Call for Inclusiveness May Not Work for Middle East’s Sectarian Divide

Call for Inclusiveness May Not Work for Middle East’s Sectarian Divide. YaleGlobal. Dilip Hiro. June 18, 2014.

ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, began as an Al Qaeda offshoot in Iraq and is described as more fanatical than the parent group. With up to 5000 troops, ISIS controls an area of Syria and now storms through northern Iraq exploiting power vacuums and frustrations over minority rights. The group imposes a rigid Sunni interpretation of Islam that could unleash sectarian war across the region, explains author Dilip Hiro. Hiro reviews the history of Shia and Sunni influences over governance and warns that the centuries-old religious divide will continue to test the patience of western democracies who quarrel over how to intervene. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Globalization Helps Preserve Endangered Languages

Globalization Helps Preserve Endangered Languages. YaleGlobal. Mark Turin. December 3, 2013.

Tools of globalization like the internet, so often blamed for homogenizing the world, are also encouraging diverse lingual communities to connect and even revitalize their endangered languages. “Linguists estimate that of the world’s remaining 6,500 languages, up to half will no longer be in regular use by the end of this century,” notes Mark Turin, linguist and anthropologist. Many are indigenous languages, which “function as vehicles for the transmission of cultural traditions, environmental understandings and knowledge about medicinal plants, all at risk when elders die and livelihoods are disrupted.” Turin describes linguists’ efforts to compile archives of digitized audio, visual and other documents to ensure that these languages and the cultures they reflect do not simply vanish, their contributions going unforgotten. Globalization is often more process than intent, and the real force behind cultural homogenization, Turin maintains, is unbending beliefs reinforced by monolingualism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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