What I’ve learned while studying the Middle East for 4.5 years (pt. 1)

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I have spent the last 4.5 years finishing a degree in International Relations.

In 2012, I specifically chose to study the Middle East and North Africa for two reasons: it was the region of the world I knew the least about and yet, everywhere I looked, it was the region I was being told to fear and hate the most.

I am not claiming to be an expert by any stretch. I have merely started to scratch the surface of beginning to understand what has taken place prior to now.

My eyes have simply been opened to much of what I previously held as “truth”. Above all else, what I have learned from studying the economics, politics, religion, history, sociology, and anthropology of the region is that it is vastly complex and the issues there are far deeper than I knew of or can currently fathom.

I have learned not to come to conclusions without first understanding the bigger story. I have learned to follow the sources of the answers, the authors of the facts, and to investigate what other actors or factors may be at play.

I have learned to probe and ask why — time and time again.

There’s a lot of controversy and “propaganda” claims about what’s happening in Aleppo right now.

This is not a new battle or a new media campaign.

This is not a matter of “sides”. These are citizens caught in the middle of a complicated and catastrophic war.

My heart breaks for the Middle East and those who long for freedom and safety. My heart breaks for Aleppo.

If you have no idea what I’m referring to, please do a quick search. Then I encourage you to educate yourself beyond what you read/hear in the news.

If you can do nothing else, I urge you to learn.

Here are two books and a link* that I have found helpful if you want to get started:

News: Foreign Policy

Government and Politics of the Contemporary Middle East: Continuity and change

The International Relations of the Contemporary Middle East: Subordination and Beyond

If you have read other valuable resources I invite you to send me a message or leave a response ❤

*I have no affiliation to these links