Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weekly Report 4

I found an article from the Palestinian News Network about Israeli settlers militarizing to attack Bedouin Palestinians in the West Bank. The Bedouins in Palestine have formed close-knit communities and the infiltration by Israeli soldiers puts them in a very dangerous position. The head of the committee for protecting Bedouins said that this will increase violence against them. The Israeli army announced gathering settlers from around the West Bank to monitor the Bedouin communities. The reason the Israeli soldiers were given permission to do this it because the Bedouins have been accused of living there illegally. The article mentions that the Bedouins that live under Israeli military administration have been suffering invasions and other violations at the hand of the Israelis for many years. They have been under constant threat of displacement, and what I find to be most ridiculous is the fact that the Bedouins are accused of living on the West Bank illegally but the Israeli settlers who are actually living there illegally are getting all of the benefits of a legal citizen. I don’t know all of the history behind this conflict but it is interesting to me how the Israeli forces were able to invade the Bedouins just on the suspicion that they were living there illegally, with no proof. It is true that most power is abused. The Israeli army has the power in this situation so they are using it to falsely accuse in order to achieve the result of being able to infiltrate the Bedouin communities.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reflection 4

Dr.Boukhar's lecture on radical Islamist groups was definitely very interesting. There is so much in the news and all over the media about radical islamist groups such as ISIS and these groups give a bad name to the muslim religion when they really have nothing to do with it. Most of the world and certainly most of the U.S. are ignorant to the true basis of Islamic religion and since the only news they hear is of radical groups and terrorism, thats what comes to mind when they think of Islam.
I have of course heard of ISIS through the news and social media, but I like most people do not know much about it's ideology.
I have always known that the U.S. played somewhat of a role in the creation of these radical groups, since the invasion in 2003 caused so much discord in the middle east. What i did not know is that ISIS started as the direct result of the 2003 invasion in Iraq. Many people believe that ISIS is just an extreme representation of Islam, but in reality it is a group with their own idea of what Islam should be. ISIS thrives on the unrest and convolution of societies in the middle east because it recruits members from the margins of society who feel like they are being persecuted and discriminated against by government. ISIS claims that they speak on behalf of the Sunni's because in many countries, although Sunni's are the majority, they feel displaced and persecuted. As Dr.Boukhar said "Sunni's are a majority but have a minority complex", this is a very confusing position to be in and creates a breeding ground for ISIS recruits. When Sunni's in various countries are discriminated against and there is a lack of state and political power behind them, there is a vacuum for power that ISIS fills. ISIS feeds off of sectarianism. Without the marginalization of Sunni Arabs they would not have a growing growing army.
This was certainly an interesting thing to learn. I did not know where ISIS found its supporters and now it makes sense to me, praying on the weak and the people who have no sense of connection to their society who are more likely to look for other ways of belonging.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

Reflection 3

I was unable to go to the concert on wednesday because of a class, but I am so glad I was able to see the musicians and hear about them a little bit on thursday. Every one of them brought such a positive vibe and joy for what they do. The drumming was really amazing, I had never heard a talking drum before and it was a very unique sound. It is really interesting how the talking drum used to be a major form of communication in Senegal. One of the musicians discussed how it used to be that the talking drum was used to communicate between villages, before telephones were around. The tradition of playing the talking drum is passed down in families and used to be a very important skill to have. The man who was playing it told us that he learned from his father but that his son does not have an interest in learning from him. With the modernization of culture and media everywhere, the importance of the tradition of the talking drum is diminishing. That makes me think of how the oral tradition of storytelling in Islam has died out a bit with the rise of internet and tv. People put less value on those seemingly "outdated" ways of communication and passing on of tradition.
The discussion of Muslims on Senegal was interesting. The Muslims who live in Senegal do not need to abide by any dress code. They are not easily identifiable and do not wear traditional clothing the way Muslims in some other places do. They pray and are devoted to God but the only really important part of being a Muslim in Senegal, as was said to us in the lecture, are praying and helping others. One of the men said "Muslim is not in your clothes or shoes. Muslim is in your heart".