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How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring

How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring | Geography Education | Scoop.it
How Syria Ruined the Arab Spring « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Seth Dixon's insight:

Unraveling the situation on the ground in Syria is much like opening a Russian nesting doll, it's a battle, inside of a battle, inside of a battle. A complex series of local, regional, and global rivalries all playing out on the battle grounds of Syria, turning the country in a wasteland. It's created a nightmare for the millions of non-combatants forced to flee, and those stuck within the borders. What started as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad cracking down on Arab spring protesters in early 2011, quickly escalated into a civil war. Regional rivals Iran, and Saudi Arabia then got involved sending aid to differing sides. Soon, as a result of the rise of ISIS, the west and Russia chose to intervene. Lost in the greater game of Geo-politics is the sad, slow death of the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring. As Marc Lynch laments in 'How Syria ruined the Arab Spring', all of the momentum was lost and forgotten when Al-Assad resorted to force and Syria became a pawn in regional and global geopolitics.

 

Tagsop-ed, Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Middle East.

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Interactives about Syrian Refugee Crisis

Interactives about Syrian Refugee Crisis | Geography Education | Scoop.it
War, sectarian violence, and famine have forced more than 50 million people from their homes—the largest number of displaced people since World War II.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.

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Jukka Melaranta's curator insight, March 3, 10:40 AM

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.

malbert's curator insight, March 4, 1:30 AM

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

'The Uprooted' (focused more on Syria).
Epicenter of a Deepening Refugee Crisis (puts Syria into larger global patterns).

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.

Rachel Stutzman's curator insight, March 11, 10:28 AM

Here are two excellent ESRI StoryMaps about the Syrian refugee crisis; these are two very good examples of a great web maps. 

'The Uprooted' (focused more on Syria).
Epicenter of a Deepening Refugee Crisis (puts Syria into larger global patterns).

 

Tags: GIS, ESRI, mapping, cartography, geospatial, edtech, Syria, political, refugees.

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Ten Ways on How Not To Think About the Iran/Saudi Conflict

Ten Ways on How Not To Think About the Iran/Saudi Conflict | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Sometimes when a conflict involves Muslims, Islam may not be the best category for understanding it. Omid Safi with a reflection on the current crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and why framing it as religion is not the most helpful framework."

 

In the last few days, virtually every news outlet has featured a series of stories on the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The conflict by now is well-known: Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including Shi‘i cleric Nimr al-Nimr. While both Iran and Saudi Arabia are among the worst global executioners of dissidents, the sheer size of these executions was rare even by their gruesome standards. Iran retaliated through bombastic rhetoric, stating, “God’s hand of retaliation will grip the neck of Saudi politicians.” The two countries have broken off diplomatic relations, a tension that has rippled across the region. 

 

TagsSaudi Arabia, political, conflict, Iran, Middle East.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a good reminder that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not just a Persian/Arab, Sunni/Shiite issue.  This isn't just some resurgence of an ancient battle but there are many modern geopolitical issues including oil and regional rivalries.

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Corine Ramos's curator insight, January 22, 12:05 PM

This is a good reminder that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not just a Persian/Arab, Sunni/Shiite issue.  This isn't just some resurgence of an ancient battle but there are many modern geopolitical issues including oil and regional rivalries.

Mr. D's Social Studies Classroom's curator insight, March 2, 5:55 PM

This is a good reminder that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not just a Persian/Arab, Sunni/Shiite issue.  This isn't just some resurgence of an ancient battle but there are many modern geopolitical issues including oil and regional rivalries.

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Saudi women allowed to vote for first time

Saudi women allowed to vote for first time | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"On Saturday 12 December people in Saudi Arabia go to the polls. This is a rare event in itself, but on this occasion women in the country will be voting and standing for office for the first time in history. Voting for the municipal elections take place across Saudi Arabia, but we managed to speak to the first women to register to vote in the capital Riyadh."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Tomorrow, Saudi women will have their first opportunity to vote.  Voting power in this kingdom is limited but time will tell if this was merely a symbolic gesture of appeasement or the beginning of greater social changes. 

 

TagsSaudi Arabia, genderMiddle East.

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John Peterson's comment, December 19, 2015 1:38 PM
Very interesting story.
Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, January 4, 4:35 AM

Saudi women allowed to vote for first time

Patty B's curator insight, March 11, 12:24 PM
It's definitely good that women were recently granted the right to vote in Saudi Arabia. I think it speaks to the current global climate surrounding the issue of women's rights. As democratic nations are focusing on equal pay rights, Saudi Arabia (among other countries in the region) is realizing that in order to continue to compete in the global marketplace, it must adhere to the ways of the larger global community, regardless of how much further behind they are than Western democracies. But it also shows that there must be significant pressure upon countries that have not adopted women's suffrage if one of the Middle East's most dominant countries is changing policies that assimilate them further into Western society. It also demonstrates a greater global shift toward equal treatment of men and women. 
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Syria's war: Who is fighting and why

Watch how the Syrian civil war became the mess it is today.
Seth Dixon's insight:

A few weeks back I posted a shorter (90 seconds) BBC video on the Syrian war.  This Vox video adds more detail and includes a very helpful timeline to show how more internal and external forces became involved in the fighting.  This is an incredibly complicated geopolitical situation because of all the regional and international players involved.  


TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 5:10 PM

I read articles about the Syrian war and watched this film and I got to tell you it sure is confusing. The picture on one of the websites that really disturbed me is the father holding his lifeless  8 or 9 year old daughter in his arms. I have a 9 year old daughter and it was her birthday on that day I saw the picture. Sometimes it is better emotionally to be ignorant about what is going on in the world.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 1:37 PM

Syrian civil war has escalated into a proxy wars between many nations that all have different goals in mind. It all started from the Arab Spring and is still on-going because there are many sides taking place and none of them wants to back down. Mainly due to the emerge of the Islamic State that cause a shift in the war of fighting a terrorism organization to fighting the different factions within Syria. 

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 16, 2015 5:19 PM

An interesting and well written breakdown of the Syrian war and its local, regional and global factors that have caused the escalation to this point. It should however be pointed out that some of the information within the video is actually wrong. The United Nations did a investigation and report regarding the use of chemical weapons and found ti was the rebels not Assad who had used them. Furthermore it leaves out some reports from the initial protests in Syria that some of them were armed with weapons and fired on police (suggesting that instead of one side it was mutual escalation). Plus much of the fighting in Syria is also sectarian with Shiites backing Assad and the Sunnis backing Assad's opposition (prior global intervention). If these pieces of information were corrected in addition to talking about the Kurdish predicament a bit more along with the origins of ISIS the video would be perfect. So in a way I suppose the video kind of left out important local geographic details that influenced the regional and global ones.

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Hajj stampede: Saudis face growing criticism over deaths

Hajj stampede: Saudis face growing criticism over deaths | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Iran leads growing criticism of Saudi Arabia after the deaths of at least 717 people in a stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage.


Tagstourism, Islam, Saudi Arabiaculture, religion, Middle East.

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Greg Hill's curator insight, September 28, 2015 12:17 PM
Islam, Hajj, Mecca
Matthew Richmond's curator insight, October 26, 2015 12:52 PM

Re-scooped from Professor Dixon, this article shows how the rest of Islam is responding to the recent catastrophe in Mecca. The Saudi government has a responsibility to ensure that the Hajj is a safe venture in a Muslim's life. Since the Hajj is one of the most sacred pillars of Islam, I think someone should consider the idea of putting a multi-national police force in place at Mecca to ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen again.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:11 PM

with the massive crush of people who descend on Mecca every year its hard to imagine that this hasn't happened before. Mecca is THE pilgrimage site for Muslims, and holy law dictates that every Muslim should go there in their lifetime.

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Teaching about Syrian Refugees

Teaching about Syrian Refugees | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Syrian Civil War that stemmed out of the Arab Spring in 2012 morphed into a conflict unlike any of the other Arab Spring protests. In the years before the Arab Spring, Syria experienced an extended drought led to declining agricultural production and social discontent even before the spark of revolutionary change swept the region. The rise of ISIS in the power struggle has led to horrifying atrocities that leave ordinary citizens seeking the most basic of human needs: safety, shelter, food and water.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This problem is not going away and I decided to gather some of my favorite resources on how to teach this very difficult, but incredibly important issue into the linked article. 


TagsSyriaMiddleEast, migration, political, refugees, regions.

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Luis Cesar Nunes's curator insight, September 17, 2015 9:40 AM
 Syrian Refugees
Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:40 PM

Its amazing how a civil war sparked a total of 11 million refugees or displacement up to date. Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, are a major help in providing space for these refugees.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 2:08 PM

The conflict in Syria that stemmed from the Arab Spring led to many refugees fleeing to escape the horrible political condition. These people are different from migrants because they have no choice but to leave. According to UN laws they are provided necessary aid and a place to stay until their country is safe again. However, the Syrian War is escalating quickly rather than showing any sign of stopping. It may be possible these refugees will not have a home and will be an ethnic minority in host countries. 

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World's largest hotel coming to Mecca

World's largest hotel coming to Mecca | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Abraj Kudai, a complex in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is set to become the world's largest hotel by room count when it opens in 2017.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Las Vegas currently has the four of the five largest hotels in the world; people flock to the Nevada desert in droves for the gambling and nightlife.  Mecca has a very distinct draw that pulls tourists in from all over the world.  As a sacred pilgrimage site, the tourism industry thrives and needs an immense infrastructure to handle the high volume of visitors that come for the Hajj.

   

Tagstourism, Islam, Saudi Arabiaculture, religion, Middle East.

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Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 22, 2015 7:37 AM

The location of the hotel makes a lot of sense. Mecca is an obvious tourist destination. Muslims from all over the world, make the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city. Those same people, are in need of accommodations once they arrive in the city. The economic potential of such a hotel is outstanding. It was also interesting to learn that Las Vegas currently has four of the five largest hotels in the world. Even with the building of this hotel, I do not see Las Vegas being displaced as the worlds premier tourist destination.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:14 PM

this is hardly surprising, with how many people go to Mecca in a year. Mecca is probably the largest single destination for religious tourism in the world, and it is the only city on earth where there are religious obligations to enter the city .

Patty B's curator insight, March 11, 12:47 PM
I found this article to be pretty eye-opening. It shows how Capitalism has spread virtually everywhere, regardless of how many people from all around the world denounce its evil way. Just as many countries in South America utilize their beautiful weather and beaches to generate revenue, Saudi Arabia is planning to utilize Islam's holiest location to do the same. Some would claim this hotel to not be in the best interest of the Muslim religion, while others can't deny that it would generate a significant amount of revenue for the surrounding area. To me, as someone raised Catholic, this seems no different than there being hotels in Rome surrounding the Vatican. I understand the financial purposes for promoting tourism in such locations, but I can also understand how some can't help but feel a sense of disrespect when such things happen. It promotes the commercialism of locations and symbols that are extremely sacred to a great number of people. But it also helps the people of Mecca and greater Saudi Arabia live more comfortable lives in some way, be it improvement to infrastructure or investing to generate long-term income. 
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Sunnis and Shiites

Sunnis and Shiites | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Clarissa Ward breaks down the history of differences between opposing sects of Islam
Seth Dixon's insight:

The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This 5 minute video (as well as this NPR podcast) examine the historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge.  


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Caterin Victor's curator insight, April 14, 2015 10:51 AM

Since Obama turmoil with his absurd Arab Spring, Sunni Shite are killing one the other like crazy Islamist

Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:07 PM

There is a very complicated history between two major religions in the Middle East. History shows how this religion was divided by Mohamed’s death. It turned into a totally new religion and now rivals in the Middle East. I have to mention that one of my co-workers is from Syria and his definition about Sunnis and Shiites are not open minded. The history behind the Muslims religions demonstrate that the more power they have the more places they will dominate. Furthermore, human rights are violated regardless of religious denomination. For some people, Sunnis are considered as terrorist and compared to extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. These people who do not want to implement any kind of technology in their countries are holding on to the past with their religion. However, the Shiites experience more freedom even though they still follow strict religious rules. Even the US is confused about these Middle Eastern religions as countries that used to be governed by Sunnis now are run by Shiites. The US needs to remain neutral regarding these religious changes.

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Teach Mideast

Teach Mideast | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"TeachMideast is an educational outreach initiative developed by the Middle East Policy Council. TeachMideast is a resource designed primarily to give high school and community college teachers the foundation they need to teach about critical , complex, and intriguing subjects."

Seth Dixon's insight:

After writing an article about cultural empathy and stereotypes for National Geographic Education, I was delighted to hear from the educational outreach coordinator at Teach Mideast.  The amount of resources they have for teachers is impressive--check it out!


Tagsreligion, culturehistorical, political, Middle East.

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Quiz on the Differences Between Sunni and Shia Islam

Quiz on the Differences Between Sunni and Shia Islam | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Most of the world's major religions are made up of multiple sects or denominations, and Islam is no different. Islam's two major sects are the Sunnis and the Shiites, and the division and interplay between the two is a major factor in the geopolitics of the Middle East. How well do you understand Sunni and Shiite Islam? Take our quiz and find out!
Seth Dixon's insight:

The ghosts of religious wars past are rattling in Iraq; The geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics. This NPR podcast examines the  historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge.  


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 6, 2015 10:19 PM

After taking this class about Political Islam I thought I knew about Sunni and Shiite Islam.  Taking this quiz I definitely mixed up a lot of the information.  It seems like it would be simple to understand the differences and the similarities, but they are so parallel its easy to get the information mixed up.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 3:09 PM

"Muslim Extremists!" "Death to militant Islam!" "Muslims are terrorists!" These cries are often heard from conservative factions of the United States, who are a lot more eager to blindly hate than they are to learn about the lives of the same people they want dead. Islam encompasses some 1.3 billion believers, and there are significant deviations in both the faith and its application among such a wide population of believers. Before this exam, I knew about the Sunni majority and the Shia minority currently in conflict in the Middle East, but my understanding of the distinction between the two faiths was vague at best. I also did not recognize that each of the two main branches are then further split into different denominations, much in the same way that Christianity is today within our own country. As different and "other" we try and make the Middle East out to be, they are not that different in their religious practices (and their fanatics ruining the name of the religion for everyone else) than many conservatives would like them to be. I definitely enjoyed taking this exam, particularly within the context of everything I have been learning about with what is happening in Syria. I had no idea Assad was not just a regular Shia, but instead a member of a much smaller, stricter denomination. Learning about this region has definitely been an eye-opening experience for me, in the sense that I know a lot less about the world than I thought I knew.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:53 PM

I am not very educated on the religion but I do know from my notes in class that religion is what stops Iraq from unifying. That country is made up of three religions Muslims , Sunnis and Shiites.

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Saudi Arabia's Leadership

Seth Dixon's insight:

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia passed away on Jan 23rd and has been replaced by King Salman.  What does that mean for Saudi Arabia?  What will it mean for the region?  The Plaid Avenger has the answers (here are the links for part 2 and part 3).

 

TagsSaudi Arabiaculturegeopoliticspolitical, Middle East.

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Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem

Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A site in the Old City of Jerusalem, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, has been a flash point since the advent of modern Zionism.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There has been turmoil and violence in Jerusalem this month; at it's core, much of the fighting has been around the political control of sacred spaces that are seen as critical to both groups' cultural and religious identity.  This particular sacred place is intertwined with both Judaism as well as Islam, and understanding the current round of violence demands that we understand some of the historical geography of religion in Jerusalem.  To explore more about sacred sites in general as a spatial concept, visit this link


Tagsreligion, culture, Islam, Israel, Palestine, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 3:29 PM

Landmarks can have powerful meanings to different groups of people.  The Dome of the Rock is a sacred site to Muslims across the world.  The Mosque has stood on the location for centuries, and it is said to be built on the site where Mohamed ascended to Heaven.  To Jews, however, this site represents where Solomon's Temple was located.  It was destroyed two times, once by the Babylonians and another time, after being rebuilt by the Roman Empire.  Today, all that remains of this sacred site is the Western Wall.  The Wall is a sacred location to many Jews as it represents their heritage and their nation.  Yet, as the article notes, many Muslims are threatened by the new Jewish interests in the site and they fear that it will be taken by the Israeli government and the Temple will be rebuilt a third time on the Temple Mount.  This shows how much emotion can exist over a piece of land.  The Jewish need to rebuild their temple right on the very spot it once stood, it cannot be built elsewhere, meanwhile some Muslims deny that the Temple ever stood there and there are others who believe that the site should be renamed to "Al Aqsa Mosque or the Noble Sanctuary".  This is one of the great arguments that I believe will never be solved, should the Temple be rebuilt at the expense of the Dome of the Rock?  

 

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:03 PM

Sacred sites in Jerusalem are having difficulties due to the differences in culture from the surrounding countries. 

Raychel Johnson's curator insight, March 22, 2015 12:19 AM

Summary: This article is simply over the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how it has evolved since its beginning. This mostly talks about how Palestine believes that if Israel gains control of Jerusalem, they will get rid of Dome of the Rock, an important place of worship for the Islams. 

 

Insight: I think this article accurately represents concepts of political power and territoriality well due to the fact that these two territories are having a very long dispute about this one piece of land. I think there is definitely a solution that should be relatively simple, but with the amount of meaning this location has to both places, and with the continues terrorism occurring, I don't know if a simple solution would work. 

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xkcd: Orbiter

xkcd: Orbiter | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponymsMiddle East.

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EP Eric Pichon's curator insight, March 18, 4:48 AM

...some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

Leonardo Wild's curator insight, March 18, 9:10 AM

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

Jodi Esaili's curator insight, March 22, 9:39 AM

I've always enjoyed this comic strip...it highlights some of the difficulties in teaching about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. 

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, political, language, toponyms, Middle East.

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Israel to create a new egalitarian prayer plaza at Western Wall

Israel to create a new egalitarian prayer plaza at Western Wall | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The government approved a plan to allow pluralistic, and mixed-gender prayer, at Judaism’s holy site.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In the past, Israeli policewomen have detained members of the religious group Women of the Wall for breaching orthodox rules governing prayers at the site. This is Judaism's most holy site and orthodox traditions have legally prevailed here, defining who could be there and who could perform which religious rites (often on gender lines).  This fight represents a struggle to redefine the meaning and usage of public space in Jerusalem (among other complex issues).  The article states that "this marks an unprecedented move by the Israeli government to officially recognize the rights of Conservative, Reform and other Jewish denominations to hold organized prayer at the site."

 

Tags: Israel, culture, genderspace, religion, Judaism,
Middle East.

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How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ?

How Do Sunni and Shia Islam Differ? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
With Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shiite cleric inflaming tensions in the Middle East, here is a primer on the differences between the two branches of Islam.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Knowing the geography of the Sunni-Shiite division is incredibly important for a good understanding of world regional geography as well as modern geopolitics (see a detailed map of the spatial distribution here). This 5 minute video (as well as this NPR podcast) examine the historical and religious aspects of this split to then analyze the political and cultural implications in the Middle East today.  Additionally this Pew Research article highlights the 5 countries where the the majority of Muslims are Shiite, with some good demographic data to add to the analysis.  Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the differences between the two major branches of Islam.   

 

TagsMiddleEastIslamreligionhistorical, culture.

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Patty B's curator insight, March 11, 12:14 PM
In today's day and age, it is becoming increasingly more important to properly distinguish and better understand peoples of all different nationalities and religions. As is the case with Africans, Americans tend to lump all Muslims together. We have a tendency to judge Muslim people based on extremely broad and preconceived notions that are the cause (and/or the result?) of tension between Americans and Muslims living the Middle East. Just as we often consider Africa to be a country (when it's really an entire continent), we often regard all Muslims to universally hold the same beliefs, while in reality, that is very far from the truth. This article touches on the basic differences that exist within the Muslim community, mainly the distinction between Sunni and Shiite groups. I would consider the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to Protestants and Catholics in the United States. A foreigner would not, upon first impressions, recognize any distinction between a Catholic and a Protestant. But in reality, Catholics and Protestants originally come from different areas of the world and hold many different beliefs in regards to ideology despite both being Christian religions. I think this article offers an opportunity for "Westerners" (it seems kind of hypocritical to use such a broad term) to understand that other religions, and in particular the Muslim religion, have aspects to them that are quite similar to aspects of our own culture and religions. 
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Empire, Republic, Democracy: A History of Turkey

"The curriculum 'Empire, Republic, Democracy: A History of Turkey' traces the final years of the Ottoman Empire, the birth of the Turkish Republic, and contemporary issues in Turkey. Learn more at www.choices.edu/turkey "

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video is a great introduction to the Choices Program's new unit on Turkey...a country that is truly a bridge between the Middle East and Europe, without being fully in either.   This unique global position makes Turkey a very important country to understand both culturally and politically.


Tags: politicalculture, Turkeyhistorical.

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Matthew Richmond's curator insight, November 23, 2015 2:24 PM

Turkey has always been a country that I find interesting. So many amazing architectural structures and landscapes. I have two friends from high school who work there in the peace corps. I asked them what it's like and they couldn't really describe it. They said it isn't really Arabic but it certainly isn't western either. This was a good introductory video on the area.

Patty B's curator insight, March 11, 12:32 PM
This video definitely demonstrates the importance of Turkey's role in the global community. In a period with so much animosity between the Middle East and the Western world, Turkey, in a way, represents the entirety of the struggle. As a country that is both literally and figuratively teetering between the Middle East and the West, it has significant symbolic meaning. The outcome of the political and social activity in Turkey could mean a great deal in the grand-scheme of Western-Middle Eastern relations. How it practices democracy is critical. It is one thing to hold general elections, but if proper checks and balances do not exists for the elected officials, then democracy really does not exist in its truest sense. 
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This Is My Land

How do the Palestinian and Israeli (Arab and Jewish) education systems teach the history of their nations? The film follows several Israeli and Palestinian teachers over one academic year. Observing their exchanges and confrontations with students, debates with the ministries curriculum and its restrictions, the viewers obtain an intimate glimpse into the profound and long lasting effect that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict transmits onto the next generation.


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

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Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 22, 2015 8:01 AM

The teaching of history is often very political. You can not separate history from politics. The majority of history class end up focusing on some form of political history. History is all about interpretation. There is no one exact way to interpret an event. This opens up the discipline to being used to foster certain political ideals. Every leader of a nation will try to justify his or hers actions by finding an historical precedent. The history taught in Israeli schools, is going to be pro Israeli. The same is true for the Palestinians. Each side is looking to justify their current polices by telling an historical narrative from their own point of view. Each successive generation will learn the history the government wants them to know.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 1:47 PM

It's very interesting to see what the Palestinian perceive as peace/freedom as and what the Israelis vice versa. The education systems in both nation influence their beliefs on this idea of freedom. The Israelis see freedom as not having the constant fear of being harmed by their neighboring country. On the other hand, the Palestinian see freedom as claiming back their land and driving the Jews away from it. It is truly sad to know that there is a very little chance that peace will exist in this region.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 6:41 PM

this is an interesting example of how the teachings of a certain group can influence the perception of the world around you, especially when you are young.

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How Climate Change is Behind the Surge of Migrants to Europe

How Climate Change is Behind the Surge of Migrants to Europe | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Even as Europe wrestles over how to absorb the migrant tide, experts warn that the flood is likely to get worse as climate change becomes a driving factor." http://wp.me/P2dv5Z-1YS 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This article from TIME and this excellent comic book-styled article both come to the conclusion that "drought, in addition to its mismanagement by the Assad regime, contributed to the displacement of two million in Syria."  Climate change can exacerbate political, culture and ethnic tensions as well add stress to already stressed systems.  This is a part of a the broader Syrian refugee issue.   


Tags: drought, Syriamigration, political, refugees, climate change.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 2:24 PM

The surge of migrants to Europe has another major contribution other than the Syrian War. Climate change cause food and water shortage to the region of middle-east. The intense droughts and flood are killing their agriculture ultimately lead them to find a food source somewhere else. It's like adding stress to more stress and now you have a massive problem that is showing no sign of stopping.

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Why the Saudis Are Going Solar

Why the Saudis Are Going Solar | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia produces much of its electricity by burning oil, a practice that most countries abandoned long ago, reasoning that they could use coal and natural gas instead and save oil for transportation, an application for which there is no mainstream alternative. Most of Saudi Arabia’s power plants are colossally inefficient, as are its air conditioners, which consumed 70 percent of the kingdom’s electricity in 2013. Although the kingdom has just 30 million people, it is the world’s sixth-largest consumer of oil.Now, Saudi rulers say, things must change. Their motivation isn’t concern about global warming; the last thing they want is an end to the fossil-fuel era. Quite the contrary: they see investing in solar energy as a way to remain a global oil power. The Saudis burn about a quarter of the oil they produce—and their domestic consumption has been rising at an alarming 7 percent a year, nearly three times the rate of population growth.


TagsSaudi Arabiaenergy, resourcesconsumption, Middle East, sustainability.

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Dustin Fowler's curator insight, July 14, 2015 12:13 PM

A great article discussing energy reform in Saudi Arabia.  Another good source of information about some of the reforms being implemented in the kingdom can be found at this link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVgWtOeWNgg

 

Interesting to see how this change in energy consumption will effect Saudi politics and the economy. 

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 23, 2015 11:15 AM

Good for Saudi Arabia

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 2:29 PM

The irony here is palpable- if the Saudis overtake the US in terms of solar power, I think I'd lose hope for our future. The most infamous oil-state on the planet has recognized that its costly domestic consumption of its vast oil supplies is hurting its profits, and it would rather seek an alternative energy supply to fuel its own nation so that it can sell more oil to foreign investors. The logic here is actually very sound- Saudi Arabia knows that there is money to be made by cutting down their own oil consumption, and even if the world sees how successful they are in their own adoption of solar power as their main source of electricity, most of the West won't be willing to make the same transition when there's so much Saudi oil to buy. Everyone wins- except American consumers, of course. Oh, and the planet- the burning of fossil fuels is a serious problem our generation must tackle if we are to minimize the damages created by man-made global warming. In the short-term, nothing is set in stone, as we have no idea how successful the Saudis will be in their attempt to harvest solar power on such a large scale. However, the implications of this move is huge- I can only imagine what an influx of Saudi oil on the market would do for US gas prices. 

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Using Humor to Break Stereotypes

"A founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, standup comic Maz Jobrani riffs on the challenges and conflicts of being Iranian-American -- 'like, part of me thinks I should have a nuclear program; the other part thinks I can't be trusted ...'"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This comedian doesn't just get laughs; he uses stand-up as a platform for discussing important social issues and to foster greater cultural understanding.  His big goal is to break stereotypical perspectives of Muslims and Middle Easterners by showing that "there are good people everywhere."  Here is another of his entertaining and educational TED talks.  


Tags: Middle East, TEDglobalization, culture, Islam.

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Michael Amberg's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:49 PM

The video is an example as how anything can be used to help break stereotypes all you have to do is try.

Sharrock's curator insight, June 22, 2015 1:13 PM

A way to explore stereotypes and being American. Teachers can explore these issues to attack immigration, ethnicity, perspective, and more. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 22, 2015 7:49 AM

At its best, humor can break down old stereotypes and foster a greater degree of cultural understanding. That is exactly what Maz Jobrani is trying to accomplish with his humor. There are obvious stereotypes about Muslims that are often far too pervasive in our culture. The most common stereotype  is the lumping of all Muslims into one monolithic group.  All Muslims are not the same. Like Christianity, not all Muslims interpret their holy book in the same exact way. The large majority of Muslims are good people who respect American ideals. Hopefully, Jobranis humor can reach some people who may not understand those facts.

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Syrian Journey: Choose your own route

Syrian Journey: Choose your own route | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Put yourself in the shoes of a Syrian migrant and see whether you could make the right choices on the journey to Europe.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This BBC interactive tries to get the user to empathize with the plight and the geographic circumstances of Syrian refugees that are fleeing a land a strife.  The choices are not easy and there is no certain path.  This is an interesting interactive that is designed to build geographic empathy.


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

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Norka McAlister's curator insight, April 5, 2015 8:01 PM

Citizens of Syria have experienced difficult times since their country entered into a period of continual war in the past few decades. People migrate to Europe in demand of better life for their families. All begin with a plan and a &helper,&  called trafficker or coyote in Mexico, and money to cross few borders and be able to live life free from war. Although, with countries such as Egypt, Lybia, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece, with a massive migrations, tough economies, lack of jobs, nothing and no one is safe. However, Europe is very attractive in terms of quality life and safety to raise families. Furthermore, to be able to survive during this migration transition, many risks are involved and even in some cases, killings. Immigrants migrate by boat, truck, train, and sometimes even walking. Day or night immigrants keep moving and pay  high prices to be transported to the next point. It takes them weeks, months, and even years to reach thier final destinations. This is the same for those immigrants in Mexico and U.S. 

Claire Law's curator insight, April 25, 2015 8:41 PM

UK interactive resource to put students in the shoes of refugees fleeing conflict

zane alan berger's curator insight, May 26, 2015 4:42 PM

this is a virtual stimulator showing the struggle of a Syrian migrant, proving that one risky decision can be detrimental for these people. this can be related to the migration unit

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Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire

Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Animated GIF map chronicling the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire." 


Tagsempire, devolutionMiddle East, borders, historical, map.

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Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 5:47 AM

Many of the problems the Middle East faces today, are a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was aligned with Germany and Austria- Hungary to form the central powers. Following their defeat in the war, the empire collapsed in the ensuing chaos. The victorious allies divided up the ottoman territory amongst themselves. The Borders and nations they created, were poorly designed. They failed to take into account the wide divergences of ethnic groups in the Middle East. The artificial nations they constructed, were ripe for ethnic conflict.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 2:33 PM

The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire can be clearly seen at the beginning and the end. They had a massive territory expansion at 1300 and it bloomed from there. from then to 1900 then only had some minor changes with some changes in territory. At the end, in 1900s was the most significant change with the Empire collapsing with the Republic of Turkey being established in 1923.  

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 13, 2015 3:39 PM

A fascinating look into the shifting nature of borders through history. Unfortunately it also reflects many atrocities that also occurred in those years. Geographically the Empire wouldn't last given its difficult to defend borders. Additionally its extremely conservative Political and Cultural nature made it nearly impossible for it to adapt to changing times in technology. Which is ironic in a way because it was their innovation that sparked the Empire and the seizure of Constantinople to begin with. Also it should perhaps be mentioned that the current nation of Turkeys borders are an unnatural creation on the part of the Turks when they were aware their Empire would collapse. This unfortunately also means this map hides events such as the Armenian Genocide to try and purify Anatolia so that the Turks could claim it as its sole homeland while abandoning the rest of the Empire (so in effect they consolidated to try and keep as much land as possible).

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A bird's-eye view of war-torn Syria

A bird's-eye view of war-torn Syria | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A school that lays in ruins, hospitals and refugee camps under attack, and a city center with the size of Manhattan destroyed by shelling — these are some of the shocking details of a new United Nations report on the conflict in Syria, four years after in began.


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, political, remote sensing.

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Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 8:57 AM

Due to the current terror war in Syria, it has caused many people to flee to surrounding countries or countries where there is no terror and discrimination. This has caused them to be refugees or internally displaced persons.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 4:42 PM

The stupidity of this whole thing is the reparations and its cost. Its the injury and death tolls during the conflicts followed by the high cost to rebuild. One must ask is the war or conflicts worth it.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 7:20 PM

from the air the war looks like many historical photographs of bombings, and in this age of precision warfare it is somewhat disturbing that warfare can still look like this. this is a destruction of infrastructure on a scale unseen in the middle east since the Iran-Iraq war.

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Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques

Incredible images capture dazzling symmetry of Iran's mosques | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Self-taught Iranian photographer gains rare access to shoot religious buildings as they've never been seen.  It's a side of Iran the rest of the world doesn't normally get to see -- the kaleidoscopically brilliant interiors of the country's intricately designed mosques.With beautiful mosaics and stained glass framed by powerful architecture, the buildings are astounding."


Tagsreligion, culture, IslamIran, Middle East.

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Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:25 PM

Showing the sacred spaces of Islam and how they are designed around the world. 

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:47 PM

This was one of my favorite articles. We usually are very used to seeing negative sides to the Middle East and this gave it a different spin. This shows breathtaking pictures of the Mosques in Iran. This architecture isn't like anything I've seen with all of the symmetry and colors. These photos were taken by a student and were not easily taken. You have to have an eye to capture moments like this and pictures like this are not always appreciated. the detail that went into creating and designing these mosques are really special and I would love to actually see something like this in person. 

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:03 PM

Amazing photos of these mosques.  The detail and color in some of these mosques are extraordinary.  This kind of brilliance in color is something that is unexpected in this part of the world where everything seems to be so bland and alike in color or style.  Its surprising that the mosques don't let professional take pictures with certain equipment inside but let tourists take photos.  I would understand if the light from a camera could cause damage to the art, but these are the people who will be able to share these beautiful pictures with the rest of the world and show that there is more to Iran than what the outside may think.