CONFLICT, SUSTAINABLE PEACE AND IT’S BENEFITS.



BY COMRADE (DR.) SILAS G. ADAMU

Presented on January 22, 2021

at a meeting of Atyap Youths in Zangon-Kataf  in search for peace as the Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA) President

Introduction

Tim and Joe were working in the same team and were best of friends. One fine day,  they were asked to give their input on a particular project assign to them by their  superior. 

There was a major clash in their understanding of the project and both  could not agree to each other’s opinion. Tim wanted to execute the project in a 

particular way which did not go well with Joe. 

The outcome of the difference in 

their opinion was a conflict between the two and now both of them just can’t  stand each other. The dissimilarity in the interest, thought process, nature and 

attitude of Tim and Joe gave rise to a conflict between the two. A conflict results in heated arguments, physical abuses and definitely loss of peace and harmony. 

A conflict can actually change relationships; friends can become foes as a result of  conflict just as in the case of Tim and Joe. Conflict is a theme that has taken the 

center stage in mankind’s search for lasting peace and security at individuals,  family, communities, and organizations, national and international level. 

In   this work, the term conflict, types of conflict, phases of conflict effect of conflict, peace, negative peace and positive peace, the search for sustainable peace and its benefits are clearly outlined.

Conflict

Since conflict does affect every group behavior and determines the level of  peace and security enjoyed by all, it is important to look at divergent views or  definitions of conflict. 

Conflict more often than not, is either overt or subtle which  takes the form of either physical conflict or psychological conflict. (Wikipedia)

Thomas Chung and Rich Magginson, (1981) define conflict as ‘the struggle  between incompatible or struggling needs, wishes, ideas, interests of people.

Whenever two individuals opine in different ways a conflict arises. In a lay  man’s language conflict is nothing but a fight either between two individuals or among group members. 

No two individuals can think alike and there is definitely a  difference in their thought, process as well as their understanding. Disagreement 

among individuals leads to conflict and fight. Conflict arises when ever individuals  have different values, opinions, needs, interest and are unable to find a middle way. (Afzalur, 2011)

Peace

Peace is the concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of  hostility and violence. In a social sense peace is commonly used to mean a lack of  conflict and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or group.  (Wikipedia).

Johan Galtung the father of peace studies often classify peace into two which  includes; negative and positive peace. (Galtung 1996)

Negative peace refers to the absence of violence. When for a example a ceasefire is enacted. A negative peace ensures, It is negative because something 

undesirable stopped happening. (e.g the violence stopped).

Positive peace is filled with positive content such as restoration of relationships,  the creation of social systems that serve the needs of the whole population and the constructive resolution of conflict. (Galtung 1996).

Peace therefore, does not mean total absence of conflict. it means the absence  of violence in all forms and the unfolding of conflict in a constructive way.

Peace exist where people are interacting nonviolently and are managing there  conflict positively with respectful attention to the legitimate needs and interest of  all concern. (Claske 2007).

Causes of Conflict 

Conflict is universal it occurs in all times and places. There has never been a  society in which some individuals or groups did not come into conflict. 

According  to Darwin, the principles of struggling for survival of the fittest are the main  causes of conflict. Before attempting to resolve conflict it is always important to determine what is causing it. 

Understanding what triggers conflict makes its  resolution easier to reach and conflict easier to avoid in the first place. 

There are many causes of conflict, among which includes the following: (Miguel, 2009)

*Individual Differences

No two men are alike in there nature, attitudes, ideas and  interest. On account of these differences they fell to accommodate themselves 

which may lead to conflict among them.

*Cultural differences

Culture is the way of life of a group. The culture of a group  differs from the culture of the other group; the cultural differences among the  groups sometimes cause tension and lead to conflict.

*Clash of interests

The interests of different people or group occasionally clash 

which leads to conflict among them.

*Social Change 

Social change becomes a cause of conflict when a part of society  does not change along with changes in the other part. Social change causes  cultural lack which leads to conflicts

 Causes of conflict in an organization or work place may include; conflicting  resources, conflicting styles, conflicting perceptions, conflicting goals, conflicting  pressures, conflicting, roles, different personal values, unpredictable policies. (Bells 2012).

Types of Conflict

Conflict can be of many types like verbal conflict, religious conflict, 

emotional conflict, social conflict, personal conflict, organizational conflict, community conflict and so on. (Wikipedia).

Simmel, also distinguished four types of conflict which include the following;

*War- Dealing with inter -territorial groups.

*Feud or fictional strife- Dealing with injustice by one group to the other in  an intra- group.

*Litigation- Dealing with judicial form of conflict where individual or group assert that their rights are excluded.

*Conflict of impersonal ideas- Dealing with conflict of ideas rather than  persons. For example, socialist, liberalist, realist and many others.

Phases of conflict

A conflict has five phases;

*Prelude to Conflict- it involves all the factors which possibly arise a conflict among individuals. lack of coordination, differences in interest, dissimilarity in culture, religion, education and background all are instrumental in arising a conflict. 

*Triggering Event- No conflict can arise on its own. There has to be an event  which triggers the conflict. 

*Initiation Phase Initiation phase is actually the phase when the conflict has  already begun. Heated arguments, abuses, verbal disagreement are all  warning alarms which indicate that the fight is already on.

*Differentiation Phase- it is the phase when the individual voice out their  differences against each other. the reasons for the conflict are raised in  differentiation phase.

*Resolution Phase- a conflict leads to nowhere. individuals must try to 

compromise to some extent and resolve the conflict soon. the resolution phase explores the various options to resolve the conflict.

The Search for Sustainable Peace and its Benefits

Sustainable peace can simply be defined as existing in a state where the  probability of using destructive, oppression and violence to solve problems is so  low that it does not enter into any party’s strategy, while the probability of using cooperation, dialogue, collaboration, problem –solving measures to promote  social justice. (Brewer, 2010).

Peace is an investment; the peace of today not only allows for production  and consumption but also creates expectations and culture of peace for  tomorrow. In fact peace development leads to sustainable development at  individual, group, community, organizational, national and international level.

If we make peace in our family and society, then only it can be possible to  make a sustainable peace in our country, here a cooperative, and disciplined  behavior is important to maintain peace in family and society. As we know  different types of people live in our society and each of them is different in nature  and thought. 

So, they may quarrel with each other and such quarrel should be  solved in time otherwise, it creates problems in society and which is called  conflict. Then while solving the conflict by creating consensus among the  individuals and group is called peace. (Brewer, 2010).

A group, an organization, a society or a country cannot be developed if war  and violence are not stopped. So, it is very important to maintain sustainable  peace in the society and the country. There are a several ways of making sustainable peace. 

To make sustainable peace the following measures should be taken;

*Thought of others should be respected.

*For all, equal justice should be given.

*The environment should be created for dialogue between conflicting 

parties.

*The need to feel the problems of others and listen to the problems.

*All the people of the group, organization, society and the nation should be  given equal opportunity irrespective of their, caste, religion, race or economic status.

*Should not be greedy. Arrogant and jealous.

Forconflict management, the role of the arbitrator is very important. Try to  convince both conflicting parties and groups but she/he should work impartially. (Brewer, 2010).

Conflict management, prevention and resolution are the major ingredients  require in the search for sustainable peace at all level of human existence.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the importance of the study of conflict and peace cannot be over  emphasized. Conflict is universal it occurs in all times and places. 

There has never  been a society in which some individuals or groups did not come into conflict. 

According to Darwin, the principles of struggling for survival of the fittest are the  main causes of conflict. Conflict can be of many types like verbal conflict, religious  conflict, emotional conflict, social conflict, personal conflict, organizational  conflict, community conflict and so on. 

Peace is the concept of societal friendship  and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. Johan Galtung the father of  peace studies often classify peace into two which includes negative peace and  positive. (Galtung, 1996).

Sustainable peace must be the priority of global society where state actors and  non-state actors do not only seek for the profits in a near future that might  violate the stability of peace. For a sustainable peace, nurturing, empowering and  communications are considered to be the crucial factor throughout the world.

Conflict and fighting with each other never lead to a conclusion. if you are not  on the same line as the other individual, never fight. Instead, try your best to sort  out your differences. Discussion is always a better way and wiser way to adopt  rather than conflict. Thus searching for sustainable peace is indeed a great thing for all.

References

*John D Brewer, Peace Processes: A Sociological Approach, Polity Press, 2010

*Johan Galtung retrieved 4 April, 2017

*Peace Buiding And The United Nation- United Nation Peace Building Support 

Office  un.Org.2011-07-24. Retrieved 2013-11-18.

*Afzalur Rahim, M (2011) Managing Conflicts in Organisations, Transaction Publishers

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