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Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay

Fighting for Iraq: A regional powerplay | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Learn more about the ethnic, religious and political powerplays in and around Iraq during a virtual tour of the region led by NBC’s Richard Engel.

 

This is an incredibly well-put together, video/slideshow about the complex geography of within Iraq that has lead to so many difficulties in the post-Saddam Hussein era.   The ethnic patterns, religious divisions, spatial arrangements of resources as well as the larger regional context all play roles in creating the a contentious political environment. 

 

I have always felt that Iraq is very complex. And it is. However the videos shed some light on clarifying what most of the turmoil is about.  A valid question is why not divide Iraq into three seperate countries? One for the Kurdish, one for the Sunnis, and one for the Shiite? The video explains that it is not that easy.  Iraq has been unstable since it formed after WWI.The Sunnis feel that the Shiite stole their power and they want to reclaim it.  The three ethnicities are quarrelling for control and it has to do with more than religion.  Resources play an important role in the dispute.  The country cannot divide into three regions, because the Sunni (about 20% of Iraq's population) are in a region where they are not close to water and they have no oil.  The Sunni and Kurdish are close to natural resources- water and oil.  If the country divides, the Sunni will not last. 

Elizabeth Allen


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Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 6, 2012 11:35 PM
I have always felt that Iraq is very complex. And it is. However the videos shed some light on clarifying what most of the turmoil is about.
Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 8:33 PM

I enjoyed this video. I never really understood why these groups were fighting. It was an easy video to understand and I learned that the fighting is not just about religious but cultural differences as well. 

Stacey Jackson's curator insight, March 22, 2013 11:03 PM

Although I try to keep up with world events, Iraq has puzzled me. This was spectacularly helpful, although I still don't feel like I have the full picture. For instance, I understand that three ethnic groups were forced in to a new country, Iraq, after World War I and that the country has been in turmoil ever since. However, these ethnic groups were all a part of the Ottoman Empire before there was an Iraq, so why did the trouble start after the formation of Iraq?

 

These ethnic groups had their own provinces within the Ottoman Empire. I'm assuming these groups thought they'd establish their own separate nations after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, but were not given the chance to decide for themselves since Iraq was a product of "European powers." If this is accurate, then European nations have a horrible track record when it comes to dictating foreign boundaries that lead to unrest abroad. 

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P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N

P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it

"The name of the country Pakistan has a fascinating history - it is essentially an acronym!  Prior to 1947, the country now known as Pakistan was a British colony. In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to the region under a new name, Pakistan. The name had been developed by a group of students at Cambridge University who issued a pamphlet in 1933 called Now or Never."

 

In a country with such great ethnic divisions, a common religion is a powerful nationalizing force.  As the capital city of Islamabad's toponym powerfully states (the house or abode of Islam), religion remains an important element of national identity for Pakistanis.   

 

Better than rock, paper, scissors. At least the name incorporates the letters of the homelands.  Elizabeth Allen


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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 15, 2013 9:13 PM

In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to this region and named it Pakistan. The name was created by a group of students at Cambrige University and used the names of their homelands. Punjab, Afghania  Kashmir, Iran ,Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan is an acronym! 

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, November 14, 2013 9:06 AM

It is interesting to learn how particular countries got their names.  Pakistan was a British colony until 1947 and it was given the name Pakistan as an acronym for the 8 homelands in the country.  Pakistan is so ethnically divided that religion is really important for the country to stay together.

Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 19, 2013 2:27 PM

When you take in the way that the British Empire controlled many colonies and tried to spread their culture to such diverse regions, it is no suprise that Pakistan was named essentially by a game of Scrabble.  I suppose the naming is somewhat creative and certainly unique compared to how other countries get their names, yet just picturing a group of colleagues naming a country is strange.  Though the U.K. did grant them independance, how independant were they really if they weren't even given the right to name their own land.

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Europe's failure to integrate Muslims

Europe's failure to integrate Muslims | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Laws restricting Islamic symbols in the public sphere are fuelling political distrust and a shared sense of injustice.

 

One of the free response questions in the 2012 AP Human Geography test focused on increasing Muslim population in many European countries.  The Muslim community has (in the view of most Europeans polled) has not adequately assimilated into European society, and with many Europeans feeling a cultural threat, have created a politically charged situation.  Has Europe failed to integrate Muslims or have Muslims failed to integrate in Europe?  Is this a problem?  Why or why not?  To see the APHG test question, click here:  http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap_frq_human_geo_2012.pdf

 

 

As we leearned in class, Europe has a declining population. If Europe continues to ban certain religions and culture, then obviously its population will continue to decline. It seems as though religion and poitics clash, just as they do elsewhere around the world. If women want to wear headscarves, let them. They are proud of their religion just as many of us are. Seems to me that the world is becoming more secular, restricitve and intrusive than religious  Elizabth Allen


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Elizabeth Allen's comment, October 3, 2012 8:49 PM
As we leearned in class, Europe has a declining population. If Europe continues to ban certain religions and culture, then obviously its population will continue to decline. It seems as though religion and poitics clash, just as they do elsewhere around the world. If women want to wear headscarves, let them. They are proud of their religion just as many of us are. Seems to me that the world is becoming more secular, restricitve and intrusive than religious.
Shayna and Kayla's curator insight, February 6, 12:29 PM

This represents the religion section because Europe is restricting islamic symbols causing controversy .

Geography Jordan & Danielle's curator insight, February 7, 1:18 PM

Religion: freedom of religion is not a law is some parts of Europe 

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Religious Pilgrimage: the Hajj

Religious Pilgrimage: the Hajj | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it

This is a beautiful photoessay of the Hajj, with excellent captions that shows many of the cultural customs that are associated with the massive pilgrimage.  The tremendous influx of tourists/pilgrims into the Mecca area, there is a huge economic industry that supports and depends on the tourists.  For a BBC article about the market impacts of the Hajj, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11777483

 

The photos show what an immense congregation this event really is. If a picture is worth a thoudsand words, than this collection is a jackpot. The colors are captivating, green costumes of participants in the military parade, the hands holding the beads for sale. In the article from bbc.co.uk it is interesting to learn that such a religious event is an opportunity for economic gains. From merchants selling beads and rugs to visitors all the way to hotels capitalizing on the religious pilgrimage. It is amazing to know that every Muslim should make this trip as long as he/she is healthy and can afford to ( finances of the family are a higher priority).  This truly is the ultimate worship practice.  Elizabeth Allen


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Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 6, 2012 11:21 PM
The photos show what an immense congregation this event really is. If a picture is worth a thoudsand words, than this collection is a jackpot. The colors are captivating, green costumes of participants in the military parade, the hands holding the beads for sale. In the article from bbc.co.uk it is interesting to learn that such a religious event is an opportunity for economic gains. From merchants selling beads and rugs to visitors all the way to hotels capitalizing on the religious pilgrimage. It is amazing to know that every Muslim should make this trip as long as he/she is healthy and can afford to.
Crissy Borton's curator insight, December 11, 2012 8:55 PM

These photo’s are amazing! Number 12 with the crowd of people and the ambulance in the middle shows the massive amount of people. Their heads look like dots in a sea of white. These pictures show what words just cannot describe. 

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Religious architecture of Islam

Religious architecture of Islam | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Read Religious architecture of Islam for travel tips, advice, news and articles from all around the world by Lonely Planet...

 

This is an excellent article that can be used in a thematic class for analyzing religion, the human landscape, the urban environment and cultural iconography.  For a regional geography class, this show great images from Indonesia, Spain, Egypt, Syria and Israel/Palestine.  

 

These mosques are breathtaking. They also have distinct historical factors, such as, the Temple Mount being built over the rock that Mohammed rose to heaven. When we look at the dome we are inclined to notice the historical aspects and their meanings.  Elizabeth Allen


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