the umbrella of the British Commonwealth. Negotiations regarding full independence took place between Rhodesia and the United Kingdom, where the British insisted that independence had to mean majority rule.

Trekking in Rhodesia

Rhodesian Front and the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI)

Rhodesian Front was founded in 1962 as a union of several smaller parties and groups on the right side of the Rhodesian political spectrum. From 1962 and onwards the Rhodesian Front won all elections with a solid margin, and in 1964 Ian Smith became leader of the party. Rhodesian Front sought to preserve the white minority rule in the foreseeable future, something that was against the tide juxtaposed with events in other parts of the African continent. According to Ian Smith the British showed signs of wanting to get rid of their colonial problems without concern of the white Africans. A referendum was thus held in November 1964, where 56 percent of the Rhodesians voted for independence from Britain. On November 11 1965 Ian Smith’s regime declared their Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Rhodesia was now an independent state.

British Prime Minister visits Rhodesia in 1960

Reactions to the declaration of independence

The British government reacted with disbelief to Ian Smith’s declaration of independence. In a speech to Parliament on the day of the declaration Prime Minister Wilson (Labour) stated that the Rhodesian succession was regarded as illegal. He considered it to be a rebellion against the crown and the constitution. Smith’s government was to be regarded as private persons, without any right of legal authority in Rhodesia. The Soviet reaction was somewhat different than that of the British. The Soviet government highlighted the racist aspect of Smith’s regime and its suppression of the people of Zimbabwe. Its leader Brezhnev also lay blame on the British for allowing the racist regime of Rhodesia to gain military and economic power.


Ian Douglas Smith (1919–2007), Rhodesian prime minister


Britain’s policy of 1965 was to not accept the regime in Salisbury (the capital of Rhodesia, today known as Harare). The export of weapons to Rhodesia came to a halt, British export of capital was banned, and the purchase of Rhodesian tobacco, the country’s main export, stopped. Oil was however not included in the first sanctions. The goal of the sanctions was to undermine the stability of the Rhodesian currency, something which failed. Britain’s continued to favor economic sanctions rather than use of military force, and regarded Rhodesia as a British responsibility.Some of the goals of the sanctions were to put Rhodesia’s economy under pressure, create dissatisfaction within its population, and thus pressure Ian Smith to negotiate an acceptable (to the British) solution. The United Kingdom’s decision not to use military force against Ian Smith’s regime meant that a change of course had the come from within Rhodesia, motivated by external economic pressure. The goal of the pressure was that one in Rhodesia should experience a fall in real wages and a rise in unemployment and inflation. This should again lead to a massive emigration of white Rhodesians, which would undermine the country’s socio-economic structure or at least create enough dissatisfaction among the white part of the population that they would reconsider their support to both Smith and the Rhodesian Front. Violent rebellion was not wished for by the British; the reasons were part humanitarian and part the Marxist ideology of several African freedom fighters.

However, there were ways to dodge the sanctions. The most important factor here was the fact that South Africa, Portugal (which held Mozambique and Angola), and South-West Africa (held by South Africa) did not participate in the sanctions, and functioned as transit countries for the transport of good to and from Rhodesia. Other countries maintained trade relations with Rhodesia, despite the countries’ official stances. This was true for states like Japan, West-Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium.


The effect of the sanctions

Rhodesia had a strong economy, and experienced a trade surplus every year from 1965–75, with the exception of the drought year 1968 as well as 1971. Businessmen who traded with Rhodesia were often cooperative. Rhodesia was a reliable trading partner, and good terms of trade was often reason enough to disregard the UN sanctions. Anti-Rhodesian organizations often uncovered regular sanction busting activities, and forced the Rhodesians and their trading partners to find new trading routes. The sanctions were probably more an annoyance than destructive with regard to Rhodesian trade. The late oil blockade had the same characteristics: irritating, yet not devastating. Oil accounted for a mere 27 percent of Rhodesian power usage, and the boycott could be bypassed by importing oil through Mozambique and South Africa. The Rhodesian product that was hardest hit by the sanctions was tobacco. One can say that the sanctions alone could not break Smith’s regime, even though they were a strain on the Rhodesians.


The white population

In 1970 the population statistics showed that there lived 228,296 Europeans, 15,154 colored (of mixed origin), and 8965 Asians in Rhodesia. The black African population numbered 4,846,930. In other words, there were 21 times more blacks than whites in Rhodesia, and half of the blacks were under 15 years old. Thus, the future demographic trend seemed pretty clear: the share of whites would further decrease compared to the number of blacks. Further, around 30 percent of the white population had dual citizenship or were citizens of another country. Half of the whites could not trace their family history further back than to the Second World War, and during the 1960s Rhodesia had a net white emigration of 42,000. The lion’s share of Rhodesians was of British background, however there were substantial Boer, Jewish, and Greek minorities within the white population.

Despite all this, the general spirit amongst the whites was optimistic, and the Rhodesians were relatively firm in line with the Rhodesian Front and supported the founding of the Rhodesian Republic. There were several explanations to this. The start of the 1970s saw great economic growth, and the threat from terrorists was small as the government seemingly controlled the black African population. After the breakup with the United Kingdom in 1965, Rhodesia was by world opinion regarded as a “rebel” state and did not achieve international recognition, something that could contribute to strengthening the unity of the white population. To immigrate to Rhodesia could to a certain degree be seen as an acceptance of the country’s politics, a country whose white population was remarkable firmly behind their leader Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front. Despite gloomy prospects the country had in 1970 survived five years of independence. The economic sanctions were not felt as hard as expected, in part thanks to neighboring South Africa and the Portuguese Mozambique. The Rhodesians entered the 1970s with optimism.

Cecil J. Rhodes (1853–1902), the mining magnate who gave his name to Rhodesia

The Rhodesian Bush War
The Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe Africans People’s Union (ZAPU) were to become the two leading freedom or nationalist movements for the black population of Rhodesia. By the late 1960s they started targeting white Rhodesians. Robert Mugabe became leader of ZANU in 1969, and 1972 saw the starting point of ZANUs guerilla campaign against the minority government in North-East Rhodesia. Mugabe’s ZANU fought mainly in Eastern Rhodesia, and made use of bases in Mozambique. They received support from China, yet still lacked food, clothing, and weapons. ZAPU, which was led by Joshua Nkomo, fought in Western Rhodesia, made use of bases in Zambia (former Northern Rhodesia), and received support from the Soviet Union.

The nationalist organizations ZANU and ZAPU received support from communist countries due to their shared ideology. The Marxist ideology suited the African nationalism in Rhodesia, as it did in several other African countries. One fought against a small capitalist elite which owned most of the arable land, and who represented capitalist export oriented farming. The black Africans were the proletarians, and the whites controlled the means of production. Thus, the blacks struggle for majority rule was easily combined with Marxist ideology.

The Bush War

In December 1972 the guerilla offensive set of with an attack on a white farmer family. Even though there were no casualties, this event marked a change in ZANU tactics. Other attacks followed and the government soon realized that it faced a larger guerilla threat than the smaller skirmishes that had taken place in the 1960s. As a countermove against ZANU’s offensive in the northeast, the Rhodesian forces started their operation “Hurricane”. Government forces regained control over the area, and the guerilla threat seemed to be avoided for the time being.

There was a rise in international oil prices in 1973, something which also affected the Rhodesian economy. Even more important, in 1974 Portugal gave up their two colonies Mozambique and Angola (the former directly bordering Rhodesia). The new leaders of these countries were both Marxist, and the nationalist organizations now received support from Rhodesia’s neighboring countries. The whole power balance of southern Africa had been altered. The white bastion of Portuguese Angola and Mozambique, Rhodesia, South-West Africa, and South Africa had lost two of its members. South Africa wished to achieve a détente with the newly formed states, and Rhodesia thus became a thorn in the eye of South African foreign policy.

The situation had now been dramatically changed for the minority government of Rhodesia compared to the more optimistic years following the foundation of the republic. The country had all of a sudden two more hostile neighbors, and the relationship with South Africa had cooled. Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique became more involved in the war when guerilla activities spread into their territories. There was also a fear that the East and the West would interfere in the conflict and that it would get a Cold War dimension.

Why did Rhodesia experience guerilla warfare? Well, there were many factors behind the unrest. The black Africans lacked both economic and political influence, and there was also a wish for true democracy. In 1970 the mean income of blacks was 10 times lower than the corresponding white mean income. Another explanatory variable was the wave of Marxism that swept over the African continent. Knowledge of Marxist ideology and political and supply-wise support from the Soviet Union and China helped initiate the guerilla war. A third factor was a wish for power and influence by the two strong rebel leaders, Nkomo and Mugabe.


Military service

Because Rhodesia had a small white population and relatively few blacks joined the country’s armed forces, the war had a large effect on the daily life of the common Rhodesian. A white Rhodesian could be six weeks on duty and six weeks back home and so on. This could go on for years, and naturally had an impact on many Rhodesian families. Refusing military service was not accepted and was punished with imprisonment. When the guerilla war commenced in 1972, the security forces (the army and air force) consisted of 4700 personnel, with a reserve of 10,000. The security forces mainly consisted of white Rhodesians. The British South Africa Police, which was a paramilitary organization, consisted of 8000 men, of which three quarters were black Rhodesians. Also, one had 35,000 police reserves, of which three quarters were white. In other words, for a white Rhodesian the likelihood of experiencing combat as the 1970s progressed was indeed large. Dodging military service, if one was fit for duty, became increasingly difficult.

Rhodesian soldiers on patrol

With the increase in guerilla attacks in 1976 it became obvious that a regular armed forces of about 6000 personnel (1400 were foreigners, so-called “soldiers of fortune”) was not enough to manage a full-scale warfare. Thus, the private sector had to be somewhat neglected as the military had top priority. No white male 17-year olds were allowed to leave Rhodesia to study. Conscription was now in effect also for ages 38–50, however this was somewhat modified in 1977.
According to government statistics there were at least 20,350 war-related deaths in Rhodesia between December 1972 and December 1979: 468 white civilians, 1361 members of the security forces, 10,450 terrorists, and 7790 black civilians. Even though the numbers for the black civilians is possibly underestimated, and a fair share of guerilla fighters were killed in battles in the neighboring countries, the white population was hardest hit by the war if one takes into account their total numbers.

The Rhodesian Bush War was a gruesome war where atrocities, torture, and murder of civilians was common place on both sides. The “freedom fighters” had terrorized the rural population, butchered accused traitors, and massacred innocent civilians. The “defenders of Western Civilization” abused prisoners, killed civilians, and burned villages. The warfare had placed the economy and peoples feeling of personal security under pressure.

The Turning Point
In 1976 the warfare intensified, and now also included skirmishes between security forces from Rhodesia and neighboring Mozambique. After a Rhodesian aerial attack in Mozambique, the border was closed between the two countries. This meant that Rhodesia lost two important railroad lines which accounted for about half of Rhodesia’s transport of goods. Both export and import now had to be transported along the only two railroad lines into South Africa. These were subject to massive sabotage operations in 1976. The tourist industry had now become a target for guerilla attacks, and border skirmishes with forces from Zambia and Mozambique had become commonplace.

However, the real turning point took place in West-Germany in June 1976, where the U.S. foreign minister Henry Kissinger met the South African Prime Minister John Vorster. The United States put South Africa under pressure, and the South Africans thus pressured Ian Smith to agree to a deal orchestrated by Kissinger. The essence of the deal was that majority rule was to be put into place within two years. Ian Smith later described this as a betrayal by South Africa. He had previously ensured the Rhodesians that South Africa would not succumb to American pressures, as Rhodesia and South Africa had a common understanding between them that they were the defenders of Western Civilization in the region. Rhodesia was dependent on South Africa, their only ally, and the government’s perception was that they had been sold out, especially by Prime Minister Vorster, and had no other alternative than to accept Kissinger’s package. It became clear that transformation to majority rule was inevitable. It was now a goal for the Rhodesians that the more moderate nationalists came to power rather than Nkomo or Mugabe. One no longer fought to keep a white rule in the foreseeable future, but rather to get an acceptable black rule that could possibly preserve the essence of the Rhodesian civilization. Another goal for the whites was not to lose their economic privileges even though their political power would vanish.



The guerilla warfare meant higher taxes for the white population. Almost the whole white male population between 18 and 50 years was affected by different forms of military or police service. The society as a whole felt the lack of skilled workers, as emigration increased drastically from 1973 and onwards. An uncertain future, lack of possibilities, and the burdensome military call-ups were the main reasons that many white Rhodesians chose to leave the country.

In the period 1960–72 there was a relatively large immigration and emigration of whites to and from Rhodesia, but from 1973 emigration rose sharply. In 1974 and 75 there was a net immigration of whites, however this was due to the around 20,000 Portuguese refugees that arrived from Angola and Mozambique. In 1976 there was a net emigration of 7072 whites. More than 1000 whites left the country each month. These are very large numbers as the white population at the time lay between 200–250,000.

When Mozambique got their independence in 1975 and South Africa became less supportive of Rhodesia, the sanctions became more difficult to cope with. The situation worsened due to the escalation of the guerilla war and the following mass emigration of white Rhodesians. All of these were causes of the fall of Rhodesia. However, it was not the economic sanctions alone, or the Rhodesian Bush War alone that causes the downfall of Smith’s government. It was rather the interplay between them, and especially the direct political pressure from the USA and South Africa which paved the road for majority rule.

Further reading
Godwin, Peter & Ian Hancock (1993). Rhodesians Never Die: The Impact of War and Political Change on White Rhodesia, c. 1970–1980. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

HBO’s Watchmen and its opening sequence: The Tulsa Incident

Since its creation, Watchmen has been a comic of superheroes with a very dark identity. This story is about the worst of heroism, society, and politics and of course humanity’s nature. Although its comic ended, and it has a movie adaptation, a HBO TV series was announced in order to continue as a sequel of the events of narrated in the comic. What is truly polemic is that its opening sequence makes us revive a terrible moment of the history of the United States – The Tulsa riot incident, and yes: that is what we want to see in this new adaptation of the franchise, because Watchmen is about the main villain of the story – the darkest side of society.

Alan’s Moore graphic novel tells us about the decay of the American Dream of United States through the eyes of group vigilantes that resemble Marvel’s and DC’s superheroes – the Watchmen. However, those heroes are way much darker, realists and pessimistic, giving us an idea of how real heroes should be if they would exist in a reality in which there are many social and moral conflicts in existence.

In The Watchmen story, we get to see reality in an alternate timeline. The world of this comic is very similar than ours, but there were some incidents in history that are modified – in the majority of the cases, giving us different historical events that make us think about “what ifs” (a common literary resource in comics and porno doido used to show a different reality if something different occurred in the past).

For example, in Watchmen’s timeline the United States won the Vietnam’s war thanks to superhero intervention, giving us a totally different perception of what really happened. Due to the accidental creation of Dr. Manhattan (a supernatural being tied in strength to the almighty Superman) and his war support to the US, history changed completely. And that was very attractive to the readers because the horrors of Vietnam are explained and detailed by the experiences of the characters of the story: that war was real. Yes, its results were mere fiction in the comic, but all the horrible massacres in Vietnam were not covered, but showed – and giving us a story that does not fear anything about showing humanity’s cruelty. And here comes Tulsa, in the new series of HBO.

Something similar is being shown in the opening sequence of HBO’s Watchmen. It starts by showing us a riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921. People are being tortured, shot, burned and massacred without mercy. To be more specific, black population is being attacked by white people. We do not realize about what is happening, we do not know if what happened in 1921 is a piece of fiction shown by the series. We do not want to believe such violence is truth. We do some research. And our fears are confirmed: all of this is real.

The Tulsa race riot occurred in 1921. It was considered a very prosperous district, and what was very amazing about it is that there were a lot of afro American professionals giving their best in the city. Doctors, economists, and teachers – it was unbelievable by the time to find so much productivity in a place in which Afro-Americans were living, and it was even considered by many as the Black Wall Street. However, the problem of racism was latent. People still remembered the ashes of the American Civil War, and many of the white population still had grudge against black people in Greenwood.

What is recorded about the incident is that its origin as because A 19 years old black shoeshiner named Dick Rowland was accused by Sarah Page (a 17 years old white elevator operator of the nearby Drexel Building) of trying to rape her. Although most of the civilians that met Dick knew he was innocent, they were aware that white people of the district would not accept that possibility, and they would do the impossible in order to lynch Dick. Black people tried to defend the young man of the white mob, and a gunshot occurred that left 10 white people and 2 black people dead. This was the spark of the slaughter.

Soon the white crowds of the Greenwood district outnumbered the black people, and attacked them with everything they had. Even private aircrafts attacked the town, decimating innocent people. The strongest believers of the white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan participated in the massacre too. Many black innocent people died, many were injured and thousands were homeless by the end of the riot.

This is one of the darkest moments in the history of United States, and for a lot of time; it was censorship by the government. It is amazing to know how so many people do not even know about this event, and this is most impactful message that HBO’s watchmen gives us.

And that is what we loved about Watchmen’s first episode: the true villain is always going to be injustice. We must remember that there are certain ideals that are extremely difficult to eliminate, but they must be punished one way or another. This series makes us remember that we can forget, but not forgive the sins committed in the past. Therefore, the Watchmen must watch, their watch has not ended yet.

Social classes and Star Wars

Since its creation, the franchise of George Lucas has captivated the hearts of people. The journeys of the Skywalker bloodline are pure adventure, and every time we experience its universe we feel like legendary warriors wearing light sabers. However, even though there is a lot of fan service in this intergalactic saga – we must pay attention to its very core. And one of the most important topics that Star Wars tells is about social groups and their problems, diversity and life in times of totalitarism.

In this post, our main purpose is to describe the most important social groups that we can see in many of the movies, x videos, comics and videogames in the franchise, and try to explain their origins and what inspired them.

The first main social class that we can see in the franchise is the working class. Luke is part of very humble family, considered farmers in a land that most people do not have greater opportunities of finding better jobs in order to improve their social status. Obi Wan is the driving force that makes Luke think that he can be greater, that he can start his own personal journey. Peasants in the system are completely necessary, but in the modern days they are almost invisible and ignored by medium social classes and the elites.

Then we start knowing about the existence of a totalitarist regime known as The Galactic Empire. This organization controlled almost all the systems in the galaxies within the Star Wars universe, crushing every one of their enemies without hesitation. Their true goal is to eradicate the remnants of the Jedi Order, and to have an empire that would last eternally. Dictatorial regimes seek all the same purpose: to control everything the societies they rule, and they are always afraid of losing the power they have gained through violence and lies. In the first movies we get to see what the Intergalactic Empire looks like, but when we explore this franchise and we know more, we cannot even believe how similar is this system with others of the real life that existed in the past (The Nazis, URSS and even The Roman Empire).

And it is true that every force needs a countering force. And this is the case of The Rebel Alliance. Races from all over the galaxy gather themselves in order to plan and weaken the Intergalactic Empire, waiting for an opportunity for them for ending the tyranny that the people of the universe have been suffering since the autocracy of the empire began. Those groups represent the anarchic groups of our modern society. And they must exist, because when power is controlled by only few, it corrupts its wielders little by little. Power is a politic responsibility and in a democracy, it must be distributed considering the popular opinion of people. If it is not, it is important to organize ourselves, and break the laws that enslave us. Because not all laws are intended to be used for justice, but for control. And people have the right to be free, to some extent.

And then we can see the balance between the dark side and the good side of The Force, or in our society – the moral concepts of good and evil. Although we can have infinity of meanings in Star Wars, we have to remember that these mulheres peladas are mainly focused on the journey of a hero. Just as Campbell explained the adventure of heroic characters in The Hero with Thousand Faces (1949), Luke Skywalker must overcome a series of difficulties in order to continue his fighting for good, until he becomes a man and he finds out his resolution as a Jedi – a hero of justice in this franchise.

The Force can be interpreted as our morals, ethics, willpower, spirit and true nature that must be trained to its full potential in the good side of it, and the dark side of this power is considered to be very powerful but almost uncontrollable. Both are sides of the same coin, and represent our beliefs, our ethics. There are people that use power in order to control the lives of others in a society and although they manage to do so, the consequences of oppressing others are typically punishing at the end. A person of charity is happy without control, and they have control over their inner selves because at the same time, they control nothing. This perception of Star Wars about The Force is much related to Buddhism, and we think that at the same time Sith and Jedi are the heads of religions that are against each other.

And there is a lot of social groups that should be explored (like the Bounty Hunters, the Jedi Academy, the Council) but it is all that we can cover for now. This universe is rich in details – and contains tons of fictional cultures that make tribute to our society. We must be conscious about the fact that most social groups in fiction are indeed based on our reality. There are so many similarities that we think that what George Lucas wanted to express with these movies are the idea of liberty against dictatorship in a literary point of view. And he managed to do it. It is simple, reader: if we unite, we can gain freedom. And we must remember that liberty is a right of humankind, but in order to preserve peace and freedom, we have to be willing to sacrifice our pride and join with others to build a better world for next generations.