Advocacy and The Arab/American Divide

How do you write a compelling article?

I have spent a lot of time trying to figure this out. I write monthly columns for an online magazine, and I struggle every time I write to churn out a coherent article with a strong point.

But today we had a workshop with a student named Sasha, who taught us about advocacy. One method of advocacy is article writing, and she gave us an extremely useful set of guidelines on article writing that involves having an opening statement, thesis, exposition, counter-arguments, powerful final argument, and clincher (I know that those aren’t the exact names, but you get the gist).

She gave us two articles to analyze, and the politician in me immediately forgot the point of the activity as I got lost in the subject of the articles. One was on the importance of sweatshops in developing countries, and the other was about the behaviour of the Chinese government during the Olympics. I think that what truly makes a great article is being able to read the final result without noticing the seams that keep it together.

We also had a symposium today about America and the Middle East, more specifically about cross-cultural understanding. Ahh yes, cross culture. Growing up with an identity crisis has definitely taught me the value of understanding different cultures, especially the Arab and American culture, which are so radically different. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile the two.

But the whole America and Middle East issue is a big deal in and of itself, even though we don’t mention it. These two regions have been butting heads for some time, and I think it’s safe to say that the media has helped propagate stereotypes of each. It’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to look at. I want to talk about it, as awkward as it may be.

The problem is that there’s so much to talk about. The globalizations and Westernization of the Arab countries, the perceived leniency (whether true or not I don’t know) towards Muslims in the United States. And of course, the biggest elephant we take with us everywhere; the Palestine/israel conflict.

Wowza. Okay, so maybe discussing these things wouldn’t be the best idea. But how do we address them, deal with them? Is is enough to have a vision statement and goals, to use advocacy techniques and know how to write an article?


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