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The Conflict Zone

The Conflict Zone | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In a new series of four eight-minute videos, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah is a cultural educator working to build relationships between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem and throughout Israel. In this series of four eight-minute videos, Abu Sarah meets with people from both sides of the conflict in order to better understand and communicate how this international dispute impacts their everyday lives."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to 'decent dress' codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements.  The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics."  This news comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has allowed women to ride bikes (sort of).


TagsSaudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.

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Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 4:24 PM

I was happy to see an article like this. It's about time that these women are being given equal opportunities. Although they have a long way to go this is a step in the right direction. Saudi Arabian girls are being allowed to have sport related activities within their private schools. This did surprise me a little just because Saudi women's rights are very limited but this is a simple improvement just to the general health and well being of these girls. Two females competed in the last years summer Olympics representing Saudi Arabia and their efforts were not shown on Saudi TV. These women competing has opened a few doors to allowing more than just men to engage in these activities. Usually sports were only for the elite women who could afford gym memberships or attend well known colleges. Even though women cannot compete internationally or sign up for clubs or leagues this is a step in the right direction.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 4:47 PM

This is an interesting article about slowly allowing women in Saudi Arabia to participate in sports. While playing soccer or swimming or running may not seem so important to us in the West, it is a big deal for Saudi women. Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest laws in the Middle East regarding women's rights, and so even a very partial and gradual allowance for women to engage in sports is a big step. It shows perhaps a slight softening of adherence to Shariah law, which would hopefully eventually allow women more freedom in the realms of education and work, as well as in everyday life. 

 

Too often are people quick to judge and characterize other cultures or religions by the most extreme examples. While it is true that laws in Saudi Arabia are extremely restrictive to women, progress such as this, though small, may well act as a stepping stone for increased freedoms for women. People outside of Saudi Arabia and Islamic culture must realize that this kind of progress does happen and is, in fact, happening right now. To simply dismiss Saudi culture as misogynistic and oppressive is to write the whole culture off. While progress is slow and less than ideal, we should look to Saudi Arabia's Islamic neighbors and see that many of them are not so oppressive to women. Allowing Saudi women to participate in sports, therefore, may be setting up the country to increase women's rights and join its relatively more liberal neighbors. This is certainly a sign of positive change, and one that should not be ignored. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:28 AM

I was quite shocked to hear of this story. There is no denying, that this is a step forward for the women of Saudi Arabia. However, women are far from free in this country. The activates still have to be in accordance with Islamic Law. The strict dress code also remains in effect for the girls. The Sports themselves, must be overseen by women teachers. I would not call this initiative the Saudi equivalent of title nine, but it is a step forward. Every little inroad, is a step towards more equality. The government of Saudi Arabia appears to be at least slightly altering its view of women. Hopefully this will be the first step in movement to gain Saudi women more rights. In generations to come, hopefully Saudi women will look back on this development as the start of a cultural revolution in Saudi Arabia.     

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Public Space, Gender and Religion

Seth Dixon's insight:

Recently, Five women activists have been arrested for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.  Israeli policewomen detained members of the religious group Women of the Wall for breaching orthodox rules governing prayers at the site, which only allow men to dress this way. This is Judaism's most holy site and orthodox traditions govern the legal code over who is permitted to be in this place and what they may do; this fight represents a struggle to redefine the meaning and usage of public space in Jerusalem (among other complex issues).


Tags: perspectiveIsrael, culture, gender. religion, culture,
Middle East.

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 12:20 PM

This article is about a Jewish women's group and its desire to have equal rights when it comes to prayer at the holy site of the Western Wall. This battle touches on a number of political issues including equal rights, religious freedom (in how one worships), and restrictions which may be placed in public spaces. While this issue seems trivial to me, the traditionally male practices being used by women may be considered an insult to their religion, or this could just be another instance of overbearing patriarchy in the Middle East.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:33 PM

Women's rights are a huge issue in the past and in society today. Whether or not religion has anything to do with it, women's rights have been stripped for even the most absurd reasons. Religious reasons among others do trump women's rights. Its sad that women can be treated this way but its true.

Anthony morales's curator insight, November 4, 2014 1:22 PM

This relates to Persia by the religion part I feel that this was very wrong and that it sacred this women that she was arrested for praying by a very religious place for her 

 

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The "Seinfeld of Saudi Arabia"

"[This video] explores the idea Western “cultural invasion” into Saudi Arabia, and satirizes Saudi views of America in the process. The influence of Western, particularly American, culture is a big, touchy topic in much of the world, with people torn between their love of Michael Jackson and their desire to patronize compatriots over foreigners. It’s about national pride and about preserving one’s own culture.  For English captions (click the little 'CC' button in the bottom-right corner after pressing play).


Skip to about 3:15 to see the segment on the Western 'cultural invasion' of Saudi Arabia and, appropriately, a very funny bit on attempting a 'reverse cultural invasion' of Saudi cultural in America."

--Max Fisher in the Washington Post

Seth Dixon's insight:

Given that Saudi Arabia's government is a strict theocratic kingdom, many people imagine that those ideas and values are representative of the general population and imagine austere and unyielding personalities.  This video shows something we ratherly see in the West, local humor from Saudi Arabia that critiques their own cultural institutions.


Tags: Saudi Arabia, Middle East, globalization, culture.

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Jess Pitrone's comment, April 29, 2013 9:42 PM
Throughout the world, American pop culture is what defines us, and it is definitely what we use to define ourselves, as well. When we look to other countries, we look to see what their popular culture is like and compare it to our own. I love this video because I think that it is poking fun at both American popular culture and Saudi culture. Where American pop culture is so large and all encompassing, Saudi pop culture is small and not nearly as significant in defining its people.
When we, as Americans, see Saudi Arabians, we see a repressed culture, but just because they don’t have the pop culture that we have, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a distinct identity. Obviously the Saudis have a distinct identity, and obviously they aren’t afraid to poke fun at what Americans think of their culture.
Peter Siner's comment, April 30, 2013 9:29 AM
It seems as though throughout history there have always been tendencies for the Middle East to fall under a westernized mindset. Organizations and rulers throughout Middle Eastern history had challenged this idea. However, especially in todays society we are seeing a shift where the people of the middle east are becoming more and more accepting of westernized practices. The biggest hump however seems to be overcoming the religious boundaries that tie down the Middle East to its traditional ways. This process of westernization is not one that can be completed over night and it will most certainly be a very slow process that takes the time and effort of the people to make it happen. We are already seeing popular westernized culture integrate with the traditional culture of the middle east. With time, it is almost inevitable for the views of the western world to completely influence the people especially since the younger generations are so willing to change.
Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, March 19, 2015 10:15 AM

This is a fun video.  I like it because it exposes an Arab man for being just like any other American.  His comedy is good and it shows that Arabs are just like anyone of us.  Many times, lately, in America Arabs are pictured as being unforgiving, always serious, and ruthless people.  La Yekthar shows us the side of a Saudi comedian that we probably wouldn't see in mainstream American media.

 

I loved how the comedy was essentially a "roast" of his own culture, which shows that they are not much different than us.  The fact of the matter is that we have to be critical of our media.  Most people in the world are very similar to each other.  Yes, there are extremists and bad people in every ethnic group, but the bottom line is that they only make up a very small minority of a population.   I wish the media would focus as much on positive aspects of a foreign country as they do the negatives.

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Mother's Day Dates around the world

Mother's Day Dates around the world | Geography Education | Scoop.it
This map show Mother's Day celebration dates around the world.
Seth Dixon's insight:

While most of the world celebrates Mother's day in May, March 21st (the vernal equinox) is day most countries in the Middle East celebrate Mother's Day.  So, why might the first day of spring be the day used to honor mothers?  Hint: think about agricultural cycles and fertility symbols.  Happy Mother's Day!

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:34 PM

Mothers Day is a holiday to celebrate mom. It doesn't matter when it is as long as its being celebrated. Though its a "made-up" holiday, its still a special one to all those moms out there.

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European women marry, give hope to Samaritans

European women marry, give hope to Samaritans | Geography Education | Scoop.it
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Some folk cultures, such as the Samaritans, have historically intermarried and have been plagued by genetic diseases.  Recently, they have turned to global solutions to their local demographic woes.  "Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community."  


Tagsfolk culture, gender, population, Russia, religion, culture,
Middle East


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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 12:14 PM

This article describes a how the small religious group, the Samaritans, have seen their numbers shrink to unsustainable levels and have been forced to turn outside to find wives. These men are importing brides from places like Ukraine because of a significant gender imbalance and heightened risk of birth defects due to genetic homogenization over the centuries. These circumstances present an fairly unique case of migration, one which should it become a standard practice, could have an effect on the culture of the Samaritan communities.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:43 PM

The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture. Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community that has been plagued by genetic diseases caused by generations of intermarriage. Husni Cohen, a 69-year-old village elder, said the marriages are not ideal, since there is always a risk that the newcomers may decide to leave. But in a community whose population has fallen to roughly 360 people, he saw little choice.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 7:30 PM

This is why Denmark gives plenty of incentives for women to have babies so to make sure the population growth stays above 2.06 which is the average number needed to keep a steady population.

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Syria for Educators

Syria for Educators | Geography Education | Scoop.it
-Introduction (1 minute) -Sign up for a free Prezi account and give your students background with the Syria the Basics   PREZI . (5 minutes)  - Follow up with another   PREZI   about Youth...
Seth Dixon's insight:

Have you wanted to teach about current events in Syria but weren't sure where to start?  This resource suggested by the Arizona Geographic Alliance has lesson plans, materials and resources for all grades.  


Tags: Syria, conflict, K12, political, MiddleEast, war.

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NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.


"[This] data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."


Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, Middle East, Iraq.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a perfect example of geospatial technologies can lead to a better understanding of how the Earth's physical systems are changing because of human geography.  Teaching geography is about showing how these systems are interconnected.   

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 19, 2014 9:24 AM

Water is a big issue in an arid area.  The fact that we can measure the amount of groundwater present in an area with a satellite is amazing to me.  The issue of water rights and control in this region will someday over take that of oil rights and use in my opinion.  Once people get used to free flowing water to use on demand it will cause problems politically when these sources of ground water inevitably dry up.

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Refugees from Syria

Refugees from Syria | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The number of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict and crossed the borders hasn't ceased to increase.
Seth Dixon's insight:

UNICEF workers have stated: "More than 600,000 have fled the conflict in Syria and registered as refugees. The number of Syrians who have left without registering is unknown but is likely to be hundreds of thousands. We do know, however, that children make up around half the number of refugees and that is certainly no way for any child to live their childhood."


Tags: Syria, conflict, political, MiddleEast, war.

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Kyle Kampe's curator insight, October 30, 2013 5:16 PM

The ongoing military conflicts in Syria have caused a significant refugee problem. Refugees are evacuating Syria and entering its geographically close neighbors, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.

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As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey

As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit
Seth Dixon's insight:

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world.  Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries.  The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war.  This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty. 


UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.


Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.

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Joshua Choiniere's comment, December 18, 2012 11:23 AM
This is really interesting professor
Eliana Oliveira Burian's curator insight, December 28, 2012 6:34 AM

How to handle it?

 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:10 PM

what i find interesting about this is that both syria and turkey are trying to remove the kurds from their countries. neither country will allow more kurds to immigrate into their land, but both are encouraging them to leave and go fight in the other country. the kurds seem to not care which country they live in as long as they are all together but no country wants them.

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Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border

Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border | Geography Education | Scoop.it

A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.


This article from the Atlantic is a great introduction to a mapping tool that puts the user at the virtual negotiation table.  Peace talk proposals often center around the amount of land that Palestinians want and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Israelis want as a part of the state of Israel.  This interactive, titled Is Peace Possible?, allows the user to propose potential land swaps, see the demographic breakdown of West Bank settlements and videos to introduce users to on 4 major issues: borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem. 


Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, mapping

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U.N. approves Palestinian 'observer state' bid

U.N. approves Palestinian 'observer state' bid | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The United Nations General Assembly approved an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.


While this may be primarily symbolic, it is still a highly significant move on the part of the United Nations.  65 years ago, the United Nations called for a two-state system.  This map of the vote that I found on Facebook (can't find another source as of yet) is quite intriguing. 

 

Questions to Ponder: Why might a country choose to abstain?  Can you think of a specific reason why a particular country abstained?  With this new geopolitical fact, how will Israel and Palestine move forward?   

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 31, 2013 10:25 AM

One year ago, the U.N. status regarding Palestine was upgraded from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state".  While Palestinians believe that this is a major push for peace and for Palestinian independence, other countries believe that the change will not do anything for Palestine.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 28, 2014 10:17 AM

(Africa topic 3)

Though there is much to be said from this map, I would like to focus on the red and black countries. I was surprised that only 9 nations did not support the acknowledgement of Palestine as a recognizable political entity. Of those 9, only 2 are members of the G8 (or perhaps now G7 due to Russia's suspension) Summit committee. The countries which abstained likely did so out of a mix of reasons: to not offend some of their allies by voting no, to not offend other allies by voting yes, not having enough of an opinion to make a complete decision, or having a mixed opinion within their own borders. IN this way it's a "pleading the Fifth" motion, which I believe can be seen as a smart move, politically speaking. Just like the 2-party struggle within the US, sometimes there are no two clear right and wrong answers.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:24 PM

the only reason i can see for not including paslestine is that they do not have defined country boarders. this would make it difficult for them to be included in decisions made by the U.N. once they have established boarders (something they need to work out with israel and the U.N.) i can not see any reason to not include them. conversely, if they are included in the U.N. then it seems that it would only help to resolve the issue since they would both seemingly be more linked together in a positive way.

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Human Conflict Seen From Space

Human Conflict Seen From Space | Geography Education | Scoop.it

I'll let Douglas Keeney's own words and this image speak for themselves: "The geography of human conflict as seen from space at night. The Strait of Hormuz as seen at night from the space station is a beautiful lesson in the geography of conflict. How much we learn by simply tracing the fingers of human populations as seen superimposed over the geography of Earth. Enjoy." 

-From Lights of Mankind: Earth at Night From Space


What would a picture look like from a drone's perspective?  Where are these places that are being targeted?  This Instagram account is incredibly thought-provoking and informative.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, January 29, 2015 12:02 AM

Most likely, these lights represent urban areas which contains a higher population. As we can see in this photo, one territory stands out more not because of it's lights, but because we know that it is a higher population. Also we see urban areas that "never sleeps." What I mean by "never sleeps" is that the city functions late at night and still has people explore it 24/7.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:56 AM

The view from space is always life changing. The image underscores the conflict taking place in the region. Only from the sky, can use see the vastness of the conflict taking place. Television and film cameras can only capture so much of a war. Looking down from the sky gives us a better view of the overall devastation taking place. The Middle East is truly on fire.

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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 | Geography 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
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an interesting article and the concepts in it were recently echoed by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times; some seem the linkages that he is making between population growth and drought with war and conflict as being environmentally deterministic while others think that it is appropriately taking the geographic factors into consideration.  Conflicts over water can erupt, but how much of the conflict can be attributed these factors?  What do you think? 


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, political, water, environment,

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 11:25 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, 2014 3:22 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, 2014 8:37 AM

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

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Syrian refugees update 2013

Syrian refugees update 2013 | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Another refugee camp opened today in Mrajeeb al-Fhood, Jordan, to accommodate the reported 1,500 to 2,000 Syrians fleeing to Jordan daily.  Just over a year ago the Big Picture posted an entry of the growing number of people displaced due to the conflict that now has lasted over two years. The United Nations recently said a total of around 7,000 to 8,000 Syrians are leaving their country daily; there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees and almost 4 million more have been displaced inside Syria since the start of the conflict. Posted here is another glimpse of daily life for those displaced since the beginning of this year." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

These 37 images are excellent, but I chose to share this particular one, because the combination of poverty and happiness embody the purpose behind refugee camps.  While the living conditions are grim and far from ideal, they are better than the alternative for these refugees and the assistance that they are receiving from the international community can be a ray of hope for the future of these children.  In this picture, Syrian refugee children play in Sidon, located in southern Lebanon. 


Tags: Syria, migration, conflict, political, MiddleEast, war.

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MAANDO_PROTOTYPE's curator insight, March 13, 2014 6:19 PM

http://syria-freedom-2014.tumblr.com/
FREEDOM GRAFFiTi WEEK Syria ... MAANDO...PROTOTYPE
#Syria #MAANDO #PROTOTYPE #SYRIAN

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 26, 2014 3:13 PM

Conflicts in Syria have led almost 4 million refugees to displace to Jordan. Refugee camps have been set up to aid these families the best ways possible. although conditions are still tough, they are much safer than in Syria. These photos embrace the combinations of struggle and joy. Children cry and children play. Families create homes within the tents and make due with what they have.

Brittany Ortiz's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:21 PM

It’s great to know the many good things people are trying to do to protect some of their citizens. When looking at the pictures, there obviously wasn’t much of a home aspect to their living situation but it’s great to know that they seem to be happier where they are now to where they were before. The picture with the Syrian refugee little boy shaking hands with an Emirati Red Crescent is priceless. The smile on that little boys face touched me and I could feel the happiness with his smile. The facts that the citizens have a choice to leave for a better environment is great and knowing there is a happier ending for them is great. The picture with the kids playing and smiling is also great. As a student going to school to become an elementary school teacher it’s astonishing in the happiness these kids get from playing with nothing. Very different to how children are raised here in the US. But great to know how there happiness can one day be restored since leaving.

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Crisis Guide: Iran

Crisis Guide: Iran | Geography 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."

Seth Dixon's insight:

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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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 22, 2013 12:35 AM

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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The Golan Heights

The Golan Heights | Geography Education | Scoop.it

In early November 2012, three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of the Golan Heights. The move by Syria is the first violation of the zone in 40 years and concerns countries of the region. Since then some of the Syrian rebels have also been reported operating in Golan Heights.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This article (orginally featured on maps101.com, the educational wing of maps.com) is a great starting point for learning about the geopolitical significance of the Golan Heights.  


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, Israel, borders, political.

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Louis Culotta's curator insight, April 4, 2013 6:35 PM

Heres some info on how poeple have been living in regards to a troubled area of the world.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 19, 2014 9:08 AM

This article stresses the importance of geography when discussing political situation with neighboring countries.  The fact that the heights are such a strategic advantage to whoever owns them explains why they are so contested.  As long as these two countries are not friendly nations this disagreement over the strategic point will continue.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:26 PM

i never even heard of the Golan Heights before this and i would have never known the significance of this DMZ until now. this just sheds more light on what is happening in syria today.

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Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin

Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin | Geography Education | Scoop.it
An arid region grew even drier between 2003 and 2009 due to human consumption of water for drinking and agriculture.
Seth Dixon's insight:

As drought conditions have hit the Middle East, growing populations are using more water per capita then ever.  See this on Google Earth with this KMZ file.


Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, Middle East, Iraq.

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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 12:52 PM

What's happening in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin is similar to what is happening to the Aral Sea. Freshwater Stores Shrank in just 4 years. Humans are drastically altering the landscape and if we don't start to find others ways of doing things and change the way in which we do agriculture and use our water, there could be a serious water shortage for millions of people.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 22, 2014 6:24 PM

(Southwest Asia topic 2)

The area known as the Cradle of Humanity is becoming less hospitable. Though natural climate change can be attributed to the dryer conditions, humans have made just as much of an impact. Increased water usage leads to less reserve. Impacts stretch further, however. Less water flow below the dam can lead to changes in sedimentation patterns and disrupt wildlife habitats, potentially causing harm to wildlife.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:19 PM

The middle east has lost a huge portion of its freshwater over the past decade. The two natural-color images above were acquired by the Landsat satellites and show the shrinking of the Qadisiyah Reservoir in Iraq between September 7, 2006 and September 15, 2009. The first graph shows the elevation of the water in that reservoir between January 2003 and December 2009. The second graph shows water storage from January 2003 to December 2009. Obtaining ground data information in the middle east can be difficult.The researchers calculated that about one-fifth of the water losses in their Tigris-Euphrates study region came from snowpack shrinking and soil drying up, partly in response to a 2007 drought.

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Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq: The Human Cost

Seth Dixon's insight:

The effects of war can be staggering and far-reaching.  Often the costs are much higher than anticipated at the beginning.  Read this press release for more details on the recent findings regarding the actual costs of the Iraq War, which are estimated to have cost over 190,000 lives and $2.2 trillion. 


Tags: Iraq, conflict, K12, political, MiddleEast, war.

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Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 4:25 AM

The death of 190,000 people due to war is always a tragedy.  There is a positive side to this number, however.  The Iraq war cost 190,00 lives in ten years, an average of 19,000 deaths a year. In World War II, the Russians alone lost 9,000,000 people, in a much shorter amount of time.  We are no longer losing large chunks of our population in wars, due to new technology and combat strategies. 

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Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia

Fields of Green Spring up in Saudi Arabia | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia is drilling for a resource possibly more precious than oil by tapping hidden reserves of water in the Syrian Desert.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In northern Saudi Arabia near Jordan, oil resources are sparse and so is surface water.  Water might just be the more important liquid natural resource, especially for sustaining a population.  There are underground water reserves that are stored in aquifers, layers of rock that hold water.  The water that collects in aquifers may take many years to replenish so this practice is sometimes referred to as water mining.  

   

Question to ponder: If Saudi Arabia is rich enough to buy their own food and they are at a competitive disadvantage for food production, why would they invest so much money on farming marginal lands? 


Tags: food, agriculture, waterMiddle East, Saudi Arabia, unit 5 agriculture

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Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 6:51 PM

These satellite images provide some interesting perspective about the scarcity of water in Saudi Arabia. Due to rainfall totaling only about one inch a year, Saudi Arabia has been forced to drill for water trapped beneath the desert sand in order to sustain agriculture and life. The progression of the images shows that this water drilling has clearly done some good for Saudi Arabia in terms of green space, but scientists estimate that pumping water will only be a viable option for another 50 years or so, at which point, Saudi Arabia will be forced to explore other options for finding water. 

 

It is safe to say that many other countries around the world do not share the problem of finding water that Saudi Arabia does (though climate change has surely led to increased droughts in recent years).It puts into perspective, then, the universal struggle of the search for natural resources. In countries where water is in abundant supply, people are generally more concerned with securing oil or other means of energy creation. In a place like Saudi Arabia, however, which is incredibly rich in oil, people don't worry about energy, but about water. It just goes to show that we often don't appreciate what we have until it is put into perspective just how difficult it is for people who don't have what we do. Like the U.S. or China must do for oil and other energy resources, Saudi Arabia must find a viable option for securing water before it is too late. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 7, 2015 4:27 PM

Saudi Arabia is a very rich in drilling industry for oil. However many of these fields are green are popping up all over the place as drilling is occuring. Why is this? Well much of the drilling releases water that is trapped within the rocks. This water then flows to the surface where it creates a underground water puddle that keeps the soils moist which in turn allows for greens and other plants to grow. This is more commonly known as water drilling.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:08 PM
These random fields of green are coming from the rocks that still have water that is trapped inside them from the last ice age. Saudi Arabia reaches these underground rivers and lakes by drilling through the desert floor, directly irrigating the fields with a circular sprinkler system. This technique is called center-pivot irrigation. Because of low rainfall, they get minimum water each year. Hydrologists estimate water will only be able to be pumped out for 50 years. With water popping up fields of green, a new agricultural economy will appear, maybe farming life and new resources that the country never had for their people, they will now have.
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A Layman's Geography Guide to the Most Confusing Region Of the World: Iran

A Layman's Geography Guide to the Most Confusing Region Of the World: Iran | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Iran's geography plays heavily in the foreign affairs issues it is a part of, and the policies it makes.
Seth Dixon's insight:

"Iran sits smack in the middle of one of the most important geopolitical regions on Earth. Much of its western flank is bordered by either Iraq or the Persian Gulf, and it has considerable control over one of the world’s most important waterways for oil shipping and trade, the Strait of Hormuz." 


Given it's context, Iran is a country that students should know beyond the three main facts that that most Americans are aware of (Iran has an Islamic-based government, an emerging nuclear program and a ton of oil).  This article is a good starting point. 


Tags: Iran, political, Middle East.

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Pop culture in the Arab world

TED Talks At TEDGlobal University, Shereen El Feki shows how some Arab cultures are borrowing trademarks of Western pop culture -- music videos, comics, even Barbie -- and adding a culturally appropriate twist.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED talk cleverly discusses the cultural processes of globalization by examining two examples from the Islamic world.  The examples of the TV station 4Shbab and the comic book series The 99 show that all global cultural interactions don’t have to result in a homogenous “melting pot.”  Local cultural forces can tap into the powers of globalized culture that can create dynamic local cultures that are both intensely local and global. 


Questions to Ponder: What does the speaker mean when she by refers to cultural interactions as a mesh (as a opposed to a clash or mash) of civilizations?  What other examples of cultural meshes can you see that show these processes? 


Tags: TED, religion, culture, Islam, globalization, popular culture, unit 3 culture.

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Denise Pacheco's curator insight, December 17, 2013 11:23 AM

I don't think popular culture and folk culture interact very well. They believe in completely different things and live different types of lives according to their values. The speaker means that the cultural interaction is intertwined together because of the islamic people who have borrowed cultural ideas from other ancient and modern civilizations and adapted it to their own. That's why it's meshed as a opposed to clashing or mash. For example, the music video channel that's like MTV. I think it's kind of funny how they made the people in that music video, that's from the USA, look like we also worship Allah. Also, the comic books show religious values in it, especially since the characters come from it. They want young people to not get sucked in to the outside world or modern culture from different societies, so instead they want to incorporate their religion with our ideas of culture.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 5, 2014 8:22 PM

unit 3

Jamey Kahl's curator insight, March 27, 11:09 PM

This TED talk cleverly discusses the cultural processes of globalization by examining two examples from the Islamic world.  The examples of the TV station 4Shbab and the comic book series The 99 show that all global cultural interactions don’t have to result in a homogenous “melting pot.”  Local cultural forces can tap into the powers of globalized culture that can create dynamic local cultures that are both intensely local and global. 


Questions to Ponder: What does the speaker mean when she by refers to cultural interactions as a mesh (as a opposed to a clash or mash) of civilizations?  What other examples of cultural meshes can you see that show these processes? 


Tags: TED, religion, culture, Islam, globalization, popular culture, unit 3 culture.

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The Middle East’s Surprising Appetite for Oil

The Middle East’s Surprising Appetite for Oil | Geography Education | Scoop.it
CFR experts examine the science and foreign policy surrounding climate change, energy, and nuclear security.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Most everyone knows about the importance of Middle Eastern oil to the global economy and how that impacts geopolitics.  What isn't well-known is that the Middle East's own demand for oil has been increasing as their wealth and standard of living has been rising.  This chart does not show the amount of oil consumption, but the "energy intensity."  This is the amount of energy (often oil) used to produce a unit of GDP for a country's economy.  


Questions to Ponder: How will this change oil-producing countries economic development in the future?  How does this make us re-assess these economies?  Does this impact how we think about climate change issues?

 

Tags: energy, resources, Middle East, development.

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Seth Dixon's comment, December 12, 2012 3:07 PM
In essence, this is measuring "how many miles per gallon" your economy is getting.
geofoodgraz's curator insight, December 15, 2012 4:37 AM
Seth Dixon, Ph.D.'s insight:

"Most everyone knows about the importance of Middle Eastern oil to the global economy and how that impacts geopolitics.  What isn't well-known is that the Middle East's own demand for oil has been increasing as their wealth and standard of living has been rising.  This chart does not show the amount of oil consumption, but the "energy intensity."  This is the amount of energy (often oil) used to produce a unit of GDP for a country's economy.  

 

Questions to Ponder: How will this change oil-producing countries economic development in the future?  How does this make us re-assess these economies?  Does this impact how we think about climate change issues?"

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 1:49 PM

Many people are well-aware of the Middle East's important part in the world oil market, but many fail to realize that this region consumes more oil than any other. Government subsidized oil prices combined with a rising economy spurring increased population growth and development makes parts of this region thirsty for petroleum. Cars are becoming more popular and as areas develop, electricity is being produced by the direct burning of fossil fuels. Meanwhile, countries like Saudi Arabia continue producing massive amounts of oil. This natural resource is what is going to shape this region in the upcoming years, providing major economic development that may trickle down to the people. 

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The Next Step in the Islamic Wave

The Next Step in the Islamic Wave | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The Muslim Brotherhood has been gaining power in several countries since the Arab Spring. The rise of Islamist power in the Middle East is culturally and politically complex.  This interactive lets the user click on selected countries to see how groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas are impacting them politically. 


Tags: Middle East, religion, Islam, political.

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Quran Coaching's curator insight, August 4, 2014 3:03 PM

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Quran Coaching's curator insight, August 12, 2014 2:13 PM

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Quran Coaching's curator insight, August 27, 2014 1:34 PM
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Israel and Palestine

Watch this Jewish Voice for Peace 6 minute mini-primer about why Israelis and Palestinians are fighting..

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video from the Jewish Voice for Peace has a more politically motivated angle than most of the resources that I post on this site, but I feel that they do justice to both sides as well as the truth.  In a simple way it lays out the roots of many of the problems in the region with historic and geographic perspectives.   

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, borders.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 19, 2015 8:40 PM

From 1946 to 2000, Palestine (Islamic individuals) have been at war with Israel (Jewish individuals) over land in Israel/Palestine. In 1946, Palestine took over most of Israel but throughout the decades up until 2000, Israel slowly won over almost every piece of Israel and now, Palestine barely has any land in Israel. From 1949 to 1967, Palestine took over a specific area of Israel known as the West Bank and another small part of Israel known as Gaza. There was a lot of war going on between Israel and Palestine because Israel discriminated against non-Jews. Palestinians became refugees but that didn't stop Israel from fighting to take over Palestinian land.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 30, 2015 1:03 AM

The video was informative, but bias. I have a stronger understanding of how Israel is exploiting, how the borders were re-drawn, and how the make up of the original border mattered. However, the author gave me these facts in a very pro-Palestinian manner. The narrator sees the Palatines as refugees instead of the Jews, who as the narrator said, were "refugees living where people already lived." This similar identity clearly resonated with the narrator who almost 2 minutes of the video speaking about how the treatment of the new refugees was wrong. While a fair amount of the rest of the video advocated a solution to help Palestinian, hence the negative portrayals of the United States backed peace talks.  

 

What was missing from this video was Israeli's story. The Jewish community had become a large force within Palestinian, but was not being aptly recognized. In fact, the Palestinian's prior to the UN offer weren't treating the Jews fair. When this offer came along, it was the Palestinian's who started the fight, a point that was down played in this video as the narrator rushed to point the finger at Israeli's wrong doings. Yet, another portrayal of this conflict mentioned in class, showed the Israeli's feel threatened because they are a minority surrounded by enemies within the region. All of this information means that the Palestinian's and other neighbors play more of a negative hand in the land dispute than what the narrator says.    

 

To be honest, I don't know enough about either side to really say who I support. However, from what I gather, neither side is a bushel of roses. As learned in class their were a fair deal of geographic tensions from BOTH parties that caused the fighting and their is still a fair deal of geographic tensions from BOTH parties that factor into the fighting today. Thus, the bias of this video acts as a reminder that a person looking to understand a heated conflict, such as this one between neighbors, must view the information with causation. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:30 PM

first off, this video is very pro isrelis which must be kept in mind. also i dont know what the palestinians and surrounding countries expected. the jews had nowhere to go and were sent there by england. where else where they to go? instead of accepting this the palestinians started to attack them and when they lost they wanted to come back and live there, of course the jews were not going to let them back in. neither side is completely right or wrong but i can see the jewish side more than the palestinians.