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Broadcasting the Gulf War

Aim

To increase youth awareness and understanding of the Gulf War, as well as the Canadian men and women who served during this time, through the lens of media.

Objectives

Through this activity, youth will:

  • develop an understanding of the 1990-1991 Gulf War;
  • get an awareness of the effect of media in the war; and
  • recognize and appreciate the challenges of Canadian men and women who served during the Gulf War.

Target audience

This activity is suitable for ages 12-18.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame (variable)

(This activity can be modified to fit available time)

  • Introduction discussion (20 minutes)
  • Broadcasting the 1990-1991 Gulf War activity (40 minutes)
  • Conclusion (10 minutes)

Materials

Introduction discussion (20 minutes)

Discuss with your students about the many wars, conflicts and peace missions Canadians have participated in over the years. Ask your students to name a few examples of wars, missions or battles they may know. You could list the responses and order them on a timeline.

Ask your students if they have heard of the 1990-1991 Gulf War. It is fairly recent compared to the First and Second World Wars, but students were not even born, and their own parents would have been still young! Ask if the students know any Veterans who served in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Do they know any details about that war?

In the 20th century, the relationship between Iraq and Kuwait has not been smooth. Iraq had long felt that Kuwait was really a part of Iraq and that Kuwaiti oil rigs were illegally tapping into Iraqi oil fields. In the late 1980s, tensions grew and relations became much worse. Here are some key events about the 1990-1991 Gulf War to share with students:

  • 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, quickly taking control of its much smaller neighbour. Many in the international community condemned Iraq's bold act of aggression and Canada soon joined a multinational coalition to restore freedom to Kuwait. Operation Desert Shield saw the build-up of Coalition forces in the Gulf region, and the Canadian Armed Forces participation in the military efforts there would be codenamed Operation Friction.
  • 10 August 1990, Canadian government announces military support in Persian Gulf.
  • 24 August 1990, Canadian warships set sail from Halifax for Persian Gulf.
  • 8 October 1990, First Canadian CF-18 jets arrive in the Middle East to help take control of the skies above the Gulf.
  • In November 1990, a joint headquarters for the Canadian Armed Forces in the region is established in Manamah, Bahrain. Canadian medical, communications, logistical and security units would also bravely play support roles in the Gulf War.
  • 16-17 January 1991, Operation Desert Storm began as Coalition forces launched a devastating air campaign after a final deadline for Iraq's withdrawal was ignored.
  • 24 February 1991, an armoured and infantry ground offensive rapidly pushed the Iraqis out of Kuwait.
  • 28 February 1991, Coalition forces ceased the offensive and offered a cease-fire, which Iraq accepted on 3 March 1991.

28 February 1991 is marked in Canada as the official end date of the 1990-1991 Gulf War. More than 4,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in that war, as part of the Coalition of countries helping to defend Kuwait.

After the end of the war, some Canadian troops stayed to help rebuild Kuwait.

Broadcasting the 1990-1991 Gulf War activity (40 minutes)

Explain to your students how the media coverage throughout the wars play an important role in keeping citizens informed.

During the First World War, newspapers were the main source of information to relay what was happening on the front lines back home. Then, during the Second World War, radio became very effective to access the latest news, and war correspondents became widely popular. However, technology evolved and the television took a leading role in broadcasting information since the 1960’s when more and more families had a television at home. With the creation of 24h news channels in the 1980’s, the 1990-1991 Gulf War, a multinational conflict, paved the way to cover war in a whole new way, with journalists reporting live from the war zone. Spectacular sounds and sights of the war in the Persian Gulf made the viewers feel they were “almost there”.

You may wish to show your students examples of different media coverages from the 1990-1991 Gulf War. There are numerous clips archived online. Use a search engine with key words and key dates (some of these dates listed in the Introduction) or search engines of Canadian news channels. You may also want to show your students a 2 minute montage of video footage shot by a Canadian veteran of the Gulf War, filmed in January 1991, depicting air operations of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Give each student a copy of Canadian Armed Forces and the Gulf War Historical sheet to use, as well as other information found through research, such as the Canadian Forces in the Gulf War (1990-1991) archived page and the Persian Gulf War, 1990-91 article on the Canadian Encyclopedia website, to help them create an outline for their broadcasting.

Students can either work individually, or in small groups to create their broadcasts. Students can decide whether they want to create a radio broadcast, or create a video news broadcasting. Their broadcast duration should be kept short, around two minutes, and can cover either a specific day of the Gulf War (you can consult Order of Events, a brief timeline of the Gulf War), or cover the entire war.

Encourage your students to be creative with their broadcasts, but reporting true information, based on trusted sources. They could also choose to report on life in Kuwait during the war, or report on the refugees leaving Kuwait and Iraq throughout 1990-1991.

When the students have completed their outline, you can choose to either have students record this broadcasting, or have them present it live in front of the class.

Conclusion (10 minutes)

Lead a wrap-up discussion with your students about the Broadcasting the 1990-1991 Gulf War activity. Ask them to share what they learned about the Gulf War.

Ask your students if they believe it is important that Canada help defend threatened countries. Explain to your students how Canada has a good international reputation as a peaceful country, who has been part of numerous peacemaking or peacebuilding missions over the past decades.

You could have your students read the article The rarely mentioned war, from the Legion Magazine. This article, written by Canadian Veteran of the Gulf War Richard Gimblett in March 2016, reflects on the Gulf War, 25 years later.

Remind your students that it is important that we honour and remember the Veteran men and women who served in the Gulf War. Thinking about their sacrifices and achievements is a way to show we appreciate living in a peaceful society. Ask the class for ideas to demonstrate their gratefulness to our men and women in uniform, and if you do, you may share what you did using Veterans Affairs Canada social media.

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