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Anthropology Methods Assignment

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ANTHROPOLOGY 2203

METHODS ASSIGNMENT

PEOPLES OF THE WORLD

MARCH 11TH, 2005

MIKE WILBER

I decided to base my research on an ethnographic interview conducted with my neighbor. I decided to use the ethnographic interview approach since it would be impossible for me to obtain this information without traveling to the Middle East. I will call him Tarik to keep his real name anonymous. He identifies himself as a Russian Arab Muslim from New Jersey.

His parents are originally from Syria and he has lived there for several years in the past. He has many relatives in Syria and his knowledge about the culture of that part of the world is abundant. The world view of the people in that region of the world is vastly different from the western world. He is a Muslim as is most of the populace of Syria. The aspects of Islam itself would be enough information to cover this whole paper, so I will not limit all the information to religion.

He stated that the political problems of the Middle East are not actually as what we think we know in America due to the media bias. He described the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel in respect to his native country of Syria. Syria is bordered by Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian state. He said that the American media is making Israel seem like they have done nothing wrong and that Palestine is the cause of the conflict. This misunderstanding is due to the fact that America and Israel are close allies. But Israel has gone into Palestine and has been building a wall basically down the middle of the country, claiming it as Israel's traditional land. He compared this atrocity to someone in America who has owned a farm of 1000 acres with many cash crops and having somebody come in and put a fence right down the middle while claiming all the crops on the other side of the fence as not yours. He said you would be very furious about this. Therefore, this is the reason that Palestine continues to use guerrilla attacks against the Israeli army. Americans generally do not know the whole truth about the conflicts in the Middle East because of this media bias.

He then described a situation that his uncle and aunt found themselves in. The uncle had to move to the western edge of the country, near Israel, for a job assignment while his aunt was in the eastern part of the country with a baby on the way. Meanwhile, the Israeli army was constructing the wall. A few months later his wife delivered his baby. He tried to cross the country to his wife, but was not allowed to pass because the Israeli army put up the fence while he was gone. He was not allowed to see his newborn child. He could go in and out of Israel without much hassle but could not cross his own country that used to be free a few months before. Therefore, he has to travel north to Lebanon, then east through Syria and Damascus and back west into Palestine to see his baby. By the time he arrived, his child was already six months old. He said that this is a pretty common situation that is found around Palestine and Syria due to Israel and their fence.

Marriage is also viewed much differently by Muslims than it is compared to Christians and Jews. Christians are usually allowed to marry anyone regardless of age, race, or religion. Being Muslim, you must only marry another Muslim. If you don't, you will be disowned by your parents and family. He talked of a cousin he has that tried to marry a Jewish girl. He was forced to elope with

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