Student Journeys

My Diary of Studying the Middle East

As I study, I am reminded of how essential it is to understand the contemporary Middle East and its development to grasp what is happening worldwide. The weekly readings and class discussions included ‘Islam in a Historical Perspective’, ‘Sates’, ‘Authoritarianism’ and ‘Dollar Monopoly in the Economy’.

As we continue our journey, we are starting to better understand the news in the mainstream media. However, it is essential to note that the individuality of Middle Eastern nations is of greater significance. It is crucial to explain the schism in Islam and Political Islam, particularly to those who need help understanding the region, as we are still in the early stages of this process.

Studying topics like ‘Rentier States’ is refreshing as it sheds light on how countries manage or mismanage the resources within their territory. This mismanagement hinders the development of these nations and is not sustainable in the long term. It highlights the singularity and autonomy in the Middle East beyond the conflicts and stereotypes built around this part of the world.

Throughout our conversation, we delved into two significant subjects – authoritarianism and the global assessment of democracy. We mainly focused on Middle Eastern nations and acknowledged the distinctiveness of this region, given its tribalism, religion, and historical context. It is important to emphasize these concepts, as we can only engage in fruitful discussions and constructive criticism with a comprehensive understanding.

It is not because those civilisations have existed for hundreds of years that the borders delimitated today and the political system that rules over them has. Most governments in the Middle East are pretty young. Therefore, it is unfair to measure their democracy and development as you would in Europe, for example. Tribalism, history, intervention, ethnicity, religion, and politics must be considered.

Otherwise, we fall into stereotypical repetition.

This study covers the involvement of superpowers and their role beyond the USA. It provides insight into a more diverse and active international system. It sheds light on Iran’s collaboration with Russia and the influence of the private sector in politics, providing ample food for thought.

Julia Servidone Sangali

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