Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Presentations 11/30

I really enjoyed Megan's presentation. Unfortunately, "following the money" is very revealing, especially for the creating of public opinion through mass media. I was particularly interested in the presentation pro-Palestinian PR groups. I was not really aware they existed to that extent or prominence.

Jenna's account of MuJew was very interesting; I was not aware this group existed on campus. I think the concept has a lot of potential. The avoidance of political discussion is an interesting decision. On one hand, it is refreshing that the conflict is being separated from religious identity; however, one cannot deny that the discussion is an elephant in the room, to a degree.

Monday, November 28, 2011

11/28 Presentations

I really enjoyed Chris' presentation. Immediately, I was caught by the attention given to the presentation's style; it really complemented the theme well. I'm glad that he mentioned DAM. I had a professor previously talk about them my freshman year. I remember being interested by them but had forgotten, so it was good to have that reminder. I also appreciated the emphasis on parkour; the multi-layered nature of the participants' resistance was very surprising and interesting. Not much attention is given to resistance or divides within perceived homogeneous communities.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Evaluation Ideas

I've had a chance to read a few blogs before this post. I agree with most suggestions that have been put forward. I'd like to emphasize the following, though:

1) Armstrong's book as central reading
2) Content/class structure (i.e. weekly themes and their readings/video conferences)
3) Blogs, specifically interaction with classmates/lecturers
4) Interaction with larger project/ class' place

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reading Response 14

I am very impressed by the Ir Amin organization; I find that their mission very much agrees with my consideration of the conflict. Specifically, I agree with the necessity of a multi-faceted approach. Activism alone cannot solve all issues. Of course, establishing equality or protesting measures that enforce inequality should always be a priority; however, such action should not be a sole priority. One can shout from the rooftops constantly, but if the context of the message is not understood, then the message itself is lost. Therefore, education aimed at establishing a full context is necessary. To this end, Ir Amin's educational programs, such as study tours, lectures, etc, represent a crucial and absolutely necessary aspect of conflict resolution. Only when individuals are on equal planes can true dialogue emerge. Of course, it may or may not be possible to raise East Jerusalem's economic/political status to equal elevation (I appreciate Ir Amin's attempts, though); however, establishing equal visibility and awareness through education can serve as a solid substitute.

With regards to Sheikh Jarrah - I truly believe that establishing commonality through solidarity is the most effective method for resolution. Solidarity removes the "us vs. them" or "otherness" that has plagued the conflict for decades. Only through removing arbitrary boundaries (ethnicity, religion, politics) and replacing them with concrete realities (common humanity, shared geographic location) can progress be made. Finally, solidarity movements unequivocally destroy divisive rhetoric; these movements offer concrete evidence that two "incompatible" peoples can coexist.

Despite unprecedented domestic and global opposition to continued settlements, the Israeli government is still approving new construction sites. Do you see these new settlements as last-ditch efforts, sort of a "night is darkest before dawn", or does the new construction represent a regression? That is, is the Israeli government purposely polarizing the issue as a means to consolidate support and continue such actions?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reading Response 13

Many Western media outlets portray Israel as a beacon of liberal progressiveness shining from a land of socially prohibitive and "backwards" nations. These outlets cite Israel's democracy, allowance of homosexual military personnel and general societal traits. While I realize that Israel certainly has its share of faults, I always had the impression that Israel was quite progressive when it came to sexual identity. After all, why would a socially conservative nation spend money to exhibit at international tourism trade shows and promote its cities as gay-tourist destinations? Thus, the readings/organizations and their implications were rather unexpected. I was also surprised to learn that same-sex marriage is illegal, due to the government's refusal to recognize any religious institutions that support same-sex marriage. I knew that religious institutions were ingrained in the political sphere and political decisions certainly reflect certain religious groups' expectations; however, I did not realize the extent to which Israeli legal codes adhered to religious dogma. Denial of marriage choice constitutes a human rights abuse, as these activist groups note. Furthermore, as in the United States, acceptance of homosexual soldiers but not civilians represents a terrible double standard.

I was particularly impressed by the City of Borders story. In a land where divisiveness is ubiquitous, it is encouraging to see a group embrace the divisiveness inherent in their sexual orientation and use it to foster unity. Reuniting divided peoples requires an initial commonality; these activist groups are a West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, only of a different flair. On the contrary, it is rather disheartening (even if somewhat darkly humorous) that sexual orientation serves as uniting tool, albeit a prejudiced one. Conservative Palestinians and Israelis may openly oppose each other over any number of issues; however, one thing is certain, the immorality and icky-ness of same-sex couples transcends religious or political identity. It truly is unfortunate that human rights abuse is necessary to bring together divided peoples, whether for positive or negative reasons.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Weblog Journal Assignment 6

I, by no means, possess any modicum of musical talent; however, I have a deep connection to music. As I am sure others in the class feel, music has an ability to correspond to and subsequently heighten or alter any emotional state. Owing to my parents, I have an extremely diverse music collection; I can not say I prefer any particular genre more than another. I do have a particular affinity for funk/r&b, though. When I was very young and couldn't sleep, my dad would drive me around Green Bay with the heat cranked and those genres in the background. Partially due to this, I'm told that for a couple weeks I would only respond to "James Brown" and not my actual name.

On a macro level, music shares a similar importance. It can transmit culture, history and tradition; it drives celebration, commemoration or lamentation, among many other things. Music represents a significant place in society; one can not overstate music's ubiquity. To this end, one must acknowledge music's role within conflict situations. For a dominant power, music is used in many means to promote a power's "self". This is evidenced by national anthems, commemorative hymns and the like. Furthermore, music forms a component of broader cultural repression. For a conflict's repressed, music similarly serves a broad range of functions. Admittedly, I do not have much knowledge of music in Israeli/Arab conflict situation; however, American history demonstrates the broad range of music as a voiced for repressed. Foremost, music can be created by all; it is a form of speech that is unable to be revoked. In American history, music's range of uses covers lamentations, protest discourse, cultural preservation and self-empowerment. Overall, music, like art, creates a deeply rooted spiritual connection within the audience. Powerful tools are actively utilized in conflict situations.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reading Response 12

I very much enjoyed the selection from Galit Hasan-Rokem. Of our readings, Not Mother of All Cities speaks most to my perception of the conflict. As a history student, I tend to overemphasize historical considerations when regarding contemporary issues; however, recognition of history is absolutely crucial for the city to see peace. Thus, I appreciate Hasan-Rokem's emphasis on the necessity or recognizing the city's broader historical continuum. The contemporary conflict is the product of shortsightedness, an egotistical refusal to acknowledge how one "got here". Hasan-Rokem's denouncing of the the anthropomorphic consideration of Jerusalem is especially apt. Creation of some sort of family/lover bond between citizen and city is inherently exclusive and prohibitive. Ideally, more individuals would recognize this, as if the last few decades or so haven't been evidence enough.

Suad Amiry's Sharon and My Mother in Law is a nice change of pace as far as reading material is concerned. I very much enjoyed Amiry's excellent blending of darker humor and introspection. One gains a sense, even for a moment, of the maddening qualities of life under occupation. These recollections truly actualize a previously murky and undefined situation. The results are seemingly unbelievable. The vet chapter particularly epitomizes the conflict, which seems to have progressed into some sort of twisted comedy. In general, I enjoy reading people's histories or simple diaries; they provide an excellent context unavailable through other means.

Tentative Project Outline:

I. Introduction
a. Sport as societal expression (e.g power dynamics)
b. Historical account of sport as divisive/uniting
i. WW1 "friendly" / "Football War"
II. Sport at national/international scale
a. International clubs
i. Composition
1) Maccabi Haifa
ii. Divided teams
1) Player dynamics
iii. Cases
1)Israeli Hapoel Abu Ghosh - Mevasseret Zio
2) Abna Sakhnin
b. National Football as case
i. Politicized sports
1) AFC Exile
ii. National team composition
iii. Player experience
1) Identity with ethnicity/religion relative to state.
III. Sport in Jerusalem & Occupied territories
a. Multifaceted
i. Religious opposition / social component
b. Divisive
i. Beitar Jerusalem
1) Politicized sport - "apologies"
2) Supporter behavior
c. Uniting/normalizing
i. Jerusalem Boxing Club
ii. Twinned Peace Sport School
iii. PACES
IV. Conclusion