Are you Syria? (Video)

Lindsay Lillig

Video credit: Matt Melson

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The U-News Broadcast division is starting a weekly quiz segment where students will be questioned at random about current events and other topics in the media. This week’s topic: Syria. In preparation for this week, I acquired a new basis of knowledge about the crisis in Syria. After completing said quiz, I learned that I was not the only one that could benefit from turning on the news every now and then.

A series of five questions was used to dictate how much our student body knows about the current crisis in Syria, the one issue world news is obsessing over. The questions were:

1) What country is in the midst of a civil war that America wants to intervene with?
2) What continent is Syria on?
3) Who is the president of Syria?
4) Which side of the civil war does America want to help: Assad’s regime or the rebels?
5) Why does America want to help?

Eight-five percent of the students quizzed knew that the answer to the country in question was Syria. I had assumed everyone would at least know that answer, but one question in and I was already surprised. Perhaps even more startling was that only about thirty percent knew what continent Syria is located on. The most common answer was Europe…incorrect. I felt only further failure was imminent.
A grand total of two people knew the name of the Syrian president. The best answer the rest of the students could give was merely their honesty, “I have no idea.” This response was concurrent with most answers to the fourth and fifth questions. Everyone was quick to assume America wanted to help the rebel side, but again only two people had a relative idea of why.

There was a final, additional question that was thrown in for the sake of a counter argument. Rest assured everyone. Each person questioned knew that it was Robin Thicke that Miley Cyrus who twerked at the VMA’s. There was no extra credit for getting that answer correct.

It is evident that our student body is more concerned with media icons and generally less invested in a crisis 7,000 miles away. This is not an unexpected result. It would be just as concerning if we were all walking around with en excessive knowledge of the Syrian government. However, would it kill us to flip through a newspaper? Maybe turn on the news during regular program commercials? Or simply download a news app and turn the alerts on? It is not the implication of this article to go develop a conclusion for Obama, but let’s at least try to be familiar with the issues.