Meagan's Geoography 400
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Complexity in Syria

Complexity in Syria | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
A color-coded map of the country's religious and ethnic groups helps explain why the fighting is so bad.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Syria is a complicated country as you can see from this map. The map shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of Syria, and many of the groups are swirled together. The brown areas represent the Kurds who have been long oppresed, there are also Druze and  Arab Christians, Armenians and others. Syria is run by the Alawites which is the greenish grey color they may only be 12% of the population but they are a massive part of the war. Many people believe that the war began for political reasons but spiraled into old divisons deeper and more vicious.  

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 2, 2014 6:19 PM

This map shows tha tthere are an overwhelimg amount of Arabs especially in centeral Syria. And then on the coast lline it is mostly mixed with pink representing the overwhlming other majority.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 2, 2014 8:11 PM

It appears from this article that Syria is a complicated country. The map shows the different ethnic and religious groups of Syria, along with other groups, all of which live within a small area. Syria, along with other countries within the Middle East have been faced with one serious issue or another. Many different people live within a very small area; those people practice different religions and are ethnically and culturally different. Unfortunately, being different in this part of the world may get you killed.   

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 1:25 PM

Maps such as this one are very valuable when trying to understand conflict.  In Syria and the greater Levant area, unbalanced power and representation in politics is the result of many different religious and ethnic groups living in such close proximity each other, allowing conflict to become very invasive.

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Anger Over Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt

Anger Over Film Fuels Anti-American Attacks in Libya and Egypt | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Protesters upset over an American-made video denouncing Islam attacked the United States Consulate in Libya, while Egyptian demonstrators stormed over the walls of the United States Embassy in Cairo.

 

The idea of anti-U.S. protests in the Middle East and Northa Africa on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 was initially quite shocking. As always, a greater understanding of the cultural context and timing helps explain (not necessarily justify) the situation. The video produced by "Sam Bacile" that has sparked the controversy is truly reprehensible and as cultural insensitive as it gets. Still, the protests, by blindly lashing out at the United States embassy, only exacerbate the cultural problems. 

UPDATE: This public gathering of Libyan's in Benghazi to apologize for the death of Chris Stevens is quite poignant.  

 

Questions to Ponder: How does one single YouTube video impact geopolitics?  Culturally speaking, what makes this such a powerfully charged issue?  Will this issue become fodder for the election? 

 

Tags: MiddleEast, political, culture, Islam, religion.


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Protestors were upset over an American made video denouncing Islam and attacked the United States Consulate in Libya and demonstrators stromed over walls of the United States Embassy in Cario. The video was insensitive and sparked anger throughout many. With the way the internet reaches and how social media works many more people in far reach areas are able to view these videos and create problems like this.

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Don Brown Jr's comment, September 18, 2012 6:33 PM

This video effects geopolitics in the region in a number of ways as the US may find itself bearing the brunt of the Islamic world reaction from this video since the producer was a American. The fact that Jewish donors provided funds for the film will likely further strain relations between Israel, the United States and the Islamic countries. Likewise in the upcoming 2012 election how both parties choose to address this while trying to appeal to “Christian” voters will add another layer of complexity to this issue.
This video is a clear example of just how interconnected the world we live in today really is and how a single actions can affect many others creating unforeseen consequences. Hopefully the lesson that can be learned from the “Innocence of Islam” U-Tube trailer is that people need to be more cultural sensitive when it comes to displaying public information that can be easy diffused around the world. The largely negative reaction from the global Muslim community has shown us that we cannot afford to be ignorant or cultural incentive to others in an increasing globalized and connected world. However another lesson that both the US, Libya, Egypt and the world at large should take note of is that nations should not become the focal point of acts of violence due to the actions of a few individual whether it is a terrorist or Sam Bacile. We in the West need to take into account that in the Muslim world there isn’t really a separation between church and state like there is in the here so religious matters affect every aspect of society. We should also take into mind that this was also the case in Europe not to many centuries ago, remember the Middle Ages and the inquisition.
Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 31, 2013 10:31 AM

On the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th in the United States, anti-U.S. protestors attacked Benghazi due to their anger toward an American-made YouTube video that denounced Islam.  It is amazing to see the impact that one single Internet creation can have.  It shows the power that particular media and social outlets such as YouTube and Facebook have.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 2:18 PM

I remember reading about this, and I had hoped at the time that tensions between the US and much of the Islamic world might have improved by now. However, that has sadly not been the case; violence in Iraq and Syria have continued to breed bad blood between the West and North Africa. The attack in Benghazi helped to give conservative groups the necessary ammunition to continue their attacks on Islam and certainly did not help public perception of the faith, breeding further hatred within our own country. Although many Libyans congregated to apologize for the violence, the region has not stabilized and anti-US sentiments are still rampant in pockets, much like they are throughout the region. The legacy of this attack has had serious ramifications for US-Muslim relations, and I can only hope that the situation does indeed change in the next 3 years, much like I had hoped they would within the previous 3.

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How did Pakistan get it's name?

How did Pakistan get it's name? | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

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

 

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


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

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

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 28, 2015 3:15 PM

Pakistan is simply abbreviated from it's nations or nations that border Pakistan. P stands for Punjab, A stands for Afghania, K stands for Kashmir, I stands for Iran, S stands for Singh, T stands for Tukharistan, A stands for Afghanistan. However, there is no "N." Instead we classified the last letter as Balochistan but because "stan" is the Persian pronunciation for "country." Pakistan decided to abbreviate "N" as a silent so they can successfully abbreviate "Pakistan" instead of "Pakista."

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, November 9, 2015 3:03 PM

Re-scooped from Professor Dixon, primarily for how ridiculous it is. Most of us figured there was some decent reason (like the neighboring 'Stan's) for why  and how Pakistan got its name. Nope, there really wasn't any good reason to name it Pakistan, it is an acronym. One that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 6:47 PM
Until reading this, I thought this was another country that had a "stan" name just like the rest. I never knew that Pakistan received it's makeshift name my a bunch Cambridge University students. It is composed of lands taken from homelands: Punjab, Afghania,, Kashmir, Iran , Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and balochistaN.
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In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports | Meagan's Geoography 400 | 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).

 

Tags: Saudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

For the first time ever Saudi Arabian girls in private schools will be allowed to play sports, this comes at a time when they are trying to increase womens rights. The girls must still follow the  rules of Shariah, they must dress decent, and women teachers will be given priority in supervising the sports. Female athelites are still banned from registering for sports clubs or league competitions.however.   

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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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Protests, Self-Immolation Signs Of A Desperate Tibet : NPR

Chinese authorities have tightened security around Tibet after a series of demonstrations by Tibetans demanding more religious and political freedoms.

 

How are China's renewed efforts to control Tibet and the Monks protests geopolitically intertwined?  How does this impact the region? 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

China has tightened their security around the Tibetan monestary and the monasteries seem to be emptying out. Monks have been setting themselves on fire in protest against Chinese repression. This is a sign of desperation from the monks.  

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James Hobson's curator insight, November 21, 2014 7:52 PM

(East Asia topic 5)

What I gather from this video is that China sees all political resistance as being specifically aimed at its own demise, but I believe this to be false. Rather, it seems in this sense that the country's judgment has gone blind in a power rage. Never will an entire country agree on everything (or even one thing for that matter). This resistance seems to stem from diversity and the desire to maintain it, and examining historical geography proves diversity to in fact be a desirable trait and major strength. Just as the famous 13-sectioned snake cartoon from the American colonies shows, success lies in diversity. "You can't have cities without farms to feed them." I mention phrases such as this because they show the yin-yang struggle for equality and balance for greater good, which  hopefully China (especially since it is an Oriental concept and symbol) will learn from and apply in its policies towards minority groups within its borders.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:47 PM

China's efforts to control an area that identifies itself as a separate entity from China has been met with some extreme examples of protests. Dozens have monks have committed suicide to protest China's forced control over Tibet. Although this is causing international support from the US and others it seems like China will not change its ways. Another thing to keep in mind is China's position in the UN. As a permanent member of the security council China has the right to veto an UN resolution that could address the issues in Tibet.