I found this unit to be an incredibly interesting and informative unit. Due to the importance of the Middle East on the world stage as well as my interest in history, I felt that I owed it to myself to understand a bit more about it, and this is why I picked this unit. As Sandra has said many times throughout the semester, the Middle East is a tricky subject and when you think you start to understand it, everything messes up and you understand nothing. However I genuinely believe that I have learned a lot throughout this unit, and even if ideas and situations change, I have the basic understanding of the region such as its history and the basic elements to understand the region to a decent extent.
As I said before, prior to doing this unit, I had very little knowledge of the region and my beliefs were so wrong its ridiculous and I feel stupid to think I was so one dimensional in my previous understanding. Before this semester, I believed the Middle East was made up of two parts; Israel and the Jews, who had gotten the region out of American pity, verses the Arab countries in the region who were all allied to bring down Israel and recover Jerusalem. Being Australian and therefore having similar beliefs to Americans, I felt obliged to take the Israeli side in the conflict in the region.
After doing this unit, the main two things I have learnt are in clear violation to my previous beliefs. Firstly, I had no idea about the tension that exists between Arab countries such as Iraq and Iran, as well as many other conflicts, as I believed they were all aligned together to regain Israel. The second major thing that has happened to me during this unit, is that I have taken the Arab side in the Arab-Israeli conflict. A big swap to move from a sure thing Israel supporter to an Arab one.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed doing this unit, learning a lot and having a good time listening to Sandra’s jokes about serious issues, which really shouldn’t be joked about, although everyone loved them. The only complaint that I would have concerning the Unit is that I believe a three hour seminar to be too long. Especially when its on the Middle East and the issues really require your brain to be switched on. Nonetheless it was a very good unit and I learned a lot.
Thanks a lot,