Final Post: Response

Over the past semester there has been a great deal of information being spilled onto this blog. The majority of it encompassed Syria. The comic cartoons try to bring a smile to the face when such terrible things are happening in the region. I had never blogged before and did not think of myself as much of a writer. I did not know much of the Arab World, or even the difference between it and the Middle East. The politics of the Arab World had no place in my brain prior to this class. I guess you could say that after this course, I am no longer a typical ignorant American that thinks the world revolves around us. Not to say that I was before, but now I can successfully remove myself from that clique.

As for the Media, culture, and politics of the region. I am extremely impressed with the knowledge I have amassed about the region. I was familiar with the Arab Spring and new that social media had a key part in its success, but I did not realize to what extent. The technological freeze and internet blockage that occurred after the social media movement in the region blew my mind. As an American it is hard to understand a world where people are oppressed to much to the point where they cannot log online and talk to people around the world (A place I hope that CISPA does not take us Americans).

The links which Professor Roberts first blogged for us to use have proved to be an invaluable resource. The class as a whole has done a great job at using a variety of sources in order to convey their points. Prior to taking this class, I was naive to how many media outlets there were in the Arab World. I find it important to note that, as well all have laid witness to, not every  news source has the best intentions. In the 1970’s the United States battled its own Yellow journalism, something that the Middle East and Arab World are currently doing.  There are places where information is distorted and compiled in such a way to spin the story.

I find my classmates use of cartoons strips especially useful to get their message across. The detail inked into the paper is often allows a deeper message to be understood far better than any words. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Syria’s story is sad. It is hard to put a silver lining around the grey cloud of Syria. There is just far to much destruction, chaos and overall terrible things happening in that land. The oppression that continues to this day creates a flow of emotion. That is something that I believe everyone should have. Be emotional about something. Take a stand and learn about what is happening around the world. Find something in you that sparks a fire.

Coming out of this class I can say that I am now a more knowledgeable person and can successfully contribute to a conversation about the happenings in the Arab World.  To cap off my final blog, I would like to encourage all of the classmates and those people around the globe reading this blog to dive into other cultures. Become immersed into another world. Learn about something that scares you, something that makes the hair on your arm tingle, I have and I am a better person for it.

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More Trouble in Syria

More Trouble in Syria

More trouble in Syria, the PKK, Kurdish Workers Party is quickly loosing its members. It looks like the people who would normally be joining the resistance are leaving to create ties with al-Queda. Jabhat al-Nusra is the group with ties to al-Queda.

The Turkish army has been in conflict with the PKK for some time now and is looking for a way out.

What does this mean for the United States?

Conflict in the Middle East is never a good thing. The United States always seems to find one way or another to become involved where it shouldn’t be. In the case of Turkey and the conflict is has, the US needs to stay out of this. The Turkish situation needs to be handled internally. When members are of the PKK are going to a known threat of the United States it is a very unsettling thing. However, the US needs to be a reactionary country. Of course, some preventive steps need to be taken, but moving forward and becoming involved with Turkish accounts is one of the dumbest things to do.

Hopefully us earthlings do not end up doing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Amt9mLvQM5w

 

Sryia’s economy: Oh Shit!

Sryia’s economy: Oh Shit!

This article comes from BBC a very respectable news source. While I was in San Diego for spring break this past march I had the pleasure of staying with my cousin and 3 Ensigns stationed at Coronado. One of the Ensigns grew up with me and my cousin. Joe, originally from Maryland, is an incredibly interesting individual. We spent hours discussing the N. Korea threat and what it meant for the Navy and the career and future of him and his men. Upon looking at the news across the country and the reactions it had, he left me with a quote, “If BBC doesn’t report it then I don’t need to know about it. ‘Dance moms’ and Taylor Swift don’t have shit on the real world.” I believe this speaks volumes about the news media in America verse the relevant international circuit. I digress (big time). 

The article talks about the economic decline in Syria due to the uprising and revolution. As much as the revolution was needed and was praised by the people of Syria, it brought an unwelcomed result in the finance sector. The former regime was an oppressive government but at least had stability to produce products to be exported as well as consumed by the citizens.  

In the article one man sheds light on the fact that even though the former government had the police hassle him to no end about his fruit cart, he became a Monday morning quarterback and realized that the police were better than dealing with the thugs. The lack of stability in the region forces the people to stick to cliques and band together. An animalistic attitude has been created and the men and women of Syria are doing what they can to survive, even if that is at the expense of their fellow citizens. 

The security, or lack there of, is something that cannot be taken lightly. A country needs to be able to protect its citizens and enforce laws. In a land where crime is rampant, freedoms need to be oppressed in order to build a responsible attitude to take care of themselves. 

What we can draw from this article is that sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side. What do you think?

Paradise…

There is no doubt that there are some horrendous places within the Arab world. But I want to take a look at the more beautiful places in the Arab world. After all, isn’t this the geographic birthplace of modern man kind? Mesopotamia is in the heart of the Arab world, but I fear that the world has forgotten about the beauty and historical importance the region has for the entire world. Image

The Middle East, as well as the Arab world, was once the true paradise for the entire world. We could not escape the beauty these lands give to us. It is truly a gift that all need to embrace and remember. Coldplay’s song Paradise might not have a political or cultural  focus on this region, but it makes us think of where our personal paradises are. For the captive elephant in the video, it is clearly the plains of Africa with his brethren. I want the rest of us to understand that there is beauty within everything. I want you to dive deep into the sands, the rivers, the oases, the wildlife of the region and find the beauty and paradise which I know is there. Ask the people who live there and they will undoubtedly tell you that they find it difficult to continue to live in such conditions, but they still love their home.ImageImage

I give you the link to Paradise by Coldplay. I hope that it will inspire you. Inspiration is all that this world needs. With it, anything can be accomplished.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G4isv_Fylg

What is to come of the Middle East?

Throughout my life, there has never been much stability in the Middle East or Arab world. We have all had to deal the inconsistency of power in the region. Now, al-Jazeera has released an article highlighting the problem once and for all. The countries in the region are up for grabs. The article basically says that al-Jazeera has no idea what is going to happen to the countries in the region. It claims that the instability will create such turmoil that the region will eventually implode on itself.

The cause for this is ultimately because of foreign involvement, most notably, the United States.

What would happen to the US credibility if Iraq crumbled? Obviously we are not very pleasing to most of the world when it comes to the matter of the Middle East, but would there be global backlash towards the US?

Between Iraq and Syria, the region has its hands full with intra-regional conflict. The “endgame” of this conflict will ultimately end in what is called BLOOD BORDERS: A solution for the misconstrued international borders. A scary thought for those of in the Western world where diplomacy is the first action, this tribal-esque solution for the region is unsettling for the modern world.

 Blood borders is a form of xenophobia. Keeping the people in that are similar to you and those who are slightly different are excommunicated.

This entire situation really makes you question whether or not the US has made the best decisions in the past few decades. What is your take?

The article can be found here

Or you can follow the author on twitter @MazMHussain

Heavy Metal in the Arab World

“Heavy metal came along with democracy.”

This was said by a nameless man in the documentary film: Global Metal. Although the quote was in reference to the Brazilian revolution of 1985 where the longtime dictator João Goulart was ousted, it is something that that Arab world should consider. 

Heavy metal is emerging in the Middle East. As Bill Kohlhaase puts it, “When kids in Arab countries discovered MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball on satellite TV, the world changed. How? Death metal came to Iran, head banging to Egypt, rap flourished in Palestine, break dancing in Morocco and raves raged in Pakistan,” he declares that music is the liberation for the youth, giving them a voice to finally use. 

Some might say that heavy metal fans are ruthless and evil. ImageThis gif (click on the photo to see the action) is of what metal heads called a “wall of death.” Basically two human walls form and then run at each one another to start a huge mosh pit. It came along with a personal anecdote:

“I once went to a concert with a friend (I don’t remember the band, she dragged me along) when I was 16. They were starting a wall of death and this guy who was flirting with me decides it would be funny to pull my top down, exposing my breasts, then throw me in the middle of this wall of death right as it’s about to meet. When I stumble in the middle and hit the wall someone screamed “STOP! EXPOSED GIRL!” and I thought they were all going to oggle at me. Instead, one guy quickly helped me cover up, three more helped me to my feet, and another asked who did that. When I pointed out the guy, two of them looked at him, me, each other, then nodded and punched the guy in the face before forcing him into the wall that was about to form again.

Metal men are gentlemenly as shit.”

 

I post this to show the Arab world that Metal is not a satanic cult. There is plenty of room for personal religion. The band Orphaned Land is a metal band from Israel which plays across the Arab landscape. Some of their concerts have been raided by the religious police and here is one account of what can happen in these radical Islamist countries:

“Farhi said a while back, an Egyptian fan got six months in jail because he had an Orphaned Land CD. The authorities said the music was Satanism.”

Metal is a voice for the youth. The Arab states must accept it. I suppose this is the best way to describe it :

“People stereotype heavy metal as something who is not the way it truly is, we are breaking all stereotypes,” Farhi said. “Simply as that. Of music, of religion, of politics, of nationality: We are just here to break it.”

 

So yes, metal can be scary to those in power. Because metal is changing politics, but NOT religion. Totalitarian regimes may crumble do to the power of metal, but what is wrong with that? 

http://www.theworld.org/2011/02/israel-orphaned-land/

http://ieweekly.com/2009/02/arts/books/heavy-metal-islam-rock-resistance-and-the-struggle-for-the-soul-of-islam-by-mark-levine/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FEouMLA_AM

This last link is Part 1 of the film Global Metal^^

 

Arab Food and Culture

For those of you who did not go to Global Fest, you missed a great experience of fantastic Arab food and culture. 

I started my journey though the field house and am instantly overwhelmed by the smell of traditionally cooked food. As I made my way around I found myself at the ever present Saudi Arabia section (they commanded an entire corner of the field house). The participants all donned their traditional garb: Thawb, with a Ghutrah atop their head kept in place by a Agal. Immediately I asked for some of their country’s food. I was given this: Image

A dish of chicken and rice complemented with a fresh salad. I spoke Zaid and Solomon about the contents of the dish. They explained that chicken and lamb are traditional meats in Arab culture. Sometimes they are cooked together, other times they are cooked separately. I was really interested in the spiced used in to dish. Solomon said that traditional Saudi spices come from India. When Indians traveled to Mecca and Medina (the holy cities), they brought with them their spices. It was nothing too over powering, but a little kick leaving the tongue savoring eat bite.

Further down the table was a plate of dates. ImageI have never had anything like this before. I cannot tell if I love them or hate them. The dates were caramel coated. They were soft, yet sticky. The seed was easily removed and discarded. Needless to say, one date is not enough, I’ll be sure to call her back!