I attended the event “Gigs for Guatemala” on November 29th, which was eligible for an IA credit. This was an event that I was interested in going to before I knew it was for credit within the program, as I always love seeing different live acts and I was happy to support such a good cause. Throughout the program, a woman spoke about the many different girls that we would be helping through our donations that currently lived in Guatemala. Many of these girls live in dangerous towns, where gun violence, gangs, and sexual assaults are common. They are not given many opportunities to achieve their dreams, but with the program “Champions in Action” that they are a part of, they are given the chance to grow out of poverty and follow their goals in life. This event was put on by AWOW, or Advocates For Women of The World, so many of the acts were very female oriented and empowering, which was amazing to see. A wide variety of acts performed, such as comedy improv groups like “Fishbowl Improv”, bands like “The Manatee Room,” dancers, acapella groups, and a spoken word poet. Some of the acts that really resonated with me were “Inaayat”, an Indian dance team who combines acting, music, and dance, and Sabsie Ali, a spoken word poet. The Indian dance team was a beautiful show where no words were spoken, but they were able to tell a powerful story simply through their facial expressions and movements. Sabsie Ali performed two of her spoken words that she writes which covered topics such as misogyny and bisexuality, and I was shocked at how emotional and intense it was, as I had never seen a spoken word poet before. I also really enjoyed how they incorporated different cultures into their acts, giving a wide variety of performances. Ohio State is so diverse with so many different clubs and performers, I think events like this should always be able to and happy to have many different performances from different backgrounds and cultures for their audience to enjoy. After attending this event I’ve been really interested in joining AWOW, and I plan on attending meetings in the future to see if it is a good fit for me. I love their message of helping and empowering all women around the world, and I am excited to hopefully attend more events or even join in the future.
On November 1st, I attended the American Enterprise Institute event featuring Dr. Michael Rubin as a Non-IA event, where they debated on terrorism in the Middle East. Terrorism in the Middle East is a very loaded topic, so I was interested to listen to what each person had to say and their varying opinions. This topic is also something that I have never dived deeper into and formally educated myself on, with most of my knowledge coming from the news and social media. Michael Rubin spoke first, and being completely honest with myself, much of what he said was slightly difficult for me to understand as I had little prior knowledge of the topic before hand. However, I was still able to learn a lot and I heard a lot of facts and issues surrounding terrorism in the Middle East that I previously did not know. Michael Rubin began by stating that terrorism is driven by ideology rather than grievance, contrary to what most people think. He continued by saying that people want to believe that terrorism is driven by grievance such as poverty, hunger, corrupt governments, etc. so that there is a tangible problem that can be fixed, but in reality it is a much more complex and difficult problem that can not so simply be addressed. He also discussed how the Quran can be interpreted in different ways, introducing the idea of ‘abrogation and religious interpretation’. Extremists often interpret the Quran in a way such that if two verses contradict each other, the last verse automatically cancels out the first so they only have to follow the one that matches their viewpoints. Another really interesting point was also brought up that I had never thought of, where he explained that the United States needs more people in security that speak more than just Arabic, as there are so many different languages and dialects that we could be missing.
The next speaker discussed many similar topics as Michael Rubin and they often agreed on many issues. He spoke about how the United States needs to have less military engagement in the Middle East, as the war is never going to be won with brute force and it is only going to end with the US going bankrupt. Instead of military force, he argued that we should create more social engagement with the Middle East with more cultural exchange, where we can educate people on this topic. Overall, the war against Radical Islam is a war of ideas, not guns. A lot of interesting points about immigration were also discussed, such as immigration into Europe and assimilation in the United States. They discussed how immigration into Europe is rapid and not controlled or regulated much at all, which the guest speaker believed was a ‘breeding ground for radicalism’. I found this discussion in particular interesting as I have never really heard much about immigration in Europe rather than the United States. I also learned how refugees and immigrants are typically relocated into a few select cities, which can sometimes make it difficult to assimilate into the culture of the United States. However, in the 1960’s, immigrants were located all over the country according to their skill sets and where they were needed, and this was able to help them assimilate into the culture fairly easily. Although a lot of what was discussed was slightly hard for me to understand, I feel that I learned a lot about this topic and was introduced to ideas and opinions about this topic that I had never thought of before attending this session.
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