Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekly Report 9

This is by far one of my favourite weekly reports to write and this is because of my 20 years on earth I did not know that half of the people I listen to and watch on TV are of Arab descent.

To my surprise I found out that Vine Vaughn and Shakira both had Lebanese descent. Today I will only be writing about Shakira :).

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born on February 2, 1977 in Colombia. Shakira's paternal grandparents migrated from Lebanon to New York City. Shakira's father was born in the USA and when he was around the age of 5, his family moved to Colombia. The word "Shakira", is actually an Arabic feminine version of "Shakir" which means "grateful". When Shakira was four years old, her father took her to a local Middle Eastern restaurant where she first heard the doumbek (a traditional Arab drum) played for the first time. Little Shakira started dancing on the table after hearing the drum play, from that moment she realized her love to perform. 

You can see how Shakira embraces her Arab side in her music video when she dances.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekly Report 8

For this weeks weekly report, I decided to write about how novelist Alaa Al Aswany contributed to the revolution in Egypt.
 In the article I read about how Aswany studied the previous revolution of Egypt around 1919; he notes how the revolution was unexpected and took the world by storm. People called Aswany 'optimistic', because in interviews he would talk about how another revolution was brewing up."I was always optimistic, I was accused of being too optimistic by some friends. I believed that at some point there would be a revolution in Egypt."- Aswany

The Egyptian people were tired of living in poverty and it became to a point that they could no longer stand it and therefore revolted. In the article, I like how he notes that the Egyptians did not need countries like the US to help aid them through the revolution.

One deep lesson of what happened in Egypt is that we don’t need an American invasion to get rid of a dictator. We can do it ourselves without all the casualties or occupying another country. And we did that in eighteen days. This is the end of an era of the post-independence dictatorships, which were the model for the region. It’s a matter of time for the other dictators. I could give an exception for the Gulf countries because they have enough money to make their people satisfied or to delay the revolution.
The fact that Aswany is so analytical to the extent that he see's how the Gulf countries will continue to have monarchs because of the amount of money they pump out to their citizens (makes them satisfied with life). However, this trend will soon end, because there's a new wave in the Arab world. People want democracies.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Reflection 6

Today we got an amazing opportunity to hear Dr.Leahy talk about the international communities relationship with the Israel and Palestine conflict. She talked about how after Hamas won the elections in Palestine, not only did the UN stop funding them, but so did the US, Russia etc. The US says it will support Israel no matter the conditions. We all came to a conclusion that the US will ignore all the international law that Israel breaks, because they are our ally. I completely agree with all the statements that were made in her lecture. Given the history, Israel gets away with a lot of crime it commits because it knows it has one of the most powerful nations behind its back. We also learned about how the big 5 nations in the UN affect the whole function of the organization. This makes it useless when it comes to the mistreatment of the people of Palestine. 

I find it also unfair how the US spends tax dollars on Israel each year. The US gives Israel approximately 3.2 billion. Mind you Israel is not a third world country, we need to stop spending money on Israel and actually help countries that are in dire need of money and resources. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

US-Arab Relations

The problem in Syria and also Isis is no longer a problem for the Middle Eastern countries, but it affects people on a global spectrum. Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with president Barack Obama last week and Isis, PYD and PKK were subjects of their conversation. The US and Turkey see eye to eye when it comes to the groups I mentioned above. According to reports the PYD and PKK are working together.

The facts on the ground support Turkey's claims: In Nusaybin, where the Turkish security forces have been cracking down on PKK networks, the terrorists have been receiving support from al Qamishli - a PYD-controlled town across the border. Meanwhile, PKK militants have been targeting security forces with IEDs - a skill that the PYD learned f from DAESH. To make matters worse, the authorities discovered that at least two PKK- affiliated suicide bombers, who blew themselves up in Ankara, had previously received training among the PYD ranks.

They had been a little friction between the US and Turkey foreign policy. The US supported PYD because they believed it was their ally fighting against Daesh. However, it turns out that PYD was fighting with other intentions (to get their own land) and the Turkish government was upset that Washington did not label PYD as a terrorist organization.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ref #5

So recently in the Arab world we have been talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it is a really touchy subject that we need to quickly find a solution to. The lecture by Professor Zaru gave me a very clear insight of what life is like for people of Palestine who live in an occupied land. I think what would be a good solution to this conflict would be for Israel and Palestine to be two separated states and for the Israel government to respect the Palestinian land. It is clear that the current "two-state" plan is not working because Israel is clearly abusing the human rights and international laws of the Palestinian land. This whole division of Palestine with area A,B, and C is unfair to the people of Palestine. First and foremost Israel is mistreating these people (occupiers), they decide when they will cut off both water and power supplies. Life is unpredictable for Palestinians and it is very unfortunate that they have to live this way on a daily basis.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Washington DC Field Trip

On Thursday March 31st, 2016 the class had an amazing opportunity to go and meet with the representatives of both the Qatar and Tunis embassies. In addition to the embassy tours and discussion, we got to got to the Islamic Center of Washington DC and the Palestine Center. I learned a lot about the foreign policies the United States has with these nations. I learnt more in depth about the revolution in Tunis; how it was the first nation in the Arab world to recognize women rights and also make it illegal for a man to marry more than one wife.

 At the Qatar embassy I learned about how they are trying to treat employees better and come up with policies that protect the foreign employees in Qatar. The lecture I enjoyed the most was the one with the Tunis embassy, because the speaker was very clear in giving the history of the progression in Tunis. She explained how the revolution did not just come up overnight, but in fact began years and years ago. The visit to the Islamic Center was also fun, I got to ask questions and get clarification. It is apparent that western news outlets tend to be a bit bias when it comes to news regarding the Arab/Islamic nations. I learned the importance of also researching for myself; not just believing what the news say.