Saturday, July 21, 2007

Culture Smart Cards

The military is realizing the importance of cultural geography. Culture Smart Cards are being handed out to marines. The cards contain useful cultural information about countries. Language, religion, ethnic groups, behavior and more.

The Iraqi culture card is fascinating. Did you know the red Islamic flag means sacrifice? That a red-checkered male headdress means the wearer did the Hajj and comes from a monarchy? That the "OK" hand signal is obscene to Iraqis? And that no one likes the Turkoman besides the Eastern Rite Catholics? All this and more on the card is very useful to the average grunt on the ground.

Sadly most of these cards are off-limits to civilian purchases. I wish one day they will be released because my former students would have benefited greatly from this easy-to-use yet in-depth source.

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