During the semester, I think this class and set of blogs have really been on point in discussing current events happening in the Arab world. This is a great time to be studying the Middle East because of its transition into a new world order and breaking of traditional norms. What I mean is, Arabs are now breaking away and subscribing to public discourse about their governments, politics and culture. With the hopefully outcome of democracy, or quasi-democracy, in places like Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, etc. citizens will be more engaged in media without being censored or restrained. Arrests of socialites like Bassem Yousseff have been an example of the constant war on Arab freedom and expression. Regimes in the Arab world need to realize that the political landscape and mood is changing. Leaders like Morsi, Marzouki, and Al Khalifa have been resorting to previous tendencies to control the individuals who gain some influence using outlets in the media.
I think this class has also been interested more into the war in Syria than any other topic. Rightly so, the constant conflict in Syria has been covered by virtually every news network. President Assad is clearly committing crimes against humanity and has been the sloe reason why the internal conflict has been raging for over a year. What will be interesting to see is how the countries like the United States, Israel, Russia, and other relevant states will collectively bring an end if they decided to do so. A lot of the blogs have hinted that there should be United States or international intervention in the region. I would agree, but with minimal troops and military assets as possible.
On a personal note, I have learned a great deal in the course. I had no an idea of the many different types of media, and cultural influences on the Arab population. Arab graffiti and rap has been rally interesting to learn about since it is unknown to people over in the United States. Prior to this class, I was more focused on the politics of the Middle East. But after, I realized there is a huge connection between politics and the media. Especially in the current environment in the Arab World, with social media, Al Jazeera, and other mediums, it is hard not see their interdependence on one another. In hindsight , Arabs use there media as a form of social expression and movement to cause change in the region. In the United States, we use it more so for entertainment, news, and other forms of freedom of speech. For Arabs, it is there identity and platform to the rest of the world.
What I will definitively take away from these blogs is that there is still Arab and Muslim suffrage; post-9/11, regime changes, and the Arab Spring. Individuals still find themselves in the grip of dictators and oppressed by government factions. However there is still some amazing stories of individuals fighting for equality and the right to oppose government ideologies. The class has a done a great job commenting on important stories and trends that are relevant to the Arab struggle and form of expression. I hope this type of discourse can continue outside of the classroom, because not many students at Roger Williams University are aware of the current climate in the Middle East.