Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Questions that Preoccupy My Thoughts

What has sparked mass demonstrations in the Middle East? What changed within the authoritarian paradigm? Was it really the Wikileaks, or was there something else? Why did self mutilation and burning pre-empt the demonstrations? Was that behavior necessary to unite the masses irrespective of political, ethnic, religious and economic cleavages? Are the current demonstrations enough to convince the targeted authoritarian regimes to change? If they won’t change, will the people go far enough to dismantle them by force? Will these social changers work together to create stability and security while instituting democratic principles within their pre-existing or new governments?

There is definitely more to come on this... I would love to write a research paper about this topic when I have enough time. If you run across any good references, please let me know!

Reading List 2011

This year, I want to create and conquer a book list. In my earlier years, as if I were past them, I detested reading and would avoid it whenever possible. Thanks to a rigorous major that demanded me to face the daunting task of reading heaps in no time at all, I have learned to love it! Because it adds so much to my knowledge and perspective, I enjoy it. For this year’s book list, here are a few of the books that I want to reread or read for the first time:
The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Embers and Ashes
The Book of Mormon
The Holy Quran
Making Globalization Work
Fair Trade for All
Pride and Prejudice
Barriers to Democracy
Institutions and Ethnic Politics
Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life
Crime and Punishment
The Scarlet Letter
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The Color Purple
The Crucible

If you can think of any other “must reads” for 2011, let me know and I will consider adding them to my list.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A look into "More Over"

Well, I apologize for subjecting you to my reading notes, but sometimes I find an article and don't have enough time to expound upon it before life gets in the way and punctuates my thoughts! "More Over" is a great essay by Barbara Nimri Aziz, a spunky Arab-American woman who refuses to allow her identity to be hijacked by stereotypes. While reading her essay, she metaphorically slapped me in the face and reminded of the damning curse of the single story (aforementioned in previous blogs.) To say the least, I realized that I need to change my perspective, fully acknowledge the accomplishments and strengths of social development in the Middle East, and capitalize on them.

Aziz claims that far too often, feminists play the "third world woman" card without showing the true story – the full story. This single story shows a disempowered and helpless female race, yet in reality, there are many successes taking place. We just fail to mention them. Instead, feminists seek out the worst situations and portray that as the sweeping majority. Her words brought me back to William Easterly's "white man’s burden" and how the "developed" and "sophisticated" West often feels that it must condescend to assist the helpless instead of empowering the able-minded. Western feminism is no exception to this phenomenon and has an agenda that paints these women as victims. We must each adapt our paradigm of viewing the situation to better lift the hands that hang down without stripping those hands of their dignity. Thank you Barbara Aziz for setting me straight!