Friday, March 25, 2016

Report 4

On Thursday, March 24th, Israeli settlers from illegal settlements in Hebron celebrated the Jewish holiday of Purim with a march that began in the same location where the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shot two Palestinian youth and then executed one of them a few hours earlier. The teenager, while seen in a video to be completely helpless and lying on the ground, is shot at point-blank range. A few hours later, Purim celebrations began in that same spot where Israeli settlers wore colorful costumes and played music, dancing in the streets. That morning, the IOF also shot and killed two more Palestinian teenagers in the streets.
The march proceeded down Shuhada Street, which had been completely closed off to Palestinians. They are not allowed to even walk there, unlike the illegal Israeli settlers who can walk and drive.  The group then continued on to the Ibrahimi mosque, where at that point Israeli forces started closing off the area to all Palestinians even if they were residents of that area. They also pushed children out of the area in order to create a Palestinian-free space that the Israeli settlers could celebrate in. Two days before, during other celebrations for Purim, the loudspeakers from that same mosque were misused to proclaim hate speech calling from the expulsion of all Palestinians from Hebron, instead of the call to prayer. Israeli forces made sure that no Palestinians even could come close to the people celebrating.

I believe that these events are unfair and unjust. Purim is a celebration about the Jewish people surviving a holocaust, when Israeli settlers are dancing in the streets in a place where young people were shot and killed just for occupying a space and were unable to defend themselves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

reflection 4

Dr. Boukhars talked about how ISIS was an aggressive organization with a surprisingly clear identity. It began in Iraq after the US invaded in 2003, and it is the first movement in the Arab World to bring both violence and extremism from the margins to the center. This means that ISIS made these things more prominent and in the foreground than they were previously. ISIS rose to power through its enemies increasing power and sectarianism, or widening the divide between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. Assad’s extreme take on the war on terror and Russia’s involvement in the Arab World (particularly in Syria) helped contribute to help ISIS gain traction and solid place in the Middle East.
 ISIS claims that they are helping Sunni Muslims who are oppressed. According to Dr. Boukhars, the Sunni world has had trouble coming to terms with their history as well as their present situations. They are confused, marginalized, humiliated, and deprived of their fundamental human rights. ISIS feeds on this and uses this to make them stronger. Sunnis are described as being “a majority with a minority complex” by Dr. Boukhars as well, which I found intriguing. It seems that recently the Shia regime has been making more victories, and the Sunnis need a source of inspiration to get them back on track. Unfortunately, they have found this inspiration within ISIS. 
Those who join ISIS are relatively young, around sixteen to twenty-four years old. They are looking for direction, inspiration, and guidance. They long to be a part of a group and feel like they are accomplishing something, which ISIS provides for them. Many of them were delinquents who were then “born again” into the faith. Their religious enthusiasm quickly turned into radicalism. 
I learned a lot from this lecture. I knew it was difficult to stop ISIS, but I did not realize how difficult it really was until we began discussing it. It was very enlightening and I enjoyed learning about this topic.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Reflection 3: Massamba Diop Drumming Session

Massamba Diop and his band came and gave a lecture in class today with his band, the Rhythm Griots. He talked about how Griots are the “walking dictionary of Africa” and how they know all of the history of their people, and other tribes as well. There was another man from Senegal, who grew up on the streets. His mother taught him how to dance and make music, which she learned from her mother and relatives before her. This has been passed down through generations and will hopefully continue, or the tradition will die.
They discussed how nowadays not many people want to learn the old traditions of the talking drum (which Massamba plays) or traditional dance. If none of the newer generations learn, the art form dies. The same is true for the Griots. If no one steps up and learns, the entire history of a people will die with the last Griot. Once that happens, a huge chunk of history will be lost to the world forever, because it was kept orally and not written down. This is a terrible thing, and why it is so important to keep history alive.
They also touched on a few cultural aspects in Senegal. My favorite was that a man can have many girlfriends, which I found a little absurd. A woman, I guess, can also have multiple boyfriends. When a man chooses a woman that he wants to marry, they go off and have the wedding in private. The next morning, at around 8 am, the talking drum player goes and announces to the village (which is structured in a circle) that this man is now married, and tells all of his girlfriends to give up and move on to another man. Then the whole town goes to breakfast at the newlyweds’ house.
I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation, and I loved waking up to the drumming early in the morning. It really energized me and helped me throughout the day. Massamba said that the talking drum is lucky, and if someone plays it live for you it is even better, and you will have good luck throughout the day. I really believe this and hope that they will bring me good luck today. I hope that they can come back again to perform soon.