Peace and Conflict Studies essay
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Nonviolence and conflict resolution mechanisms are some of the methods that are used in bringing peace among conflicting groups amicably. However, with the recent world events such as the bombing of 9/11, intense wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as conflicts in some of the African countries, these mechanisms of resolving conflicts have been questioned. Some of the reasons why the two paradigms are not applicable include troubled historical relationship between different groups and individuals, self-serving biases and misconceptions as well as miscommunication between the parties involved (Fisk & Schellenberg, 17).
The paradigm of nonviolence as a mechanism of resolving conflict in the contemporary world has not been applicable in some instances. The parties involved in conflicts usually decide to solve their differences through armed struggle. For example, the United States resolved to solve their differences with Iraq about the possession of nuclear weapons with the use of force. Nonviolence paradigm proposes that conflict is solved through complying with the demands of both side and coming at an agreement (Fisk & Schellenberg, 120). According to Mahatma Gandhi, nonviolence entails a principle formed by the premise that means and ends cannot be parted. This implies that both sides must relinquish their strong stands and agree to sit down and solve their differences. The nonviolence paradigm normally maintains a genuine peace in a situation where it is achieved through a strong and peaceful means of action.
In the contemporary society, different states have their own systems of governance. Each country has its sovereignty, something that is usually respected by other countries in any case. Therefore, when an external force strikes, various countries opt to use the well-known path of violence, which sharpens and perpetuates the cycle of retaliation. This hinders peaceful and nonviolence paradigm of conflict resolution to be applied (Fisk & Schellenberg, 110). Moreover, countries that face unjust law and oppression from their neighbors seek a strategy that depends on the use of brutal force. For instance, African countries such as Sudan, Somalia and Congo fail to use nonviolence to solve their conflict due to the lack of cooperation internally and externally. Those countries refuse to keep silent and wield their moral power in that face of injustice. They hence enter into destructive activities that weaken human conscience. Mahatma Gandhi states that when society seeks the common game of violence, they leave the whole world blind. They call for revenge, “an eye for an eye” (Fisk & Schellenberg, 182). Indeed, nonviolence activists often refuse to cooperate with the old systems even as they enforce principles of ethical order, they are blind themselves (Fisk & Schellenberg, 71). Thus, countries choose violence for their own excuse and maintain their legitimacy.
Some of the protagonists of nonviolent paradigm argue that this mechanism does not only depend on actions alone. Words play a great role in enhancing peace between the two conflicting parties. Nonviolence action can take various forms such as protests, non–cooperation, such as the use of boycotts and strikes, as well as nonviolent direct intervention (Fisk & Schellenberg, 42). The action taken is important to promote nonviolent actions among the parties involved. In this case, responses from both parties should be promoted. As a result, the parties will cooperate and solve the conflicts. This also helps parties, involved in conflict, to overcome their own anger and fear. Their level of adversary is reduced. Social injustices are exposed and a reality to peace is achieved. Nonviolence paradigm states that real power is derived from willpower of human beings to show solidarity and avoid violence. Violence undermines a community and makes such a society to sow seeds of their own destruction.
Although not applied by most contemporary societies, nonviolence paradigm is important as it offers an approach to peacemaking. It has been successfully used to solve various forms of conflicts, such as discrimination and political repression (Fisk & Schellenberg, 170). One determent to nonviolence mechanism is a lack of cooperation and will power to relinquish our stand. Foreign imperialism and occupation has also played a big role in diminishing the paradigm of nonviolence as a way of solving conflicts. Third world countries tend to oppress developing countries. Moreover, there are states with better, stronger forces and ammunitions that are used to oppress others or for mitigating certain interests such as oil deposits.
Conflicts can be solved through the power of communication. This mechanism demands that there must be a coherent international cooperation among various states. Structural and distributive issues must be addressed. In this paradigm, individuals and groups must interact to create relationships and agreements. Virtually, peace can be achieved through the use of effective communication, respect for the needs and interest of others leading to win-win solutions as well as through reconciliation (Fisk & Schellenberg, 225). Constructive conflict is the main concern in resolving conflicts. Conflict resolution is reached through peaceful communication and is achieved through incorporation of negotiations strategies, use of communication skills, while dealing with the conflicting parties, as well as through the use of a third party intervention.
Conflict is likely to arise when human beings interact and live together. This ranges from ethnic groups to international scenes. It is inevitable. If not addressed through the proper means, it can lead to human suffering (Fisk & Schellenberg, 325). This is the main reason why contemporary societies have chosen to use violence means to resolve conflicts due to lack of mutual understanding. This has made it hard to achieve positive changes in developing relationship among various countries within the social systems. In order to respond to conflicts effectively, we must be in a position to change our attitudes towards solving conflicts. This will enable us to prevent, resolve and transform the conflict. Depending on the methods of conflict resolution used, awareness to the causes of conflict helps in creating a win-win solution rather that win-lose or lose-lose. Win to win solutions ensures that both parties are satisfied and their demands have been met (Fisk & Schellenberg, 215). Thus, conflict is resolved. It is important to create proactive and intentional responses in resolving conflicts, rather that the use of reactive and incoherent means.