Conflict and Community

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I remember our first lecture when we were given the assignment of writing down our own definitions of peace, community, and conflict. For peace, I wrote “Acceptance of what is, trying to be best that can be.” For community, I wrote “Belonging, kinship, and support. Can be family, friends, work, or people who simply share your interest and values.” For conflict, I wrote “Conflicting values, imbalance, and inharmony of things and matters.” As we’ve explored peace further in course I now think of peace on different levels. On a personal level it can be when you’re aligned with your values, purpose, and being at your best potential or on the right track towards that. Peace isn’t necessarily achieved by everything being perfect, but sometimes by accepting, compromising, growing, and improving while also being content.

On a greater level, I think that a desire for peace is an important motivation for us to do better together. With a lot of people trying to work together I think “peace” is achieved by accepting each others differences in looks, opinions, sexuality, race and so forth. I believe it takes to really try to understand by listening to each other. I’ve learned how people engage their spirituality in approaching conflict in regards of methodology and tactics. Whether you define spirituality as a religious belief or simply your values, it’s often a big influence in how we approach conflict and what our proposed paths to peace are. One approach to peace that we learnt about was the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh who within his spirituality had found his belief in a successful conflict resolvement method. He explained how he believes in resistance and acceptance as a way of life, and in the power and need of collective action. Thich Nhat Hanh explained how deep listening is key to lessen the suffering of our counterpart.

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To let them “empty out” their suffering, feelings, and troubles, before we start giving advice or argue back. He explained how wrong perceptions is the root to conflict, that there are answers in the suffering, and that we can learn from the suffering. He also shared how he believes that it’s morally wrong to be violent as well as unpractical in the long-run. Spirituality can offer deeper understanding and caring of humans and interest in peace with one another. Spirituality seek for long term deep rooted issues and solutions, which is why I think Spirituality plays an important role in the topic of conflict resolvement. An illustration that taught me about conflict and resolvement approach is the Lost Tapex - Malcolm X documentary that we watched. This documentary showed how he was working for reform and change in what he believed was the right way. Malcolm X believed in taking matter in your own hands, and to “solve our problem myself”.

One action he took was to remove his last name and replace it with an X, because he refused to have his slave masters last name. He also organized the black community to come together, and encouraged to stop integrating and to separate from the white society until they got what they demanded. Some called him a “Black supremacist”, but he felt the need for the black society to unite in order to ever “win”, heal, and be heard. As a Muslim, he was taught to not be ashamed of being a Black man, which he think that Christianity mediated. He also thought of Martin Luther King as a traitor for approaching things differently through his beliefs, turning the other cheek. Malcolm X thought it was absolutely necessary to come together against the common enemy. He said “Stop the sweet talk, no more compromising, tell them how we really feel.” He didn’t feel like the problems were dealt with for real. He explained how the white people won’t even admit that the knife is there, so how can we even begin to heal. “Putting one Black kid in college was not enough, we cannot pretend that the problem is solved.”

Malcolm X felt that “Martin Luther King was teaching the Black to be defenseless, because the white man paid him to do so.” He explained how he don’t think there’s such thing as a non-violent revolution, peaceful revolution. Malcolm X said “You’ll bleed for the white people's war but not for your own kind.” In some way that proved to be true, because the president didn’t take much action until he saw the aggression and took them seriously. Malcolm X had a change of heart and approach after his trip to Mecca, where he realized the difference between white people in America and white people in other parts of the world. He started to realize that Martin Luther King’s approach was tactically different but with the same goal. I’ve also learned how conflict resolution can support justice by empowering individuals, reinforcing empathy, enhancing cultural awareness, and changing of policies. For example, Kate Bornstein and her talk about surviving as a binary were she proposed ways to ease the conflict that she calls a battlefield for the binary. She explained her thoughts on that it don’t always have to be one or the other.

That gender is relative, gender can be anything. There are very few definitive truths and many arguable truths, and we should build a world that allows for arguable truths about gender and such like. Learn to agree to disagree on arguable truths, and accept the grayzone. Another example is one of my reflections where I was mentioning a book I had read called Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. It looks at different violent attacks of religious groups and the logic behind them, the cultures behinds these people and their views. What their views are, why and how religious terrorism differ from political terrorism. Its argument is that there is more to it when it comes to terrorism than just an act of violence, people believe they are doing the right thing. “A terrorist is someone's freedom fighter.” That they believe that they’re doing the right thing in God’s eyes, that they are the heroes. I think this book was interesting and relevant to this subject because it shows how complex conflicts are in a world filled with so many different beliefs. This reflection relates to the important idea we talked about regarding to see from another worldview than the one we have. Not to necessarily agree but cultural perspective is the first and most important step to any resolvement. On the other hand I’ve also learned how neutrality as a conflict resolution can sometimes reinforce existing power imbalances. In Leah Wing’s work that we read, she talked about the complicated relationship between mediation, social justice and neutrality. She suggests that mediation based on neutrality can sometimes reinforce existing power imbalances, especially in the subject of racial equality.

As a mediator, you’re technically only there for the process and making sure the discussion or conflict goes well. What needs to be figured out is if before the process start, the mediator should make sure that the “teams” are on even grounds, then after that be completely neutral. This is the strategy of equity, which is giving everyone what they need succeed. Which I personally believe in and promote. Equality is treating everyone the same and aims to promote fairness, but that only work if everyone starts from the same place. So, I think as a mediator you need to start with the strategy of equity, and once things are leveled out, you can use equality.

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Conflict and Community. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/conflict-and-community/
“Conflict and Community.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/conflict-and-community/
Conflict and Community. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/conflict-and-community/> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Conflict and Community [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/conflict-and-community/
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