Geography Education
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Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State

Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Islamic State's capture of the Mosul dam gives it control over the water and electricity supply in northern Iraq."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There is a geography to insurgency.   This dam controls both the energy and water resources in the region, which gives the insurgents/rebels/terrorists greater local power.  On a related noted, this op-ed entitled, "How America Lost the Middle East" has plenty of foreign policy and geopolitical material worth discussing.  


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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 30, 2014 10:00 PM

This is interesting, ISIS is not only using brute force as a scare tactic, but are also taking hold of natural resources as well.  In taking over the dam ISIS has control of not only a majority of Iraq's water supply but their power supply as well.  They are also threatening employees with loss of pay to do what they want.  Closing off some parts of the dam is preventing water to get to people who are in need.  If the dam was to get backed up too much it could have immediate failure creating a devastating flood wiping out areas of agriculture having the potential for mass civilian casualties.  ISIS is not just taking over everything that they can, but have a method to what they are doing.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 27, 2015 8:14 PM

As the director of the Brookings Institution's Doha Centre in Qatar said, "There's a method in their madness. By gaining control of the area ISIS can flood and destroy homes within the region. Furthermore, they can disrupt the flow of electricity and how the land is irrigated. All of this could cause a great deal of damage to the society. In this light the dam is a pretty important part of Iraq. The fact that ISIS Manipulated he land to their benefit it highly intelligent.  


However, if the dam was in the hand of the United States, the area still isn't completely safe. people would perceive it to be because ISIS would no longer be threatening to use it as an immediate weapon. However, the author noticed that the dam needs constant maintenance and is built on unstable soil. Both of which can cause flooding. In fact, the "worst case scenario" would cause far more damage than ISIS has with the dam. 


Clearly, purposefully using the resources of an area to damage a population is more chilling the a poorly made structure because malice involved. However even in the hands of the United States, the dam shows just how dangerous manipulating nature can be on a local population. 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 5:21 PM

This will have an enormous impact on drought for drinking, agriculture purposes or even the opposite.  This strategy could be used to flood the lands ruining agriculture.

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Challenges in Defining an Israeli-Palestinian Border

Challenges in Defining an Israeli-Palestinian Border | Geography Education | Scoop.it
There are major hurdles in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestine.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks in Washington in July for the first time in three years. While the talks are initially expected to focus on procedural issues, they are already beginning to take on a last-ditch quality. Explore some of the contentious issues that negotiators have faced in drawing borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This five-part video report from the New York Times is from 2011, but still has some pertinent information, even if the situation has changed in some of the particulars.  These videos brings important voices from a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; together they all  show how a complex cultural and political geography leads to many of the difficulties in creating a long-lasting peace.  The discipline of geography doesn't simple study the peace process--it is a part of it.  The creation of borders and the cartographic process play a critical role in solving territorial issues.  Geography can be both the problem and the solution. 


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

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Mr. David Burton's curator insight, July 17, 2014 10:49 PM

Thoughts from my friend Seth...

 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This five-part video report from the New York Times is from 2011, but still has some pertinent information, even if the situation has changed in some of the particulars.  These videos brings important voices from a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; together they all  show how a complex cultural and political geography leads to many of the difficulties in creating a long-lasting peace.  The discipline of geography doesn't simple study the peace process--it is a part of it.  The creation of borders and the cartographic process play a critical role in solving territorial issues.  Geography can be both the problem and the solution.

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:00 PM

APHG-U4

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 1:37 PM

This video explains why defined borders are an important part of any potential solution for the conflict, and why it is such a complex issue. While agreeing on a border that benefits both seems like it should be an easy task, the realities on the ground and actions from both sides make it anything but easy. 

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The tragedy of the Arabs

The tragedy of the Arabs | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A THOUSAND years ago, the great cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo took turns to race ahead of the Western world. Islam and innovation were twins. The various Arab caliphates were dynamic superpowers—beacons of learning, tolerance and trade. Yet today the Arabs are in a wretched state. Even as Asia, Latin America and Africa advance, the Middle East is held back by despotism and convulsed by war.  

Pluralism, education, open markets: these were once Arab values and they could be so again. Today, as Sunnis and Shias tear out each others’ throats in Iraq and Syria and a former general settles onto his new throne in Egypt, they are tragically distant prospects. But for a people for whom so much has gone so wrong, such values still make up a vision of a better future."

Seth Dixon's insight:

While the title of the article is more inflammatory than I would prefer, the analysis in this article from the Economist does a good job linking the cultural, economic and political struggles in the Middle East.


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

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Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:46 AM

For Arabs to advance, need people to work together. However, unfortunately, there are a  lot of different ideals with religions, politics, and different points of views. They need to stop the war, but that is not simple. 

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 1:47 PM

The introduction of the article does bring up an interesting historical concept, at one point in time the Arab world absolutely eclipsed the Western World.  While the west lingered after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Arab world had universities, great thinkers, was pioneering medicine, and had a tolerant culture.  What happened is the Middle East stagnated (in my opinion after the various Crusades the Westerners fought).  Today, the Middle East is one of the most dangerous places on the planet to live.  One may ask what happened?  The answer is plain, various military dictators, as referenced to in the article angered the people who began to hate them.  Sadly, many of the dictators were backed by the Western Powers, mainly the United States and its allies.  The Middle East will not be fixed over night, and the region may not be able to have democracy like we Americans have.  Not every region in the world practices American Federal Democracy, and for good reason, it cannot fit every country's need.  Eventually, the Middle East, I am hoping will rebound but hearts and minds need to be won.  Perhaps, one day the Middle East will rebound like Vietnam did after decades of war.  I am hopeful that one day the Middle East will begin competing with the west and have a system of freedom that works for the area.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 2015 6:34 PM

This article about the Arabs is very knowledgeable and forthcoming. The author details what was once the greatness of the Arab world, how they have lost their way, and what they can do to get it back. When Arabs ruled the world through trade they were accommodating to all religions and women had freedoms they do not currently enjoy. Now Shia's and Sunni's have a genuine dislike for each other and this sectarian violence shows no signs of abating. Religious freedom is not only a thing of the past, but is usually met by penalties up to and including death if you don't practice the correct form. What company wants to come the region to build their business? A culture that keeps its women in a constant state of repression is indeed troubled.

So much has to happen for the Arabs to be prosperous; how about allowing religious freedom, how about treating women equally? Until these two things happen the Arabs will be forever tagged with the word potential....

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The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split

The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The division between Islam's Shiite minority and the Sunni majority is deepening across the Middle East. The split occurred soon after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, nearly 1,400 years ago.
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. 


Tags: MiddleEast, Islamreligionhistorical, culturepodcast.

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Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:57 PM

having been to this part of the world and encountered obviously countless muslims and talking to several. i learned and witnessed first hand the hate that these people have for eachother, they are on such opposite sides of this religion and it is perplexing because it is the same religion and the debate is over such minor details of it (but judeism christianity and islam are all pretty much the same with minor differences arnt they?)

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 3:36 PM
This article explains the difference between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The separation of the two has been crucial and adds to many of the conflicts throughout the Muslim world. The author explains that the Shiites are the minority in this group and make up about 15% of the population. After the death of Muhammad, the Shiites believed his son in law was the rightful successor while the Sunnis believed there should’ve been an elected successor. He also explains that this split the two groups and it was supposedly a violent one even though the two groups have been known to coexist.
Christina Caruso's curator insight, March 31, 5:16 PM
The Origins of The Shiite-Sunni Split.  Islam's Shiite minority and the Sunni majority its deepening across the Middle East. This split occurred soon after the death of Prophet Muhammad, nearly 1,400 years ago.  This is about religion and culture.  
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The Beginning of a Caliphate: The Spread of ISIS

The Beginning of a Caliphate: The Spread of ISIS | Geography Education | Scoop.it
With Tuesday's seizure of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria notched a major victory in its campaign to create a new country containing parts of what had part of both Syria and Iraq. On Wednesday, the insurgents continued their march south, taking control of Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein.


The story of ISIS's spread -- and its influence -- is one that begins in Syria, where the group has been waging a brutal insurgency against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and, increasingly, other more moderate and secular rebel groups. The map above depicts the areas of Syria under its control. The group's influence is bounded by the Free Syrian Army in the west, the Kurds in the north, and pockets of government influence.  Who is the ISIS/ISIL?


Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:06 PM

ISIS has demonstrated how geographies are ever changing and how disputes over borders are constantly occurring. ISIS is looking to reshape the political geography of the land from the Mediterranean to Iran's Zagros mountains into a caliphate. The movement of ISIS has been influenced by geography. The group is contained to transportation corridors because reaching into the countryside is difficult. Furthermore, the physical geography of Iraq and Syria has made ISIS an extremely powerful force. They have taken control of many of Iraq and Syria's oil fields. ISIS has also shifted population geographies causing mass displacement as they advance. In Syria 2.8 million people have fled, 200,000 have come to Iraq. ISIS is causing major shifts in the political, demographic, and economic geographies of Iraq and Syria.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:25 PM

ISIS has shown both in the past and more recently that it is far from a group of disorganized rebels and in reality is a competent and dangerous organization. Recent land grabs show that ISIS not only seeks to gain land mass but an economic base. This map shows the the strategic land ownership corresponds with oil fields throughout the area. ISIS' leadership is competent enough to know that in order to run a large Caliphate and support it's troops a viable source of income is needed.

 

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:29 PM

With the help of maps one can see how much of an impact ISIS has had on Syria and Iraq.  We can see where ISIS has taken over, where they have attacked and what areas they have their people around.  This gives people an idea of where they have been and where they may be going.  Another map shows what cities have been overtaken by ISIS.  This gives exact points where ISIS has terrorized the people to gain control.  Another map shows just Syria and the control that ISIS has in that country.  The fourth map is important to a larger portion of the world.  It has Iraq and the where ISIS has taken over and where the area of control is in reference to where oil fields are.  The last map refers to the people in Syria and where they have taken refuge to stay safe from ISIS.

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Qatar government admits almost 1,000 fatalities among migrant workers

Qatar government admits almost 1,000 fatalities among migrant workers | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Report details deaths of 964 workers from Nepal, India and Bangladesh from cardiac arrests, falls and suicide
Seth Dixon's insight:

Qatar's population pyramid has a very distinct shape that you will only find in places with high migrant worker populations.  This type of demographic influx is now common in oil-rich gulf states as the forces of globalization draw in pools of labor so countries like Qatar can now 'import' the low-wage workers needed to keep their economy rolling.  The economic, cultural and political power imbalance  between the classes leads to many migrant workers being exploited, leading to the social problems listed in this article.     


Tags: Middle East, Qatar, globalization, migration, economic, labor.

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Whitney Souery's curator insight, May 28, 2014 7:05 PM

Migrant workers often represent the minority group in a particular country, such as Qatar (in this example). As such, migrant workers often have little rights or worker securities that most often accompany other workers and protect their rights; however, with the current immigrant explosion in Qatar as a result of the booming oil industry, it is easy for these migrant workers to be exploited and unaccounted for. 

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 1:48 PM

While places like Qatar enjoy huge economic growth and are undertaking equally huge developments, worker exploitation has also risen. Of the nearly 1000 migrant worker deaths over a two year period, the fact that most of them were from either "sudden illnesses", falls, or suicide suggests that working conditions are abysmal. The article also outlines how the entire structure of recruiting and employing migrant workers has allowed these deaths to occur.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 2:02 PM

The death of migrant workers in Qatar has been an issue for the past decade, and the decision to appoint the nation as the host for the 2022 World Cup has only served to exacerbate the problem even more. The construction of new stadiums to host the event within the tiny nation has put an enormous burden on its migrant workers as these huge projects are underway. It is estimated that anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand workers have died in construction projects specifically related to the World Cup, and yet FIFA has continued to turn a blind eye to the project. This implied condoning of the treatment of these foreign workers in Qatar is unacceptable, and the nation should be stripped of its right to hose the World Cup. Even without the fatalities, foreign workers living in Qatar face serious discrimination at the hands of the natives, who view this impoverished (and effectively imprisoned) population as second class citizens. Such behavior should not be condoned, and it would be prudent for both FIFA and the West to intervene and either prevent said treatment of foreign workers, or to kick Qatar out of the tournament. 

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World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think | Geography Education | Scoop.it
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, or 23% of the world's population, making Islam the second-largest religion.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Did you think that most of the world's Muslim population lived in the Middle East and North Africa?  If so you are not alone, but the Middle East and North Africa account for only 19.8% of the global Muslim population.  In fact there are more Muslims in India and Pakistan than the Middle East and North Africa.   


Tags: Islam, perspective, religion, culture, Middle East.

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Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 3:55 PM

Showing the distribution of Islam around the world. Outside of the middle east, Indonesia has the most Muslims. This religion is one of the fastest growing in the world. 

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 4:46 PM

This article was good to look at because the majority of people assume Muslims are only in the Middle East. There are 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. Two-thirds of the Muslim population live in the Asia-Pacific region than in the middle east. More Muslims actually live in India and Pakistan. Muslims make up the majority of the population in 49 countries around the world. Islam has become the world's second largest religious tradition after Christianity. I would love to know some reasons behind why certain Muslims live in other areas. 

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 4:33 PM

This interesting map/infographic shows where Muslims are concentrated around the world. What I found most interesting and a little bit counterintuitive was that the highest number of Muslims is found in the Asia- Pacific region rather than in Northern Africa or the Middle East. When you consider how large Indonesia's population is, however, and the fact that more than three-quarters of it identify as Muslim, it makes a bit more sense. What is really staggering is the fact that there are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making nearly a quarter of the global population Muslim. 

 

What this map shows is the ability of religion to transcend political, economic, and cultural borders. Though Islam is a religion with its origins in the Middle East, it has grown and spread across the world to now have adherents on every continent. Of course, Islam is not the only major religion to have accomplished this feat, but it is particularly important to keep in mind considering the fear and criticism with which Islam has been met in recent years. People tend to think of Muslims as uniformly extremist advocates of violence who wage holy wars no matter the cost. This is, of course, untrue and characterizes the kind of dangerous stereotyping that occurs in regards to many different religions. While this map seeks to show numbers and percentages, it also shows that there are many, many more Muslims in the world than the extremists highlighted in the news and that Islam is not defined by these radicals. 

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Rare snow storm hits Middle East

Rare snow storm hits Middle East | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A rare snow storm hit the Middle East last week, producing record snows and extreme conditions for Syrian refugees.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Jerusalem recorded 15-20 inched of snow, while Cairo received it's first snow in 112 years.  Just because something is rare or unlikely doesn't mean that it can't happen.  See this snowstorm as documented by satellite imagery.     

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:16 PM

I live in New England, so there isn't much to say about an oddball snowstorm. Yes, its weird that it happened randomly in Syria but the fact is that mother nature can surprise us more often than not.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 12:22 PM

Many people here in the United States have this mental image of the Middle East being a massive desert with little precipitation and incredibly hot temperatures. The Middle East actually contains diverse landscapes and to an extent, some differing climates, and while snow is incredibly rare in some parts, it is not unheard of. In this instance, the weather anomaly affected numerous Syrian refugees who were unprepared for such an event. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 2:53 PM

Those who resist climate change can only blatantly ignore the facts for so long. "It snowed?! So what?! Doesn't that prove global warming isn't real?!" No. Climate change is irrefutable, evidenced by thousands of bits of data collected across the globe, and irregular weather patterns have plagued vast areas the past decade. Snow in the Middle East? 12-20 inches in Jerusalem? That is extremely alarming- the picture of the camel resting in a field as snow continued to fall around him highlights how ludicrous and odd these weather patterns really are, and yet people continue to deny the severity of the issue, or even the existence of an issue concerning the world's climate. I understand that significant amounts of money are invested in maintaining the status quo and continuing to utilize fossil fuels, but we cannot all breathe money; we need the planet for us to live. Serious efforts must be made by all nations to push through the necessary reforms to stop us from making the problem any worse. I would not be surprised to hear of yet more odd weather patterns in the upcoming winter, and I will not be surprised to still see people ignoring the problem. I hope I'm wrong, though.

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Debating the U.S. Response to Syria

Debating the U.S. Response to Syria | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Students will:

  • Analyze the issues that frame the current debate on U.S. policy towards Syria.
  • Consider the role of the U.S. public, the president, and Congress in the decision of whether to use military force.
  • Work cooperatively within groups to integrate the arguments and beliefs of the options into a persuasive, coherent presentation.
  • Explore, debate, and evaluate multiple perspectives on U.S. policy towards Syria through a role-play activity.
Seth Dixon's insight:

You want resources for teaching the most important geopolitical issue right now?  This set of resources from the Choices Program is just what you are looking for. 


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, political.

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Iran's 'Jerusalem Day': Behind the rallies and rhetoric

Iran's 'Jerusalem Day': Behind the rallies and rhetoric | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Iran's annual al-Quds - or Jerusalem - Day, denouncing Israel, is as much an expression of policy as ritual, writes BBC Persian's Siavash Ardalan.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Iranian government officially holds a 'Jerusalem Day' every year to spout anti-Israeli rhetoric.  I want that to be the dropback for this TED talk where Israelis and Iranians share pictures of tolerance, respect and love for each other on social media.   


Questions to Ponder: How can your country of origin shape your cultural perspective on other societies and reaffirm a national identity?  In what ways can individuals resist and subvert the official state-sanctioned narrative?  How is social media changing grass roots geopolitics?


Tags: Iran, Israelsocial media, political, Middle East.

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 4, 2014 8:39 PM

The people of Iran gather to celebrate Jerusalem Day. Each year millions of people come together to express their hatred towards Israel and support towards Palestinians. They rally and some people including politicians give speeches. Speeches by President Ahmadinejad even included the denial of the holocaust.  

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:19 PM

This day is pro-Palestinian and is a must-go-to event for politicians. Any politician that wants to be heard or even listened to in the future must make their way to this parade of protests and Iranian rituals.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 8:07 PM

considering that this is an annual holiday, and considering that there are the television shows that depict the Jews as bent on world domination and as using the blood of christian children to cook bread during Passover, i don't think we should potentially giving them nukes.

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Using Humor to Learn

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani takes to the TEDxSummit stage in Doha, Qatar to take on serious issues in the Middle East -- like how many kisses to give when saying “Hi,” and what not to say on an American airplane.
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 show 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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Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:56 PM

This video was great to watch. I watched this in class and had to write about it. Humor is a great way to shed light on certain topics that can be really heavy. This comedian is middle eastern himself which makes it better for him to talk about these topics. Many individuals don't know the lighter side to middle eastern people just because all they see is negative aspects of the culture. I enjoyed that he could talk about serious topics and have a room full of people not only laughing at it but being educated at the same time. People don't feel like they're being strictly taught because they're watching a comedian give a show. Being middle eastern myself, i found this video great because raising awareness and allowing more insight about the middle east is a powerful thing when it has always has a negative context. 

Jacob Conklin's curator insight, May 6, 2015 4:42 PM

"I never knew these people laughed." This is perhaps one of the most sad things that could be said. It dehumanizes the middle east in a very cruel way. It implies that people in the middle east do not have any sense of humor and are always serious about everything. Like the United States, there are times to be serious, but there are also times to laugh. The media and even the film industry in the US portrays the middle east as Sodom and Gomorra and the people from the area as misogynistic religious fanatics. It is truly sad that we live in a world where prejudices trump openness and acceptance.      

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

its interesting because this video make the middle east seem more european with the differences in culture. people tend to clump these countries together but they are very different and should be seen that way

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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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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Geography Education | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Titles like the one for this article, 40 maps that explain the Middle East, are becoming increasingly common for internet articles.  They helps us feel that we can explain all of the world's complexities and make sense of highly dynamic situations.  While we can all agree that maps are great analytical tools that can be very persuasive, sometimes we can pretend that they are the end all, be all for any situation.  Maps can also be used to show how something that we thought was simple can be much complex and nuanced than we had previously imagined, as demonstrated by this article, 15 Maps that Don't Explain the Middle East at All.  Both perspectives have their place (and both articles are quite insightful). Not connected to the Middle East, but East Asia, this article entitled Lies, Damned Lies and Maps continues the discussion of maps, truth and perception. 

 

Tags: MiddleEast, conflict, political, borders, colonialism, devolution, historical, mapping.

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Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 15, 2015 8:47 PM

It is interesting to see the same trends over and over again.  These maps are a great tool to show the history of the area, as well as the history of religion and political views.  I appreciate the information provided since the Middle East has undergone the most transitions (going all the way back to Mesopotamia) and its history can be confusing. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 7, 2015 5:18 PM

These 40 maps are a very interesting way of showing how people have traveled around and moved about the Earth from the time of the fertile crescent era to the people of today. It shows us the paths that people have taken to move to a new location. How they used the Meditteranean Sea to move from one side to the other. It also shows how the Tigris and Euphrates came together to form a smaller area of the Persian gulf. This led to smalled economic growth because now there is less land for imports and exports.

Christina Caruso's curator insight, March 31, 4:54 PM
This talks about 40 maps that explain the Middle East.  These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history and the present and some of the most important stories there are today about the middle East. 
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Gendered Cultural Narratives

Gendered Cultural Narratives | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"As a Muslim woman who chooses to wear hijab,I'd like to apologize for this poster, to my non-hijab wearing cohorts. http://pic.twitter.com/IoLfDPEGx7

Seth Dixon's insight:

The hijab is an incredibly complex cultural artifact full of social meanings all over the political spectrum.  This poster shows some of the social pressures exerted on women in Iran to wear the hijab.  This poster comes from Iran where the government is using this platform to encourage traditional values and gendered norms using a chocolate bar/candy analogy.  This poster struck a nerve on social media throughout the Middle East in part because blends some modern cultural diffusion elements with some older folk traditions.  Many hijab-wearing women don't want other women to be shamed into conforming, and many women wear it the hijab in public, but privately subvert the cultural norms on social media.  What stereotypes and perspectives are embodied in this poster?  Why do you think this poster was seen as inflammatory or culturally insensitive by many?  This image would be a great discussion starter for cultural  patterns and process as well as the geography of the Middle East. 


TagsIran, gender, MiddleEast, Islamreligion, culture, social media.

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Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 4:37 PM

Im sure this poster was highly offensive to many people in the middle east, both male and female.  There is a lot of meaning in each picture, but the basic point seems to be that the image on the right is the way that a lady is supposed to dress, the way that is more appropriate.  Conservative with the candy wrapped, it shows that a woman should dress and act a certain way, while the other image has a girl, who appears to be naked with her hair blowing around, who looks like she has no values, or respect for her religion.

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 4:39 PM
This particular photo is quite interesting. On the right side of the photo, a woman wearing a hijab isis painted in green, a color that symbolizes life and peace in the Middle Eastern region. Under the woman is a piece of uneaten, clean candy and she is surrounded by beautiful butterflies. On the left is a woman who chooses not to wear a hijab. The color red could symbolize something evil, while the candy bar under her is half eaten and crawling with pests. The use of colors and imagery suggest that a woman who does not dress modestly is vermin, rather than a clean, wholesome women. It also represents how women are expected to be in this society. 
Christina Caruso's curator insight, March 31, 5:47 PM
These two pictures have many different meanings. The two most important are that the picture on the left is a woman not wearing the hijab and the picture on the  right is a women wearing a hijab.  This is Gendered Cultural Narratives. We talked about this in class in a group to say our views on the two pictures. 
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Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state?

Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
As the likelihood of an independent Kurdish state on Turkey’s eastern border grows, Ankara is losing its historical resistance to the idea.


Developments in Iraq have left Turkey facing the prospect of an independent Kurdish state on its eastern border. Such an idea would have been abhorrent for Turkey a mere decade ago for fear that its existence would incite separation among its own restive Kurds. The standard Turkish narrative at the time was that an independent Kurdistan was a Western project aimed at destroying Turkey, an age-old ambition. Even the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was viewed in this context by many. The picture is no longer so black and white.

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MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:44 PM

APHG-U4

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 1:56 PM

The Kurdish people have longed for their own, independent nation for centuries, and it seems like the recent fission of Iraq has opened the door for their dream to become a reality. Although Turkey has long since been opposed to the existence of an ethnic Kurdish state (the result of its own sizable Kurdish minority), the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the subsequent military successes of the Kurds against militant Islamic groups have raised an important question: why don't they deserve their own nation? The Kurds have shown their dedication to the cause in combat, not shying away from the bloodshed that has gripped the region in the name of independence. Although the fracturing of the Iraqi state falls firmly against all official US and Turkey positions on the matter, the reality of the situation is far more complicated, and the supposed benefits of keeping Iraq together are seeming less and less worth the fighting. The Kurds have proven themselves capable of organizing, and they could perhaps add a new dimension of stability to the region.

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Iraq's Current Devolution

"A radical fringe Islamic group names ISIS is fighting to establish a extremist Islamic state in Iraq and Syria...and beyond. They control eastern Syria, western Iraq, just took control of Iraq's 2nd largest city of Mosul and are advancing on the capital Baghdad.  In this podcast, the professor John Boyer outlines just a few of the contributing factors to why this significant event is taking place, the geographic/historic background of the state, and the consequences for the future of the region."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you haven't yet discovered John Boyer, a.k.a. the Plaid Avenger,  I recommend exploring his site.  He has numerous resources for world regional geography and current global affairs.  His colorful persona is highly entertaining for college age-students as his class attracts over 3,000 students each semester (you can decide for yourself whether that personality works for you and your classroom).  This particular 'plaidcast' discussion focuses on Iraq's current devolution and possible total collapse. 


Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsborders, colonialism, devolution.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, June 23, 2014 12:27 PM

unit 4

Michael Mazo's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:04 PM

Iraq's position in regards to the militant groups has steadily affected the countries global and economic status in more ways than one. As these militant groups such as ISIS continue to grow then so will their territory and intensity of self-less acts. Not only are these groups a disease to the world but they affect the way our global economy works. ISIS controls oil fields and vast amounts of land in Iraq, Syria and other middle-eastern countries. In my opinion, America's decision to fire airstrikes onto these militant groups could be both good and bad. Good because it will decrease the amount of ISIS members but bad because it could be an incentive for ISIS to cause further damage and chaos in reference to revenge. At this pace, ISIS and other such groups will gain claimed territory in which will come at the cost of innocent lives of women and children. They must be stopped before issues get worse.

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Conversation: Al Assad Consolidates Power in Syria

Conversation: Al Assad Consolidates Power in Syria | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Stratfor Founder and Chairman George Friedman and Chief Geopolitical Analyst Robert D. Kaplan discuss how Bashar al Assad has legitimized his authority over the course of the Syrian conflict.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Stratfor specializes in global intelligence in key geopolitical regions.  Syria certainly fits that description and in this video, the two most public faces of Stratfor discuss the reasons for the Syrian Civil War from and internal perspective and also impacts from a broader outside lens. 


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, political, geopolitics.

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Global Oil Reserves

Global Oil Reserves | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Who has the oil? http://pic.twitter.com/7Njc7OD8rw

Seth Dixon's insight:

Natural resources are not evenly distributed...this distribution pattern impacts global economics, industrialization, development and politics tremendously.  


Tags: industry, economic, energy, resources.

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Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks's curator insight, April 1, 2016 7:35 PM

Natural resources are not evenly distributed...this distribution pattern impacts global economics, industrialization, development and politics tremendously.  


Tags: industry, economic, energy, resources.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 8:17 AM

Natural resources are not evenly distributed...this distribution pattern impacts global economics, industrialization, development and politics tremendously.  


Tags: industry, economic, energy, resources.

Christina Caruso's curator insight, March 31, 5:31 PM
This map shows countries in he Middle East that where has the most oil and where has the least oil. It looks like Saudi Arabia has the most oi. Its hard to tell.  
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Muslims around the world celebrate the birth of Mohammed

Muslims around the world celebrate the birth of Mohammed | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Muslims around the world celebrate the birth of the Islamic Prophet Muhammed, who was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 570 AD. His birthday is marked in way ways is different Muslim countries."  

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a great photo gallery, but I wanted to make a special note of this image.  The caption for this picture says, "Egyptians watch as Muslims march on the street to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammed in Cairo, Jan 13, 2014."  Is this a representative group of Egyptians?  What demographic group would we expect to see in the second story balcony?  What does the architecture tell us about the cultural norms of the society?

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 26, 2014 2:50 PM

Muslims rejoice, celebrate and honor Mohammed around the world on his birthday. These photos not only represent the celebrations of Mohammed but mark his lasting legacy and influence as an Islamic Prophet.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 5, 2014 2:53 PM

It is nice to see a depiction of the celebrations and happiness of Muslims instead of just violence by radicals. Muslims are frequently misrepresented by the heavy news coverage of the tiny amount of evildoers. It would be like depicting all of the US as Klan members.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 4, 2014 1:52 PM

Women and Men in some Islamic countries live entirely different lives in regards to their geographic spheres. The women dominate the private sphere, they are sheltered from the public sphere. Their architecture reflects that fact. Windows and balconies are constructed so people can see out but not see in from the street. Homes are built so the houses across from one another are not lined up with the front doors directly across from one another. Streets are winding and made so the homes are extremely private. This reflects society in regards to how people view gender. Females are kept out of the public sphere and when they do venture out into the streets, they are encouraged to have a male escorting them. This image above shows the balcony as a barrier keeping females "protected" from the public sphere.

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Mount Moriah: The most contested real estate on Earth?

Mount Moriah: The most contested real estate on Earth? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jews and Christians call it the Temple Mount." 


What happens when various religious groups claim the same territory as their own?

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Mrs. B's curator insight, February 10, 2014 9:08 AM

#Jerusalem

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 14, 2014 11:35 AM

This article and picture points out just how hard it is to “solve” the problems in Israel.  The constant overlapping of buildings on holy sites complicates the issues more than anything political ever could.  Belief is one of the biggest driving forces for conflict in the world and this illustration reminds us of that.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 4, 2014 1:54 PM

In some of the oldest civilizations on earth, religion is the most important aspect of life. There will always be extreme conflicts in these ancient areas all over religion.

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Complexity in Syria

Complexity in Syria | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A color-coded map of the country's religious and ethnic groups helps explain why the fighting is so bad.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This map of the various ethnic and religious groups in being shown on major media outlets as some Western countries (including the United States) are considering military action in Syria.  This and other maps like it powerfully conveys while many may conceptualize Syrians as a single monolithic group, that idea is a fiction that was created in the absence of geographic content to fill the void. 


Additionally this diagram has also been circulating lately for the same reasons; this flow chart lays out the Middle East's political rivalries and alliances.  "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is a well-quoted proverb to simplify Middle Eastern political alliances and rivalries.  Seeing this web, you can only imagine that living by that dictum can certainly lead to complicated geopolitical conflicts among countries and culture groups.


Tags: SyriaMiddleEast, conflict, political, ethnicity, religion.

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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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Interactives: War and Refugees

Interactives: War and Refugees | Geography Education | Scoop.it

UNHCR has been attempting to count the world's refugees since it was created. If you want to find out which years resulted in the worst displacement, which were the biggest countries of origin and which were the biggest countries of asylum, use the interactive map.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This interactive on refugees is especially timely, given that the Syrian civil war has created refugee situations in many of the neighboring countries.  One of my favorite elements of the Guardian's interactive is that they provide the raw data, so students can create their own maps with the same high quality data.  Equally important, this interactive shows the regional power bases of all the various factions of the Syrian rebellion that is seeking to overthrow the Assad regime.  The political conflict has huge demographic implications.    

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

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Emilie Kochert's curator insight, September 8, 2013 4:25 AM

via gduboz

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, October 6, 2014 12:16 PM

unit 2

Emma Conde's curator insight, May 26, 2015 10:16 PM

Unit 2: Population and Migration

 

This article features an interactive map that displays the numbers of IDPs (internally displaced persons) made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. You are able to look through the years and see the varying amounts of IDPs, as well as the countries that produced the most of them and which continue to.

 

This goes along with the human geography theme of refugees and IDPs, and this is a very helpful article in providing a simple way to see an overview of where and to what extent this most occurs. 

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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.