violent due to their opinion? taking away their rights isn’t the way

only the governmental institution decide who is criminal or not who is involved in criminal acts and terrorist. if a Journalist or a social activist is annoying you with his activism that doesn’t make him a Criminal. on that will answer the Executive Director of the Nordic center for conflict transformation Naoufal Abboud


1- What kind of layers and disciplines could be needed to solve conflicts? how to transform what is violent into peaceful. can it be done on a level of individuals? if so.. How to define an individual as violent. Defending his rights would be an act of violence?

There is a conflict theory that refer to different use of violence. It’s Johan Galtung theory of violence that look into 3 layers of violence: direct violence, cultural violence and structural violence. This is the violence triangle that we can take into account when looking at the root causes of violence. Violence is not the direct (physical)one only. There is also structural violence, which means denying people’s the infrastructures and means for their development and Life enjoyment, such as an adequate socio-economic situation, investments, business development, proper road infrastructure, hospital, an adequate educational system…. There is also cultural violence which means cultural factors that can lead to violence such as stereotyping the other, the patriarchal society that sideline women from peace process, religious believe that favor one category of people on the other. These are some of the layers.

How to address them? There are several disciplines that can be used to find solutions: economy, sociology, law, psychology, alternative dispute resolution, human rights and justice.


2- If on individual level does it mean following him on a daily basis to stop what is annoying a party and oppressing him? How can be done on a country level on a daily basis.

We have to look into the daily grievances of individuals and groups. These grievances can be the root causes of violence at a later stage. That is why it is important to look into building a culture of everyday peacebuilding and not wait for the fatality to happen and then try to address the “symptoms” of the crisis and not the root causes of the conflict.

In the Arab region, conflicts are more related to grievances in relation to human dignity and rights, as well as a feeling of injustice than about direct violence. This is for example how the Palestinians are excluded from the peace process, have seen their basic rights violated (even according to the international covenant of civil and political rights, as well as the international covenant of economic, social and cultural rights)

What we see now is that the continuous usage of classic conflict tools that focus on addressing a given crisis and not the daily life of individuals and groups. Continuing doing so, won’t resolve the root causes of the conflict

It will only add more conflicts to the existing ones and as the GPI 2019 (global peace index) has mentioned. It stated that violence, tensions and conflicts that were created a decade ago, continue and that a new set of conflicts have emerged.


3-If talking on an individual rights So taking  civil and political rights of one party and social economical and cultural isn’t a way to solve conflicts? If so then is it oppression? on a country level doing so is another kind of war right?

Of course taking away individual and group rights will set the basis for violent conflict. “Silencing” the voices individuals by taking away their civil, political, socio-economic and other rights with the purpose of advancing idea into the “peace” process is an exclusive process and not genuine. This is the kind of asymmetric conflicts in which one party has the power and means and other party is aspiring for an equilibrium. Oppressing the party by trying to put their inherent rights on the table of negotiation is violence in itself.


About Rita Chahwan

ريتا بولس شهوان، صحافية وباحثة ساهمت في 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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