Middle East
Teacher's Guide

March 15, 2000 Update
Remember, the "Kids' Versions" are aimed at K-6.

Check out this date's update
The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:

Brian - If These Walls Could Speak

This dispatch talks about the historic wooden houses in Turkey that were built in the nineteenth century.

It's an interesting ideas to think of houses or buildings as "talking" to us. Have students pick a favorite building (home, monument, museum, castle, whatever!) and write a short story or poem from the building's point of view. What would their favorite building want to say? Who would it be speaking to? Is it a male or female voice? Old or young? Happy or sad?

Jasmine - If You're Stopped and Think About It: Struggling for Democracy and Human Rights in Turkey

Jasmine visits Ankara, Turkey to interview Ahmed Turan Demir, President of the HADEP-People's Democracy Party. She shares the experience and Turan's insights into the struggle of Kurds in Turkey, the problems Turkey faces with human rights and the establishment of a democratic state, and the purpose and mission of HADEP as a pro-Kurdish party.

Have the class compare and contrast the movement for Kurdish independence and autonomy to the movement for separatism of African-Americans, the reservation system, and the Japanese internment camps here in the states.

Kavitha - Different Places, Same Problems

This dispatch explores the Kurdish conflict in Turkey, and uses Turkey's human rights abuses and history of political prisoners as an avenue to examine the United States own controversial prison system.

It may appear that Turkey's political powers are extremely paranoid and dictatorial, but as a balancing point have the class find 1 to 3 instances in U.S. history where a political party or the U.S. government employed similar methods of "protecting national security."

Abeja - Deal Of The Centuries: Abeja Sells You A Hole In The Ground

Abeja takes you on a whimsical tour of some of the amazing rock formations in Cappadocia, Turkey. She discusses the geological process by which they were formed, and tries to sell you one of the thousands of little dwellings carved by ancient people in the soft volcanic rock. Hint-don't buy, this is a national park!

What can buildings tell about a place? In particular--what they are made of? Would "Stone houses" be very useful/feasible here in the states? Why or why not? Are there any homes similar to these in the states? Why do you think people use radically different building materials all over the world?

Team - Speak Your Mind…..The Kurdish Conflict

A quick history of the Kurds and their troubles. Includes references to the Ottoman Empire, Kurdistan, Kurdish people, Turkish persecution of Kurds, Kurdish autonomy

This dispatch addresses how change is a process--often slow, often painful--but essential. It also encourages students to never underestimate the power of the individual, ("Enough socially and morally responsible individuals make up a loud voice of protest and change. Be a part of that voice…Speak your mind.") Ask students what they would like to speak up about right now in their lives or schools or communities, and why? What do they think they can do to make a change for the better? Once "voiced," maybe the can now take some action!

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