conflict transformation: Dignity in the face of oppression

One Cannot create Peace through Oppression. Tools of Conflict transformation are dangerous without Ethics and high standards same as having a clear intention with no personal gain or so. For that we had an interview with the Executive Director of the Nordic center for conflict transformation Naoufal Abboud to evaluate and redress the wrong usage of these tools.

 

  1. What kind of conflicts and what kind of transformation does conflict transformation?

Realistically, it is very ambitious to claim that we resolve conflicts. More and more conflicts are becoming complex and multidimensional. Resolving them require various layers and disciplines. We have seen recently complex conflicts in the world, from the Syrian, Libyan and Yemen crises to far-rights, and violent extremism… claiming that the endeavor in peacebuilding is a conflict resolution matter, becomes less and less acknowledgeable and more the work is framed within the idea of conflict transformation.

Conflict transformation rather aims at transforming what is confrontational and violent to collaborative and peaceful. This can only happen by transforming the context and relationships of the parties and in which the conflict is taking place. More and more conflicts are asymmetric with a party that has more power and privileges than the other. Transformation means to establish some kind of equilibrium mostly through a third party.

 

  1. What is needed to have a conflict transformation?

 

Rather the question must be: what is needed to sustain peace in a conflict transformation process?

We have seen various fields developing. Democracy has seen various waves, human rights have 3 generations: civil and political rights (1), social, economic, and cultural rights (2); collective rights (3). However, the peacebuilding and conflict transformation field stagnated in the tools that were developed in the 90s (tools that were developed during the cold war).

It seems that these tools are no longer effective. The recent report of the Global Peace Index (GPT 2019) mentions that the world is less peaceful today than at any time in the last decade. There is a need to review the tools and approaches of peacebuilding and conflict transformation that have been used ineffectively. I believe that is sustainable and effective conflict transformation during the last decade and for the future, the transformation must focus on three major components: not only non-violence but also full realization of human rights and justice. These are the three components that mark the current/contemporary conflicts.

 

  1. Mapping the network of parties on conflict. How does it happen. with the agreement of parties. with the network of people. What is studied exactly while mapping the network. And what for.

 

When mapping the network of parties in conflicts, one needs to decide to whether to focus on temporary address the “crisis” or on the idea on “everyday peacebuilding”; who are the parties in the crisis and who are those who can bring about peace on a daily basis. During the last decade, we have seen a major focus on the crises elements and the marginalization of those who could sustain peace on an everyday basis. Women, youth, civil society, communities… remain marginalized on the process of conflict transformation; more focus on selected parties in the crisis, mostly political factors as we are currently seeing in Afghanistan, Libya, and others.

 

  1. Creating problems to produce a conflict transformation later on. Is it considered as conflict transformation?

I agree that sometimes dialogue and conflict negotiation has been used to rubber-stamp some of the already decided political choices. These are the politics of conflict and peace. However, the outcomes of these processes are not sustainable and may create even more complicated matters. This is the case of the several cease-fire agreements that broke. As a matter of fact, respecting cease-fire agreements by the parties in conflicts is exceptional.

 

  1. obliging a party to agree through lobbying and advocacy and isolating one party is it conflict transformation?

Obligating a party to agree through lobbying and advocacy and isolating one party is not genuine and effective conflict transformation. Peace must be accepted and not imposed or obligated.

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About Rita Chahwan

ريتا بولس شهوان، صحافية وباحثة صدر لها عدد من الكتب منها "الكويت وإرادة الاستقلال في الوثائق العثمانية" و "ماذا فعل مدحت باشا في الخليج"(ذات السلاسل) وعملت في عدد من الصحف والمواقع الالكترونية العربية. تلقت تدريبات دولية على الاستقصاء وتخصصت في الاستقصاء الاجتماعي – الاقتصادي كما تولي اهمية كبيرة للشأن السياسي.

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