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5 Historical Monuments Have Been Destroyed Forever During Syria's Civil War

5 Historical Monuments Have Been Destroyed Forever During Syria's Civil War | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Syria's incredible historical heritage is being blasted to pieces.

 

As Syria's tragic civil war continues without a resolution in sight, the conflict's death toll continues to soar. But this isn't the only disastrous consequence of the conflict — Syria's breathtaking historical and architectural heritage is being blasted to pieces by the ongoing civil war, too.


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

The human toll is the worst result of this civil war, but there is the loss of historical and cultural sites that will also hurt this entire region.  The castle above is one of the finest examples of a Crusader Castle build in the old Crusader Kingdoms.  Having a western architecture smack in the Middle East is just awe inspirering.  The beautiful mosques that have been destroyed is like having Norte Dame in Paris destroyed, it is part of their past, their culture.  The human cost is immeasurable, but so is the historical loss.

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How Israel's Military Success Erased the History of the Diaspora's Jewish Warriors

How Israel's Military Success Erased the History of the Diaspora's Jewish Warriors | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
How Israel's Military Success Erased the History of the Diaspora's Jewish Warriors
Tablet Magazine
The historian Derek J. Penslar starts his masterful new book, Jews and the Military: A History, with an anecdote.
Al Picozzi's insight:

A look at how Jews have served in other militaries and how this led to them to be fighting for the Jewish state of Israel.  Jew have long servered in many western armies, but espiecailly with the British in WW I when they lobbied, sucessfully, to be part of the liberation of the Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire.  There is a long military tradition that Israel has, even though the state of Israel only came into being in 1948. 

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A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next

A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Prof. Arnon Sofer sets out the link between drought, Assad’s civil war, and the wider strains in the Middle East; Jordan and Gaza are also in deep trouble, he warns

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Seems that water, not oil, might be the cheif source of conflict in North Africa, the Middle East, and Africa in general in the near future.  Water, like food, is the most basic resource we need to survive.  If that is cut off people as well as nations are more likely to go war over water, since we know they will over oil.  The climate change is more than just rising water on coast lines, it effects the water supply of nations and regions that have issues getting fresh water even without the climate change.  Seems we have to solve the water problem, as well as the oil problem now.

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 8:25 AM

The article explains how population growth, climate change, drought, and water shortages could have contributed to the rise of war in Syria. This is an interesting interpretation, one which certainly could have been a contributing factor, but not all the Arab Spring can be attributed to water shortages so it is not a direct cause. The water shortages in Syria and a lack of government response certainly could have fanned flames which already existed due to an oppressive regime and regional conflicts. Climate change gets a lot of attention for the potential damage it could do to the environment, but I had not given much thought to the conflicts it could cause between nations and peoples.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 12:22 PM

Egypt may be the next country to be in deep trouble. With so many militant attacks coming out of Egypt to being with there is no surprise that the Middle East thinks it will be next on the list.

Pamela Hills's curator insight, July 18, 5:37 AM

 A world at war and hot spots are growing with people caught in middle <3

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Shiite and Sunni: What are the differences?

Shiite and Sunni: What are the differences? | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
While the two sects share the same basic beliefs, differences in hierarchy and doctrine make Catholics and Protestants an apt comparison.

 

Too often we categorize all Muslims together as though they all thought the same things and share the same beliefs.  Although the divisions within the "House of Islam" run deeper that the Sunni/Shi'a split, it is the best starting place to get a nuances senses of regional differences among Islamic groups. 


Via Mr. David Burton, Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

It is important to know the differences here.  It also seems that the most extreme sects are coming from the Shiite sect even though they only make up about 15% of the Muslim population.  They are centered in Iraq and Iran from the old Safavid Empire which took the Shiite sect and put them in conflict withthe Ottomans who took the Sunni sect.  This led to many wars in this areas between these two Muslim empires from the 16th to 18th century. 

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Derek Ethier's comment, October 25, 2012 8:06 PM
It is amazing how different sects of the same religion can evolve. Their argument over the successor to their religion carved a divide that would be felt over a millennia and felt even today. In Iraq, when the Shiite majority attempted to rebel against their opressive government, Sunni leader Saddam Hussein murdered thousands of Shiites. The fight continues in other countries as well.
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 24, 2013 6:46 PM

The Christian Science Monitor's attempt to categoraize the differences between Shiit and Sunni Muslims is a good effort but I can't help but feel like its just scratches the surface. I would have also liked to know how each sect views government, gender relations, and, geographically, where each sect has dominance. These other measures would have provided a more comprehensive portrait. I would say, however, that the tone was fair and detatched.

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Viewfinder: Gaza's Tunnels

A World Report Viewfinder from inside the tunnels that connect blockaded Gaza to the outside world...

Why are tunnels from Egypt to Gaza forming?  How is Israel's policies a part of this phenomenon? 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Amazing to see what people will do to survive.  They are doing this out of necessity.  Many goods they are smuggling are what I believe should be allowed in through normal means, food, water, medicine and anything needed for basic human needs.  I understand the blockade in stopping weapons and items of that nature, but stopping basic foodstuffs is just plain wrong.  The people are living and surviving by these tunnels and built an economy on them.  One thing that was really interesting was at the end when the man seemed he wanted the blockcade to go on or else it would close his tunnel and he would have to get "a real job."  The effects of this blockcade are on both ends of the spectrum, people want it to end so things can return to normal and others want it to go on to continue to make money.

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Derek Ethier's comment, October 25, 2012 7:33 PM
These tunnels to Gaza are truly amazing. It shows how the sheer willpower of a group of people can even outsmart or overpower an entire government. These tunnels are essential to the lives of Palestinians because they would not be able to obtain certain goods otherwise. However, Israel does seem to have the right to monitor and destroy these tunnels, especially when it is proven that such tunnels funnel in guns, ammunitions and other weapons. I do believe Palestine should be granted autonomy in some form or another.
Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 9:42 PM

I think that these tunnels show the willpower of the Palestinians.  They are risking their lives on a daily basis in order to smuggle goods that Palestine could not obtain through normal means.  I think this video really shows the dangers that present themselves in these tunnels.  Israel has the right to monitor these tunnels and can very easily have them destroyed if they feel as though guns are being moved through them.  The people who move through these tunnels every day are quite brave.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 29, 2013 1:20 PM

What some media has led the "western world" to perceive is that many of the people living here would be trying to smuggle illegal goods such as bombs, drugs, etc.  Sure that may be true in some cases, but many times there are respectable citizens which simply need food or necessary items to sustain their lives.  Because of the tight security measures regarding people and goods, the people of Gaza simply try to find a way around the authorities, and the best current option is by tunnels.  Situations like this show that if people really need certain things, with some help and determination, they can achieve that goal.  In the end, hopefully it is for good more often than bad.

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NYTimes video: Turkey's E.U. application

NYTimes video: Turkey's E.U. application | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
David Cameron, the British prime minister, pledged full support for Turkish membership to the European Union during a visit to Ankara.

 

Turkey's application to the European Union challenges the very definition of "Europe" as various constituencies disagree on whether Turkey should be admitted in the E.U. or not. 

 

 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Could this be just a matter of what it means to be European and that some Europeans feel that Turkey just doesn't fit??  Turkey has long been an ally of the West since its admission in NATO.  It fact along with the US, UK and Greece it sent major forces to Korea during the Korean War.  It helped stop the USSR from spreading, during the cold war, when it joined NATO and toady it has the second largest standing army in NATO, behind the US.   It has also been a help to the US and Europe in conflicts in Iraq and Afganistan.  To be part of the European Union only makes logical sense and economic sense.  Access to Asian markets given its geographical location and just the opening of the Turkish domestic markets to free trade.  Seems that old prejudices of what it means to be European is rearing its ugly head..last time this prejudice gained momentum of what it means to be something in Europe...Hitler!

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Derek Ethier's comment, October 10, 2012 11:01 PM
I believe that it would be beneficial for both Turkey and Europe as a whole to join the European Union. It lies at the crossroads between Europe and the Near East and also holds a foothold on the Mediterranean. This will only benefit trade. On the other hand, it becomes a stable nation to add to the EU when countries like Greece, Spain and Italy cause lags.
Matt Mallinson's comment, October 22, 2012 9:27 AM
I already knew Turkey was in the discussion for joining the EU. There are many countries that want them to join, but there are also a few countries that don't want them in for some reason. I say let them join, Turkey isn't a bad country and by joining it would benefit both Turkey and the EU by making them stronger.
Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 6, 2012 8:58 PM
Turkey has made changes that should make her more attractive to the European Union. Turkey has done away with the death penalty and is more generous with women's rights. While it is not geographically in Europe, its location is profitable for commerce etc.
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Countries that will support Palestine's UN bid for statehood

Countries that will support Palestine's UN bid for statehood | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Imgur is used to share photos with social networks and online communities, and has the funniest pictures from all over the Internet.

 

This map is incredible...it highlights the importance of not just how many supporters you have, but WHICH supporters are in your corner. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

The map is amazing and so are some of the comments that go along with it.  The countires in grey though I think have been mislabelled.  The US would want a Palesinian state as long as it is not under the control of a terrorist group and one that will acknowledge the the State of Israel has the right to exist.  It is amazing to see that they want the right of statehood but they are unwilling to grant that right to the people of Israel.  Its also amazing to note that many of the countries in green do recognize Israel and its right to exist.  This land has been under the control of many different people over the centuries and borders have been drawn and redrawn over and over.  It is time to sit down, talk like human beings and come to a solution.  Is it going to happen???  Probably not in my lifetime or my kids...history is just repeating itself again! 

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Kyle M Norton's comment, January 30, 2012 11:13 AM
This map does a good job of showing the division of east vs west
Kmcordeiro670's comment, February 2, 2012 2:24 PM
This map highlights the complexity of geopolitics in our modern times even further when set along side the current Syrian situation. The Palestinian conflict seems to be more social and political, the Syrian conflict has a much broader scope in terms of resources at risk. Thus if this was asking supporters of the Syrian resistance the giant mass of Russia must be dropped as a supporter, the same of Saudi Arabia. They have a much large stack in Syria remaining tyrannical for economic and regional issues then if Palestine was De-colonized.
Derek Ethier's comment, October 25, 2012 7:46 PM
This fact that this map displays how "Western" nations (NATO, U.N., Australia, etc.) are the only nations to deny the Palestinian bid for statehood shows how divided our world is today. Western nations dominate the world's landscape, though China has gained a great amount of power over the past decade or so. In reality, Palestine probably does deserve statehood. National boundaries should be drawn around ethnic lines. It some cases this is impossible, as in this case. The support Western Europe pledges to Israel on this issue is obvious and this is but another reason why tensions increase between the Middle East and the Western world.
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Turkey's Marmaray project: An ambitious plan to link Europe and Asia

Turkey's Marmaray project: An ambitious plan to link Europe and Asia | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
As a country, Turkey is often described as a bridge between Europe and Asia. On Tuesday, for the first time, the two continents will be officially connected by a multi-billion dollar underwater railway tunnel.

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Istanbul has also been said to be both a European and Middle East city, some of the city is on the European side of the Bospourous.  Turkey also has been historically seen as the bridge or link between Europe and the Middle East.  This project, like the Chunnel that connects the United Kingdom to France, and therefore mainland Europe, is going to make the city even more of the economic center of Turkey and help with the sever travel between the Middle East side and European side of Turkey.  I also wonder will the EU look at this an see this as a positive for Turkey and maybe help influnce their decision to let Turkey in the EU?

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 29, 2013 3:42 PM

Turkey is not truly Middle Eastern nor European--it is that liminal in-between space.  Possibly this tunnel will strengthen Turkey's status of having one foot in Europe and one foot in the Near East.


Treathyl Fox's curator insight, October 30, 2013 2:28 PM

Turkey described as a "bridge"?  Have often thought of it more like a "strategic safety pin".  But bridge is good!  Linking Europe and Asia?  It's an ambitious plan alright.  But I hope that it will be successful.  No doubt, Columbus, Marco Polo, and other explorers would have wanted it this way.  :)

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The Ever-changing Map Of Middle East

http://www.middle-east-museum.com The map of Middle East countries and empires has been changing constantly since ancient time. This video shows the various ...
Al Picozzi's insight:

Just a quick time map that shows how this area has been under the control of just about everyone in the area.  There are so many cultural, historical, social, economic and religious, amoung others, reasons that this area is so convoluted.  There is no real easy way to explain why the conflicts here keep going.  My dad once told be that they have been fighting for so long they forgot why and for what.  That they are fighting because theirs fathers did and their fathers and their fathers and so on.  Didn't Einstein say that the definition of insanity was "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?"  Well seems to me that this applies to this entire area of the world today. 

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Crisis Guide: Iran

Crisis Guide: Iran | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"Iran poses steep challenges to its Middle East neighbors and the world. Explore the country's complex regime structure and controversial nuclear program, and watch experts debate the range of policy options."


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

This is an amzing resource to use and find out much about this country, both its past and present.  With this you can understand their feeling of hatred toward the US with its support of the Shah.  This is a relationship that the US needs to repair, but both sides need to work on this.  This are is so important to the US and the world given Iran's geographic location right on the Persian Gulf, whcih they can cut off and controll the oil flowing from that area, plus the oil they control, plus bordering several crucial US and NATO allies.  It only seems in everyone's best interest to sit down and talk.  Given the support Iran gives to many terrorists organization and it's longstanding position that Israel does not have the right the right to exist, this idea of sitting down and talking may be a fantasy.  However, with the new elections and the new President of Iran speaking at the UN there may be renewed hope of at least a start. 

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 11, 2013 4:08 PM

Iran is in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions. One the bordered with Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Iran is stratgeically positioned to have considerable control over the world’s most important waterway for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz.


Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should more about than the three main facts that that most Americans are already aware of (1-Iran has an Islamic-based government, 2-an emerging nuclear program and 3-a ton of oil).  This interactive feature is a good starting point with great videos, timelines, maps, articles that assess the current situation in Iran. 


Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.

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Back to the Future: "The Libyans!"

Why in the United States popular culture of the 1980's would the evil villains are portrayed as Libyans?  How has the perception of Libya changed over the years?  With the toppling of Qaddafi's regime and his death, how do we see Libya today?    


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

I was with a high school trip in Italy in 1986 when the US attacked Libya.  One day all is calm, the next day there were heavily armed military state police, the Carabinieri, all over the place in the open wearng fully loaded assault rifles, bery scary for a 15 year old kid who was not subject to this back home in the US.  The attack by the US was done in response to Libyan active suport of terrorists in the 80's, specifically the Berlin nightclub bombings.  So it was the Libyans, along with the Soviets and Iran, who were the "bad guys" in the 1980s.  How times hae changed, with Qaddafi gone the Libyans are looking to return to normal realtions with the world.  Lets see if all parties involved can sit down and talk this one out to have a new start with a clean slate. 

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Palestinian Loss of Land

Palestinian Loss of Land...

This video hammers home the point that Palestine has consistently and repeatedly 'lost out' on land disputes and wars with Israel since the end of World War II. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Interesting that they showed a map of 1886.  Palestine didn't exits in 1886 either, it was under control of the Ottoman Empire and the Ottoman Turks.  Egypy controlled this area at one time, around 3000BC, Then there was a Kingdom of Israle around 1050 BC, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Macedonains, Romans, Byzantines, Sassanids, Muslims of the Caliphates, Seljuks, Europeans during the Crusades, Saladin, Ottomans, Europeans again after WW I, then the state of Israel after the end of WW 2 all controlled this area.  This area has been under control of many different rulers, empires and cultures.  I know I must have missed some.  It is not as simple as Palestininians lossing land, the issue goes wat back before anyone today cares ot even remember.  If Im right there was never a state called Palestine under modern times, but there was a Kingdom of Israel.  I know that is not a justification for the right to exist or not exits, but it shows a history of a nation of Israel.  If the Palestinian people want a state, why don't they recognize that Israel has the same right?  One that might be grounded in history more than theirs.  I do believe the Palestinians have the right to  state, but they need to recognize that Israel has the same right that they want. 

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Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars?

Why is King Abdullah willing to let Saudi women vote but not drive cars? | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
King Abdullah announced on Sunday that  Saudi women will be allowed to vote and run for office in municipal elections beginning in 2015.

 

Driving a car as simple as it may sound, is a method of enhancing mobility and that means freedom of spatial expression.  This decision to allow women to vote has only demonstrated the cultural constraints of gender roles and how much more progress is needed.  


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

This amazing to see that women still have very little rights in this kingdom.  Again like the article state the right to vote in Saudia Arabia is noting, especially when compared to the right to vote in the US.  This is still a monarchy, ruled by a family from above, not a constitiutional monarchy like the UK, there is no parliament and  the elections can be canceleld at any time.  To the Saudi's giving the women the right to drive goes against their very culture, their belief that women need to be subserviate to men.  The right to vote, since it is meaningless, means nothing to advacne women's rights in Saudia Arabia.  The king really is not giving anything at all, he is just making it look like he is...interesting.

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Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 5:27 PM

Letting women vote makes the Saudi government look as though they are giving equal rights to women, however we do not know if they are being pressured to vote a certain way or even if their votes count. Women drivers would mean the women have more freedom and can go anyplace they want. The government does not want them to have real freedom.

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 21, 2013 10:15 AM

I find this article to be interesting because while granting women the right to vote and run for office seems like it would be a bigger deal than granting women the right to drive a car, it is the exact opposite.  Women now have the right to vote and to run for political office in Saudi Arabia, but this essentially means nothing because Saudi leaders can indirectly block women from this said right by postponing elections or altering votes, and so forth.  Elections are purely symbolic in Saudi Arabia, so this new right for women that will begin in 2015 really does not mean much.  However, the right for a woman to drive a car, is so dangerous to Saudi leaders because this would give women so much power.  They could freely transport themselves anywhere, and look for a job.  This article shows the impact of particular political decisions on particular groups of people.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 4, 4:54 PM

It seems odd that women can vote but not drive an automobile. It appears the King does not want women to explore the country freely. He may not want to give women all that freedom at one timeā€¦ Also, he must not want women traveling and exploring areas alone in a car. Although the entire situation in Saudi Arabia is sad, this appears to be a small step forward for women.