Internal Conflict of the Procrastinating Prince in Hamlet

 The nature of drama consists of the weaving of conflict throughout it. Without conflict, a work of dramatic literature suffers from a lack of effective plot development or flow and the inability to capture the interest of readers. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet creates an inward conflict of Man vs. Self that focuses on Hamlet’s desire to avenge his father as he grapples with his own internal dilemmas. Internally, Hamlet’s seeming fear of action results from his confusion between the expectations of the Ghost and his religion. He wants to avenge his father’s death, but questions whether or not the Ghost is truly his father. Hamlet demonstrates that he is unable to fulfill the ghost’s demand for vengeance as he is also struggling with his love for his mother. On the one hand, he truly loves his mother; on the other, he is angered by her hasty marriage to Claudius. He is also facing trouble dealing with Ophelia’s betrayal. Again, he loves her but is disgusted by her behavior: her deception in returning his tokens of affection and her unwillingness to be honest with him reveal her betrayal. For all of this, he reacts violently and cruelly, and doubts his own decision-making. In all, Hamlet’s internal conflicts send him into a fit of confusion and depression, leaving him unable to fulfill the Ghost’s request of revenge.

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A sense of religious conscience is seen at work in Hamlet as it becomes a major source of internal conflict within the protagonist. Hamlet’s hesitation in avenging his father’s death comes from his uncertainty regarding his religion and extreme fear of his own condamnation to hell. Although Shakespeare is vague in his references toward religion in the play, it can be said that Hamlet is indeed religious. During the Ghost and Hamlet’s conversation, the Ghost is made to represent Roman Catholicism and Hamlet Protestantism. The Ghost seems to be stuck in some type of Purgatory, “Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, / And for the day confin’d to fast in fires, / Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature / Are burnt and purg’d away” (I.v. 10-14). According to the Catholic church, “Purgatory” can be defined as a state in which souls who have died must repent their sins in hopes of one day attaining eternal peace in heaven. It can be said that Hamlet’s father is religious as Shakespeare writes that he went to his death “unhouseled”, meaning without benefit of the Holy Spirit and Eucharist. It is likely that Hamlet’s father passed down these religious values to Hamlet himself. However, Hamlet becomes crippled by religious confrontation when he shows that he is unable to distinguish the ghost between the devil, an angel or his true father by asking which religious realm it is from saying, “Be thou a spirit of health, or a goblin damn’d / Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell” (I.iv.42-44). When analyzing this, it is unsure whether Hamlet is Roman Catholic like his father. It is a possibility that the Catholic Church cannot provide Hamlet with the secure religious identity that he longs for. Hamlet’s internal religious battle becomes clear when looking closely at his studies in Wittenberg. As a student, it is most likely that Hamlet is Protestant since Wittenberg is home to Martin Luther’s ninety Five Theses and the Protestant movement. Furthermore, Hamlet’s inner turmoil worsens when Claudius is seen praying for forgiveness of his foul murder. By this time, Hamlet is at his highest point of religious uncertainty asking, “Be thou a spirit of health, or a goblin damn’d / Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell”(I.iv.43-44). As he contemplates stabbing Claudius, his revenge is one again stifled as he does not want to kill the king while he is asking for forgiveness by God. He does not want to give him the opportunity to be forgiven and sent to heaven or be in purgatory with his father. This shows that Hamlet may believe in purgatory after the apparition of the ghost in the form of his father that he previously encountered. To drive Hamlet’s inner conflict further, he faces the judgements of his own religion as he grapples with the pressure put upon him to kill another man to avenge his father. He wonders if he can kill another man, and still attain peace in heaven with God. This ultimately becomes a major source in Hamlet’s demise as he is unable to kill the king. Once taken out of the world of religion he is finally able to fulfill his revenge. After figuring out the king’s plan to kill him, Hamlet in a fit of rage sees his dying mother at the hands of Claudius and is no longer affected by religious barriers. Finally, he is able to kill the king and make amends with his mother and friends, but quickly turns back to religion saying “Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee” as he slowly dies” (V.ii.325)

Hamlet seems to be delaying his revenge due to his confusion surrounding his love for his mother, but also his hatred for her betrayal of King Hamlet. Hamlet’s source of inner conflict is expressed when he utters “a little more kin and less than kind” (I.ii.65), revealing that it lies with his inability to understand his mother’s new relationship with Claudius and her betrayal to his father. Hamlet expresses his extreme agony towards Gertrude’s lack of grief towards her husband’s death and her hasty marriage to Claudius, his brother. As the play progresses, it can be seen that although Hamlet grieves the death of his father and places much of the blame on Gertrude, he still truly loves her. His indecision in killing Claudius and avenging his father comes from his innate Oedipus nature. He cannot kill Claudius, because he identifies with him. Although he hates his uncle and wishes to kill him, he is jealous in an oedipal way due to his love for his mother which becomes a major source of inner conflict. In a discussion with his mother and uncle , Hamlet states:

Fie on ’t, ah fie! ’Tis an unweeded garden

That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature

Possess it merely. That it should come to this.

But two months dead — nay, not so much, not two.

So excellent a king, that was to this

Hyperion to a satyr. So loving to my mother

is it her face too roughly! (I.i.135-141)

Hamlet is expressing his disaffection towards his mother’s actions but pushes it aside allowing it to fester. He begrudges his mother for replacing the king so quickly, but also for taking away his birthright; his inheritance of the throne. Hamlet does not see Claudius as a legitimate heir to the throne. He not only wants to take is father’s place as king, but also in regards to his mother. At the end of the play, even though Hamlet lashes out at Gertrude in a fit of rage at the events taking place, she still remains faithful to him by protecting him from the king. Although her love for Claudius and betrayal of Hamlet’s father is immoral, Hamlet is able to forgive her for this in her final dying moments, revealing his true love for his mother that he struggled with throughout the play.

A final significant source of conflict in the play results from Hamlet’s constant changing perception of his lover, Ophelia. Hamlet is confused regarding his love for Ophelia as at times he is cruel and insults her character, where as other times he will speak of his deep longing for her love. Before his father’s death, Hamlet is madly in love with Ophelia, sending her love letters and tokens of affection. Ophelia finds herself stuck between two opposite poles, her father and brother and Hamlet. She believes that Hamlet does truly love her, but her father disagrees saying “Affection! Pooh, you speak like a green girl, Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. Do you believe his “tenders,” as you call them?” (I.iii.101-104). He believes that his daughter is too pure and inexperienced to be involved with Hamlet, who merely a sees her as a sexual object. At the instructions of her father, Ophelia returns all of Hamlet’s tokens of affections and reads his love letters aloud to the court. Because of this, Hamlet’s internal conflict not only results in his lack of action but also due to the actions of the women around him. During his “antic disposition”, Hamlet feels a great sense of abandonment and grief towards the woman in his life. This causes him to insult women as a whole and to dismiss that he ever loved Ophelia saying:

You should not have believ’d me, for virtue cannot so

inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I lov’d you not . . .

Get thee to a nunn’ry, why woulds’t thou be a breeder of

Sinners? (I.i.117-121)

Hamlet denies Ophelia who insists that he once loved her, by saying that he did not. Using a metaphor, Hamlet refers to his old feelings of doubt to “old stock”, referring to the nature of all men and their ability to lie. Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery, that is seen as both a place of pure woman who give their bodies but also has a double meaning of “whore house” which Hamlet is referring to. By this he is describing Ophelia as both pure and impure and insulting her womanhood. This preoccupation and hatred for women is what drives Hamlet’s distrust and inner conflict. Hamlet is in a constant battle between the woman around him and his desire to avenge his father’s death. He truly loved Ophelia, but convinces himself that he could never love the woman that betrayed him, leading him to inner turmoil.

Throughout Hamlet, conflict become the nature of Shakespeare’s literary work. Hamlet’s major inward conflict is derived from his confusion regarding the apparition witnessed, provoking religious confusion and surrounding his mission to avenge his father. Because of Hamlet’s repressed love for his mother and desire to be his uncle, He suffers from a Oedipal complex that stifles his revenge and results in his demise. Finally it is his conflicting feelings of betrayal and love towards Ophelia and woman in general that send him into fits of internal conflict. Without conflict such as this, a play lacks movement or flow. Hamlet’s consistent inner and outer conflicts throughout the play drive the plot forward, keeping the interest of spectators.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Harcourt Canada, 2003.


Conflict between Freedom and Determinism

Freedom, Determinism & Responsibility
– Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying conflict between freedom and determinism and the various options for resolving that conflict.
– Demonstrate my own thinking about the problem, must show that I have made a determined effort to grapple with the problem.
– Essay is written for a cold audience; they’re smart, but they have no prior knowledge of what I’m talking about.
– Try to organize your essay so that each part of it builds up a defence of your position.
The idea that human beings exercise free will seems commonsensical; that is, we understand that when we act, we were capable of acting otherwise than we did. It may come as a surprise to hear that this is actually a hotly contested claim, and it has been subjected to philosophical scrutiny for thousands of years. The position that I will be defending is called hard determinism, a view that up until several months ago, I was blissfully unaware even existed. Hard determinism is the view that humans exist within the causal loop of the universe, that our actions are inextricably bound to the laws of nature. It proposes that human behaviour is caused by an individual’s personality, desires and values, but that their personality, desires and values are caused by external antecedent factors over which the individual has no control. These factors can range anywhere from genetic predisposition to their upbringing to the cultural norms of the society they happened to be born in. In short, hard determinism rejects the notion of human agency. The objective of my paper is two-fold:
1) To make the argument that the thesis of determinism does not undermine our every day conceptualization of the will, but simply proposes an explanation for the cause of what we call moral behaviour.
2) To make the argument that the thesis of free will and moral responsibility does not cohere with the thesis of determinism; or in other words, to attack the compatibilist/soft-determinist view.
Different interpretations of determinism’s truth exist. So I guess here I would outline specifically what the different views of determinism are, just like that dude’s paper LOL. I would identify mine and elaborate on the arguments. This definition admits a “will” or a desire-that-produces-action, but it admits no “free will” or free desire.
Libertarians subscribe to the notion that human actions are uncaused and undetermined. They operate on the premise that humans are capable of originating acts, initiating a sequence of events, self-governing and thus we are independent of natural causal chains.
Clearly formulate and explain the position you hold. In order to defend your position of hard determinism, I need to undermine their defence of freedom. Libertarians attack determinism by making a case for the exceptions they’re pointing to. Their only point of attack to make a case of their counter example; I need to prove their counter-example is not true. You can point to the sorts of suppositions that libertarians are making about human beings. Question the plausibility of those suppositions; the idea that we’re autonomous, the idea that we exist somehow outside of the causal loop.

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I also argue against the claim of human uniqueness held by Libertarian philosophers, so look at Chisholm and look at Lewis, who kind of touches on that. Libertarians argue that humans are capable of originating acts, initiating a sequence of events, self-governing and thus we are independent of natural causal chains. Libertarians maintain that freedom and moral responsibility are logically incompatible with determinism. They believe that for humans to be free, there must be some instances, fundamentally, human action, which are not the effects of causal antecedents. But if this were true, then the human will must be subject to a special kind of explanation. Libertarians seem to support partial determinism, which suggests a break in the ongoing process of cause and effect.
For instance, history is not characterized by a linear progression, whereby one cause produces certain effects and so on ad infinitum. Instead, life can be described as a vast tree with an infinite number of branches, which divide into numerous possible directions. Yet, for human action to transcend causal determinism one of two possibilities must be fulfilled: i) events themselves must be uncaused and therefore random, or ii) particular events must be causi sui (the cause of itself).
Refuting the compatibilist/soft-determinist poses more of a challenge, as they share common ground with a hard determinist. Outline the main points and objectives of my paper and establish which of the 3 classical positions I hold. In this case, it is hard determinism. As such, I seek to prove that the thesis of free will does not and cannot cohere with the thesis of determinism.
I also argue that the thesis of determinism does not undermine our every day conceptualization of the “will,” it simply “proposes the source of what causes us to fall back on moral behaviour.” Then why do we act morally? Because it is evolutionarily useful for us to do so. Ruse says that true morality developed over time evolutionarily. Talk about monkeys nigga lol. We’ll see how that works out. For both of the following paragraphs, draw specific arguments from the readings, explain those arguments in my own words, critically assess the arguments and make clear why you accept or reject those arguments.
It’s harder to defend yourself against soft determinism. Give the main argument or arguments in its defence.
State as clearly and forcefully as you can the main objections which would be raised by those holding the other positions. So here I can explain libertarianism and soft determinism. Rebut those objections. Libertarians argue that humans are capable of originating acts, initiating a sequence of events, self-governing and thus we are independent of natural causal chains.
Libertarians maintain that freedom and moral responsibility are logically incompatible with determinism. They believe that for humans to be free, there must be some instances, fundamentally, human action, which are not the effects of causal antecedents. But if this were true, then the human will must be subject to a special kind of explanation. Libertarians seem to support partial determinism, which suggests a break in the ongoing process of cause and effect.
For instance, history is not characterized by a linear progression, whereby one cause produces certain effects and so on ad infinitum. Instead, life can be described as a vast tree with an infinite number of branches, which divide into numerous possible directions. Yet, for human action to transcend causal determinism one of two possibilities must be fulfilled: i) events themselves must be uncaused and therefore random, or ii) particular events must be causi sui (the cause of itself).
Human independence in the strong sense for our lives to be meaningful and important. How do you hold people morally responsible in a deterministic world? Focus on the deliberative process; there’s no compulsion or constraint, then we’re freely deliberating and thus can be held morally responsible. Libertarians often worry about “objective worth.”
Look at Kane in Fischer. It’s true that all of our behaviour is causally determined. Look at Widerker and how he talks about how you’d act if there was an announcement that the universe is deterministic. Would you feel like your life is meaningless?
A third argument for incompatibilism was formulated by Carl Ginet in the 1960s and has received much attention in the modern literature. The simplified argument runs along these lines: if determinism is true, then we have no control over the events of the past that determined our present state and no control over the laws of nature. Since we can have no control over these matters, we also can have no control over the consequences of them. Since our present choices and acts, under determinism, are the necessary consequences of the past and the laws of nature, then we have no control over them and, hence, no free will.
Opposition to determinism promotes that without belief in uncaused free will, humans will not have reason to behave ethically. Determinism, however, does not negate emotions and reason of a person, but simply proposes the source of what causes us to fall back on moral behavior. Anyone susceptible to immoral actions from the idea of determinism was susceptible before and does not hold strong moral judgment prior to the idea.
Determinism implies the moral differences between two people are caused by hereditary predispositions and environmental effects and events. Simply because the cause of a person’s morality (depending on the branch of determinism) is not entirely themselves, this does not mean determinists are against punishment of people who commit crimes: independent of moral judgement, punishment can still serve to modify a person’s behaviour.
Another point of view is that if determinism is true, and free will is not, then morality and ethics are meaningless concepts. Morality and ethics require that a choice can be made in order for these concepts to have any meaning. But if a person has no choice, in the case of a deterministic world with no free will, then it does not make sense to say whether individuals can make more (or less) ethical or moral choices, because there are no options available to them except the one they must deterministically follow.
I will use the words determinism and causality interchangeably to mean approximately the same thing, with determinism referring to the more general state of the world and causality referring to more specific causal relationships.
On the other hand, Sam has argued that morality can be studied scientifically. This would require operationally defining “morality” (Harris suggests a definition akin to “a behavior’s probability of maximizing human wellbeing” but the definition itself is not the focus of his argument). Harris goes on to suggest that, given that human brains have certain properties, we could go on to identify objectively superior moral frameworks; that is, multiple “optimized” ethical systems may emerge that satisfy our definition of moral.

United Nations in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

What was the role that the United Nations (UN) played in the conflict between Palestine and Israel since the 1940s, up until the beginning of the 21st century? This is a topic that particularly interests me as an IB student because of its origins and its current development. On a personal level, I am interested in the topic because of my childhood and adolescence in the United Arab Emirates, where I came across a number of interpretations regarding the subject. I feel that it is an important topic as, growing up, I made subconscious links between world issues and this symbolic conflict. These links are strengthened by world politics today.

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I will make use of a number of primary and secondary sources to research the question, including a variety of internet sources and books to back support my claims. One particular book caught my attention during my studies of the topic. It is Noam Chomsky’s “What We Say Goes”. It is a collection of interviews with different journalists at different times, in which they ask him about his thoughts on the current political and military situation in the USA and other countries around the world. He gives educated insight on dilemmas that the world faces today, with particular reference to the Palestine-Israel conflict.
The conclusion I reached when writing this essay is that this conflict cannot possibly be resolved by simple observers of the situation. I feel that quick UN intervention could have been helpful to the people but due to outside factors, this was not possible. The wounds endured by both Palestine and Israel would take years to heal if, hypothetically speaking, the conflict were to be resolved now. Unfortunately, these wounds are constantly reopened and lead to more pain.
This topic is particularly important in modern day society, as I feel that it is a potential disaster zone. The history behind the Israel-Palestinian conflict is truly fascinating as it relates a message of passion and honor to people’s faiths and beliefs. The fact that this conflict has turned Jerusalem, the place that historically has the most religious significance, into one of the most dangerous cities in the world is one that I deplore. How can something so precious in humanity’s entire heritage be used as a message of violence and seemingly irresolvable conflict? I have decided to study the UN’s take on the situation and how the organization has attempted to deal with the problems at hand. I find that the decisions made by the UN are generally viable alternatives to the conflicts that cause it to intervene in different countries. My question; ‘What was the role that the United Nations played in the conflict between Palestine and Israel since the 1940s, up until the beginning of the 21st century?” is focused at finding out why, with all the UN’s decision making, a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine has not yet been reached. Having grown up in a young Arab state, the United Arab Emirates, I feel I can see the point of view of the Israelis, while on the other hand, having listened to the Arab point cause, I understand the anger that the Palestinians and other Arab states must feel towards the Jewish state. The conflict is not only over land, but over faith as well, which is extremely dangerous, for there is nothing worse than a holy war in my opinion.
Origin of UN Intervention
After the Second World War, the creation of the state of Israel was followed my numerous cases of aggression towards this state as a protest against its existence in the area. Palestinian refugees wanted to return to their homeland after the 1947-48 war between Arab and Jewish communities in the area, six months before the separation of the British mandate of Palestine. The UN passed Resolution 194  , which gave Palestinian refugees the right to return, in addition to them receiving compensations for their losses. The UN Partition Plan was drawn up under Resolution 181  in November 1947, giving recommending the separation of the region into an Arab state of Palestine, a Jewish state of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. The establishment of the state of Israel was declared on the 14th of May 1948, which was followed by an all out attack by surrounding Arab countries in support of their Palestinian counterparts. This was the start of a long and painful struggle for both Israel and Palestine, a conflict which has yet to be resolved, with its violence and extremism only increasing in later years.
UN involvement Pre-Six Day War
It seems that, after the partition plan and the creation of Israel, the UN was not heavily involved in the conflict, nor was it particularly concerned with it in terms of political and humanitarian aid to the region. The concern was that war would occur between Egypt and Israel, as Egypt opposed Israel’s foreign policies. The UN placed peacekeepers on the border between both countries and the UN Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) took care of refugees until they could return home. These were the same refugees that had been mentioned in Resolution 194. This can be explained by the dominant European and American powers’ interests in the region after the Second World War. These powers were leading the Security Council and had the power to prevent extra UN involvement in solving the conflict. These powers supported the Israeli state and would not openly admit to supporting their cause because of the huge number of refugees fleeing Palestine. Noam Chomsky says in his book “What We Say Goes” that the USA saw, and still sees, a potential US powerbase in Israel.  From here, we can argue that the Security Council’s leading powers did not allow for the UN to take a more significant action.
As tensions increased between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, the US supplied the Jewish state with advanced military equipment in 1966,  for it felt that in order to keep its ally in the Middle East, it should at least be able to defend itself against possible and likely invasion from neighboring countries. James Feron referred to Israel as “a first line to stave off America’s direct involvement”.  He implied that the USA realized that the situation would be hard to handle and that the local Middle Eastern countries would not take kindly to another foreign power intervening in their affairs after the mandates had been given self-determination. The tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors culminated to the point where Nasser demanded the removal of UN troops from Egypt and closed the Straits of Tiran to Israel, leading to the latter bombing the Egyptian air force in Cairo, sparking the Six Day War in 1967. By the end of this war, Israel had taken over the rest of the Palestinian land, including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, including the Golan Heights in Syria and Sinai in Egypt.  Over a million more Palestinians found themselves under Israeli authority while US-Israeli relations eased greatly.
UN Involvement Post-Six Day War
The UN reacted to this by passing Resolution 242 which condemned the actions taken by Israel. It called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces in the occupied territories, yet made little reference to the Palestinian refugees. Years later, this would cause more tensions between the two states, as allowing that Palestinian refugees back in to their former lands would mean relocating thousands of Israelis who had made their homes there. In the case of Egyptian Sinai, eleven years after the invasion, it was given back to Egypt and thousands of Israelis had to move to make way for the Egyptians to return to their lands. The emergence of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) encouraged the UN to repeatedly vote for a peace conference between the conflicting countries under its supervision. The PLO was included for it was a viable organization and had some potential in aiding the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The constant US VETO meant that this conference did not take place. In the midst of the Cold War, the UN was, technically speaking, controlled by the USA and USSR, always at odds as to what to do next.  
In 1970, Nasser’s successor, al-Sadat, began reconciliation with the USA, for he strongly believed that it was the only power which was able to convince Israel to return Sinai to Egypt. As a sign of good faith to the American power, he demanded the withdrawal of all Soviet troops from Egypt. This was not enough to get the USA’s support however, as American diplomats did not take kindly to the Egyptians, who began to believe that war was the only solution. The US was starting to feel that it would lose its Arab supporters in the region, which was troubling as it had a steady relation with OPEC. Saudi Arabia in May 1973 signaled that this could not continue as long as USA so obviously backed Israel as local Arab powers would not be willing to support their enemy’s friend. This was agreed with American oil companies, who recognized the huge financial benefits of having a good relation with a country rich in oil. The economic superiority that the USA would gain over Europe would be huge and would allow for massive American interests development in Arab countries. All of a sudden, Israel found itself being pressured by its long time ally to leave the occupied territories. Soon after that, on 6th October 1973, Egypt and Syria worked in a coalition against Israel to take back their lost territories. OPEC soon decided to cut oil production by 25% and put a prohibition on US oil shipments.
UN actions after 1973
The UN Security Council called for peace talks between USA and the USSR as tensions were rising over USSR’s determination of protecting Egypt against Israeli aggression. The oil embargo set on the USA by OPEC was a big stressor for the US, so it worked with the USSR to call for a ceasefire between Israel and the other warring countries. All were invited to the conferences. The USSR had not stopped its communication with Egypt, even after the expulsion of its troops, for it felt that it was a country that could counter the US’s advances in the region through Israel. Naturally, the peace talks achieved little due to differed interests between each country and the US sponsored peace agreements between Israel and the Arab nations without the aid of the UN.
Once again, these talks did not include Palestine, which resulted in huge international support for the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat. He appealed to the UN General Assembly and called for a recognition of the right of Palestinian right to self-determination. This, in addition to giving the PLO an observer’s status within the UN, was granted in a vote with an overwhelming for the Palestinian cause. Only USA and Israel, as well as two other countries voted against the recognition. It was a good move on Arafat’s part to go to the General Assembly, as, had he gone to the Security Council, the USA would have surely vetoed his initiative.
The peace talks sponsored by the USA between Israel and Egypt ended very well, with Sinai being returned to Egypt and the later signing a non-aggression pact in 1975. The installments, however, were slowed until 1977, when al-Sadat travelled to Jerusalem to finalize the evacuation of Israeli residents from Sinai. The UN was not needed in the agreements, which the US took advantage of by moving quickly to take control of the diplomatic situation. It hoped that other countries would follow suit and move to make peace negotiations with Israel after Egypt and Israel had signed the Camp David Accords, but this did not happen, for the Arab nations would only negotiate peace terms under UN auspices.
In June 1980, the European common market supported Israeli security but this time included the Palestinian cause in their discussions. They stressed that Palestine had the right to self-determination and called for the PLO’s involvement in a peace talk. This was issued in the Venice Declaration, to which the USA retaliated by stressing on its opposition of the PLO, causing Europe to pull out of Middle Eastern diplomatic maneuvers. The UN reacted quickly to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1978, passing Resolution 425 which called for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the country. This was done, however Israel ignored that Resolution in 1982, when it invaded again, under anti-PLO pretences. It withdrew eighteen years later.
UN and the Oslo Process
UN exclusion continued throughout the 80s and 90s in Israel-Palestine peace talks. In participated in a few minor international conflicts but could do nothing against the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip and West Bank. The Oslo Declaration of Principles was signed in 1994, after which the General Assembly discovered that the Resolutions made by the UN regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict were to be made obsolete by the US as negotiations were taking place. Israel bombed a UN refugee camp in Lebanon, wounding and killing many. The report issued to the General Assembly caused a lot of anger towards Israel from other countries, as it showed Israel’s non-commitment to the United Nations. Western European powers were invited to spend billions on its infrastucture. They were still kept out of any political or military decisions regarding the opposed peoples.
UN and Camp David Summit
By 2000, no progress had been made regarding the most important problems facing Israel and Palestine during the Oslo interim period. Problems such as the Palestinian border and state, what to do about Jerusalem, Israeli settlers and Palestinian refugees had yet to be resolved and smaller issues had yet to be resolved, despite the promise of a quick solution. Gaza still had problems with its air and seaports as well as security arrangements. American president Clinton, taking the initiative for a resolution to the problem, invited both parties once again to Camp David to discuss the issues at hand and possible answers to the existing problems. Discussion failed and the situation worsened when Ariel Sharon declared Temple Mount to be under complete Israeli control. Temple Mount is the third holiest site for Muslims and first holiest for the Jews. This infuriated Palestinians, who protested and were shot down by Israeli forces during a march the following day.
This was a signal to the UN and other countries in the region that the USA’s control of Israel had grown weaker over the past years. If Israel dared to shoot down protesters, it was a sign that it was confident enough without the USA’s backing, even with their disapproval, to decide on its own actions without first consulting its closest ally. Outside powers suddenly came into play, once again opening diplomatic relations with Israel.
The second Intifada  escalated and the Arab League converged in Cairo in October 2000. This was a huge change, as the League wanted to prove that the Palestinian cause was more important than the Gulf War. This was a cry against US dominance in the area, as Saddam Hussein, Iraqi president at the time, was invited to the summit. Anti-USA/Israel protests broke out in Middle Eastern capitals, although their governments still relied on American aid for financial or military reasons. Egypt and Jordan, being the only two Arab countries bound to Israel by non-aggression or peace treaties, were the only stable countries in the region. Jordan signed a new trade agreement with the US in mid-crisis.
The summit’s statement was not revolutionary as it did not bring any particularly new solutions to the crisis, albeit the language used. It announced full support for the Palestinians and wanted to ask the UN Security Council to put Israel in front of a war crimes tribunal for the killings it had initiated. Efforts of peace-making with Israel were stopped by Arab nations, although leaving Egypt and Jordan out of this call, as they were the countries with the most ties to Israel. The most impressive achievement of the summit was the accumulation of $2 billion to donate to the Palestinians to support families of Intifada casualties and to protect the Arab and Muslim quarters of Jerusalem.
Outside Intervention
Outside protests in favor of a change in the Israeli-Palestinian situation began to appear. Where the USA had previously dominated diplomatic maneuvers in the area, the world was seeing a sudden influx of previously unseen intervention, such as a large number of foreign power leaders in the region; the most noticeable of these being the renewed foreign interests in the region. Jacques Chirac (French president and chief of the European Union), Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov, Janvier Solena (EU envoy) were all hurrying to get to the scene as fast as possible. Even the UN Secretary General himself, Kofi Annan, was involved in negotiations leading to the Sharm al-Sheikh summit. The USA was still the leading power in the negotiations, with President Clinton often checking up on the situation as regularly as possible. Kofi Annan, as well as other outside parties were looked down upon by the USA as they were seen as nuisances in the American attempt to regain control over Israel as it once had. That is not to say that the control was absolute, however it did assure many US interests in the Middle East, with Palestine being the least of their worries. The newcomers had to gain Israel’s acceptance in order to be considered for peace talks or other conferences regarding the problem in Palestine and with other countries in the region.
Annan certainly was partly responsible for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon, which meant that this new openness towards other nations was genuine on Israel’s part. He also convinced UN members to accept Israel as a member of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in the General Assembly. Membership of this group, or one similar, is required to gain consideration from the Security Council as well as in the obtaining of other UN perks. Israel appreciated Annan’s efforts in his aid of giving it such help as a mediator.
Growing UN Involvement within the Conflict
USA’s diminished control over Israel’s actions and over the Middle East is a crucial factor for the growing intervention of outside powers, as a result of a lessening amount of options as to what to do about the crisis. Protests in Arab countries led to worsening relations with the US as they showed clear signs of defiance; the most obvious of those being the landing of planes in and out of Baghdad, despite the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the USA. Palestine refused to stop the second Intifada and the propagation of pro-Palestinian media, namely Al-Jazeera, gave people another insight on the power struggle between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. This limited the potential of the USA to intervene as effectively as it had in the past. Kofi Annan appeared with a solution after three Israeli soldiers were kidnapped on the Lebanese border.
Annan led UN efforts to achieve peace in the region for the Arab countries, urging all governments to follow the plans drawn up by the UN. He hoped for lasting peace and understanding, urging the Palestinians to accept the Israeli ceasefire terms, which include the demand for an international commission of inquiry, allowing for the UN to gather information on the general affairs of Palestine. The UN recently recognized Palestine as an official state, making it much easier for Palestinian economy to develop.
Diminutive UN Involvement in the Conflict
In order to maintain control over the diplomatic situation in Israel, it was essential for the US to disregard established international understandings. The UN attempted to solve the crisis numerous times by calling for international peace conferences, based on existing UN Resolutions dealing with Israel and Palestine, such as Resolutions 194 and 242 amongst others. Israel refused to take part and the US backed its decision.
The US referred to Resolution 242 when speaking of a peace process and a viable option to a unanimous agreement in the region, all the while keeping Israel-Palestine interaction and diplomacy under its control. It assured that it was a medium for communication between the two peoples, while at the same time backing Israel’s major moves on Arab countries. Requirements in international law such as the agreements made at the Geneva Conventions, which required Israel to protect civilians of the occupied territory and illegalize the settling of Israeli nationals into occupied land, as well as pre-existing UN Resolutions were largely ignored to accommodate for the American sponsored equal opportunity peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians to come to an agreement as to how to resolve the conflict. Naturally, neither power would come to an agreement by themselves, even with the USA as a mediator  in the talks, for their aims were too different. The main disagreements were over what do with about the refugees and how to deal with Jerusalem, both cultures regarding the city as a place of piousness and sanctity. Neither side would agree to stop the bombings as long as an agreement in favor of themselves was not reached.
The US-Israeli coalition stated in 1991 at the Madrid talks that it would not allow the UN to take part in the crisis. The UN was ignored again at the Oslo Process. The USA also informed the General Assembly that Madeleine Albright, who had warned the UN that the US planned on ignoring the Resolutions passed concerning Israel-Palestine, that the dismantlement of a consensus regarding Palestine was her primary objective. At the same time, final status issues were simply disregarded for at least seven years. Signatories of the Geneva Conventions came together in 1999 to examine Israel’s dedication and following of the Conventions. It was an inconclusive meeting, for it lasted ten minutes to avoid angering the new Israeli government at the time. The list goes on.
The necessity of returning the crisis to UN supervision was growing essential, as there were rising numbers of casualties caused by the conflict, a strict ongoing siege and serious military occupation of Palestine. The UN Resolutions remained largely ignored and people called for a new, UN-led peace process. The US interests in the region, by this point were mainly focused on oil and coming to terms with governments in the Arabian Gulf, turning its attention away from the Israel-Palestine crisis for a time.
UN involvement has not been consistent since the intensification of the crisis in 1948. It has been faced with numerous difficult situations, to which it could do little or nothing. The reason for this would be the already heavy involvement of the United States, due to its interests in Israel and securing a powerful ally in a region rich in oil and other resources. However limited the United Nations’ physical intervention was, the resolutions passed regarding the crisis seemed reasonable and would certainly have helped to deal with the situation, had they been adhered to by the countries concerned. The recent recognition of the State of Palestine by the UN is a huge step forward in the struggle for peace in the region. It gives the Palestinian cause more weight when appealing to the United Nations and will surely give it more international support. The problem for the UN when getting involved in this conflict is that it is such a long lasting struggle, with horrors caused by one side towards the other still fresh in people’s minds, as is the case for many long standing conflicts. The UN has made several accusations regarding Israel, claiming a “grave and massive violations of human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel”.
Victimizing the Palestinians will not help them in their fight against occupation. “Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus”  yet it has never been understood, it seems, by Israel or the USA. If I had a say in the situation, I would draw up a new partition plan giving Israel access to the northern part of the region, given to Palestine in the original partition plan, giving it access to the sea. The countries should then be split more or less diagonally while still leaving a corridor for the Palestinians to access Jerusalem. Unlike the original plan, I believe that a country is stronger if it is not split into different regions as presented by the UN. Jerusalem should have been made a dual-state capital, forcing Muslims and Jews to work together for the benefit of the city, while keeping its religious importance intact. Had the plan been drawn better, I believe that the conflict could have been easily solved. Persuading other Arab states to recognize Israel would have only been a matter of time, for they would have followed the Palestinian example and accepted its right to exist.

Role of Church in Ethnic Conflict

Write about a recent ethnic conflict in your context showing the role of social, political and religious institutions in the conflict. Discuss what the Church has done (or should be doing) to ease ethnic hostilities.
Despite the persistent contribution of governments worldwide to ensure that there is a balanced socio-economic development in all spheres in the society, social inequality is still rife and embedded in all aspects of social development. However, it is worse in developing countries and highly manifested in ethnicity. In multi- ethnic communities, ethnic identity is an additional variable in social-economic development over and above those normally present in the more homogenous communities. The role of ethnicity in development can be negative or positive and it can also be a problem or a potentially rewarding challenge. Unfortunately it is the negative aspect of ethnicity that has been publicized or researched.

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According to the Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary, the term ethnic is defined as that which is of a national, racial or tribal group that has a common cultural tradition or of a particular ethnic group. Brown (2000) defines an ethnic group as that community which claims common ancestry and sees the proof of this in the fact that its members display distinctive attributes relating to language, religion, and physiognomy or homeland origin. Young (1994) argued that ethnicity is a concept that has no significance in isolation. His thesis is that any analytical attempt should begin from the premise that ethnicity is a relational concept. According to Young and Turner (1985), ‘we’ can only find relevance in ‘they’. In most cases those who define themselves as ‘we’ ascribe to themselves positive attributes and give negative and disparaging ones to the ‘they’ group.
Positive ethnicity refers to the constructive social-cultural identification with and a sense of belonging to a particular ethic group. Negative ethnicity mostly in the form of tribalism or ethnocentrism is the pathological and destructive nature of ethnicity. It is when a particular ethnic community considers itself superior to other communities. This form of hatred or repulsion of particular communities or individuals’ of a particular community is referred to as ethnic bigotry. Ethnic bigotry manifests in various ways including speech, actions, and subtle or hidden repulsion of outsiders. It may also result in ethnic tensions or protracted physical or non-physical conflict between ethnic groups (TJRC, 2013).
Kenya, which is a multi-ethnic society with over 42 ethnic communities, is an invention of colonialists, an invention which seemed to have been flawed from the start and hence was a crisis in the making because the invented territory brought together different ethnic communities, some of which had little or nothing in common culturally. In Kenya, the dominance of ethnic affiliations comes to the fore in almost all aspects of human life. In cases where ethnic affiliations are strong like in politics, no one would like to think freely. People always imagine that ethnic based thinking is the solution to every issue of concern but it is worth noting that such ethnic based thinking is a big challenge and threat to development. For instance in Kenya, the majority of the citizens who qualify for opportunities in government and state run organizations are never considered. Instead, politicians practice nepotism and those who wield power fill the positions in their ministries or state run organizations with their relatives and constituents who are close associates.
In Kenya, negative ethnicity has contributed to ethnic tensions which have culminated into violence. Proximate causes of violence are intrinsically related to democratization and the electoral cycle; its roots are to be found in recent times and are politically instigated, and not primordial. As the move to multi-partyism became increasingly probable, senior politicians in many political rallies issued inflammatory statements and utterances, asking for people to go back to their ancestral lands or they be forced out. The advent of the violent ethnic clashes closely followed these rallies. As new political parties emerged, a clear enduring pattern of ethno-regional interests appeared. The violence then in Kenya appeared to be ethnicized expression of political conflict. Ethnicity in this case, was the medium of political violence and not its cause. However, the system once in place, became self-perpetuating for instance it increased the likelihood of future conflict by sharpening ethnic identity and chauvinism, as well as promoting the doctrine that specific region of the Country ‘belonged’ to the groups that ‘originally’ occupied them. This led to coming up of terms such us ‘outsiders’, ‘foreigners’, ‘strangers’ or ‘aliens’, and this is regardless to the legal ownership of land and the constitutional right of all Kenyans to live anywhere of their choosing within their country (Ndegwa, 1997).
Until late 2007, Kenya was considered one of the most stable countries in Africa. It had functioned as East Africa’s financial and communications hub, the headquarters of many international non-governmental organizations and a magnet for tourism. The violence that erupted in the wake of the controversial 2007 presidential election tested Kenya’s political stability more than never before, almost plunging the country into full-blown civil strife. Like a festering wound, it exposed the structural rot embedded in the country’s system. A convergence of irregularities, pertaining to land allocation, an overbearing presidency, a pervasive culture of impunity, and ethnicisation of power, malfeasance and sheer mendacity among both the political elite and the rabble almost pushed Kenya over the precipice. Prior to the 2007 elections, the political elite had been conducting a lot of campaigns, but a closer look at these campaigns revealed that most of it was on ethnicity and the different ethnic identities that exist in the country. It turned out that the political elite had actually exploited the fact of Kenyan different ethnic identities to forward their political agendas.
The disputed 2007 elections spurred outbreaks of violence across the country whose carnage was horrific: 1,500 dead, 3,000 innocent women raped and 300,000 people left internally displaced. Most of this atrocities happened in the first 14 days after the election. The severity of this conflict unfolded in a span of 59 days between the general election day, December 27th, 2007 to February 28th, 2008 when a political compromise was reached. The magnitude of the trauma and structural violence that took place in Kenya after the fourth multi-party general election took both Kenyans and the international community, alike, by surprise (Maupeu 2008). In retrospect, the violence that occurred could not only have been predicted, it could most likely have been prevented.
Social issues which are both cultural and historical factors also played a role in causing the ethnic violence that was witnessed. Social inequality is not only the income gap between the upper and lower class but it also involves differences that exist in terms of access to education, health, employment and infrastructure development, political rights and representation. In Kenya, historical data suggests that public resources such as education facilities, health facilities and services, water, land, employment opportunities and amenities such as shelter, electricity, fuel, and physical infrastructure have tended to be distributed to the elite and those close to political power. For instance, economic growth has largely continued on the lines set by the earlier colonial structure and Kenyanization has radically changed the racial composition of the group of people in the center of power and many of its policies, but has had only limited effect. This extreme social inequality has resulted in differences in regional or geographic wellbeing which apparently coincide with ethnic identities as ethnic groups reside in specified geographical regions in the country.
Economic aspects of life are so dear to all persons. The ethnic violence experienced after the 2007 election also attributed to economic issues. Economic issues include; unequal distribution of resources and scarcity of resources. Ethnic conflicts are also an outcome of unequal economic opportunities. Another cause of the violence was cultural domination together with political suppression. Ethnic groups tend to have perceptions of another ethnic group being favored by the structures in place economically. Marginalization is also another key concept in this context. Kenya has faced a high rate of unequal distribution of resources across ethnic divides. The political ethnic game plays too along economic activities. For example, since independence in Kenya, the Kikuyu has always been granted a huge share of economic infrastructures. Land has been in question ever since. The distribution of the colonial settler land to the local communities in Kenya took and ethnic twist. For instance, in the buildup to the 2007 elections, in some parts of Rift Valley, Kikuyus were told that they will have to vacate their land “before the elections, there were rumors that if Raila won, Kikuyus will have to go” Jane Njoki a resident of Burnt Forest. “When the election results were announced, they started burning our things and beating people because we are Kikuyus” added Njoki.
Economic causes also revolve around appointments into public positions in government. This applies in both age and ethnic grounds. The youth in Kenya feel left out as all key positions are given to ‘older people’. This leaves the youths to be used by interested parties in violent conflicts. They also engage in these violent conflicts to obtain identity and let out their frustrations. Job opportunities are a way to economic welfare. Ethnic based appointments are also a cause of ethnic conflicts in Kenya. The ethnic group in power favors the ethnic community from which the leading individuals hail from. This leaves the other individuals from the other ethnic groups who qualify for the same appointment deprived and feeling left out.
The political factors that cause ethnic conflicts are far more considered than all the other factors in the form of economic and social. Access to political power has, by and large, determined the distribution of socio-economic and political benefits. The old Kenya constitution conferred vast powers to the president including power to allocate by nomination cabinet positions and make appointments to constitutionally protected offices. Regimes therefore entrenched their rule, assigned strategic administrative positions and directed political resources to support the then provinces or ethnic groups. Every political regime tends to allocate more of the national cake to their ethnic group or supporters at the expense of others. When one group is endowed with its interests the other groups feel marginalized and left out thus the urge to speak out by violence upon the explosion of the frustrations from within as witnessed in 2007 post-election violence.
Discriminatory government policies also play a significant role in aggravating ethnic conflicts because the political class in Kenya influences all the other aspects. The politicians formulate, make, implement and amend laws. Distribution of wealth or resources follows the directives of the leaders. This is always the argument behind ethnic conflicts in Kenya whereby the politics play an integral role in driving the nation away from nationhood to negative ethnicity. Such ethnic divisive policies leads to the development of the feelings of being excluded, ignored, and discriminated against on the part of some ethnic communities. Kenyan politics are based on ethnic aspirations by political parties and also the regime power. Political alliances are made with regard to gaining ethnic support often resulting to formation of ethnically instigated opposition political parties to find ways and means to access political power as was witnessed in the build up to the 2007 presidential elections.
Political inequalities also apply to the youth in Kenya and it is a factor for ethnic violence. The youth in Kenya aged between 18-35 years of age comprises about 60% of the national population. This shows how the demographic factor also plays part in the ethnic conflicts in Kenya. General elections are the highly lucratively rewarding season for the youth. This is the most volatile cohort and politically salient because of three main factors: the group is highly mobile, most educated and networked and also the most unemployed. Therefore they become most vulnerable to be politically lured or politically radicalized. For instance, the 2007/2008 post-election violence demonstrates how violently the youth engaged in the conflict. They were funded and mobilized by the non-youth to be volatile. A trend in Kenyan politics is the rise of youth militia, which have sometimes been identified to work for individual politicians. The youth involvement in violence and ethnic conflicts is purely instrumentalist and attributed to the youth claiming political space after being neglected. Political exclusion of the youth in Kenya is rampant thus the violence either on the ethnic based conflicts or other forms of demonstrations.
Kenya’s population is mainly Christian and comprised of Protestants and Catholics. There is also a good fraction of Muslims and Hindus and other traditional religions. While religion is domesticated by morals that are illuminated by faith, most states are guided by politics whose orientation is generally practical empirical and in most cases the church. Although the church has been focal in articulating issues that destroy morality of the nation (Anderson & Lochery, 2008), chronological events show that the church has been intertwined with issues of ethnic identities. The church leadership has not taken a united approach towards promoting positive ethnicity thus mixing religion and politics. On one hand, the church has been guilty of silence when it should have spoken and on the other, it has been guilty of actively precipitating negative ethnicity. Thus many religious leaders are unable to quell negative ethnicity because some of them have contributed immensely to it. For instance, in Nakuru County, there is a strong presence of the church yet the area has witnessed ethnic tension which has always resulted to tribal violence and ethnic killings in almost all election years. This could be an indication that the society has not received the voice of the church.
In the run up to the 2007 general elections in Kenya, the church was seen as being openly partisan along ethnic lines. Christian believers were clearly confused by conflicting ‘prophesies’ of prominent Christian leaders who predicted victory for various candidates and prayed and anointed them as God’s choice for president. The uncertainty generated by these conflicting views fuelled the divisions in the church. Reports from the Rift Valley indicate that the church leaders used civic education, prayer meetings and other occasions to openly campaign for their preferred parties and candidates. During the post-election violence that erupted, some Christians withheld the biblical principles of love, peace and reconciliation and gave in to ethnic hatred and violence. “I will never trust a Kikuyu again in my life. I can’t express what has gone on in my heart. I can’t live with you and fellowship in the same church for more than 10 years and instead of protecting me you are the first person to threaten me” said Ken Okoth who lived in Naivasha prior to the 2007 elections. The church leaders also could not rise above their partisanship and give the country a clear moral direction and the church was reduced to a helpless spectator to the emerging tragic drama. The burning of over 400 churches during the violence was a sad reminder that many had come to regard churches not as sacred and neutral places of worship and sanctuary, but as part of the contested terrain of partisan politics. “I recognized members of my own congregation in the mob that burnt down the church and my home” says Rev. John Maina
The church has a duty to speak forceful on broader issues of justice yet this has not been evident in Kenya. In March 2008, the National Council of Churches of Kenya apologized to the nation for having taken sides during the 2007 general election. This was an important step in the long road to the church recovering its credibility and playing its role of being the conscience of society. Several other churches also joined forces in an initiative that was dubbed ‘Msafara’ – the wheels of hope in which over 500 believers joined a caravan from Mombasa through Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret to Kisumu praying to cleanse the nation from demonic influences and taking humanitarian relief to internally displaced persons. Therefore, the church needs to do a lot more particularly in evaluating its own role in promoting positive ethnicity. Some of the things that the church needs to do or is already doing are as below;
Discipling the nation
There is need to ask ourselves how is it that Christians so easily turned on each other. The church needs to be at the forefront of fighting tribalism and forging an abiding spirit of nationhood. There is need to seriously address issues such as the gospel and culture, which go to the ethnic divisions that have plagued Kenya for many years. There is also need to connect spiritual warfare with rigorous socio-political analysis and engagement. The post-election violence was evidence enough that there is very little that is binding the different tribes together. Politicians have also made it very clear that if left to their own devises, they shall continue to mobilize for support along ethnic lines and therefore continue to fracture this fragile country. The church therefore needs to urgently step into the void especially as we are nearing another election period in 2017 by defining the spirituality of our nationhood.
Reconciliation initiatives
The church has a prominent role to play in reconciliations all over the world. As the salt of the earth, Christians have a mandate from God to make the world livable. Church leaders have a duty to promote unity in the multiethnic churches. The church must understand its mission before God, not only to promote peace and reconciliation, but to develop structures that will sustain peace and overcome any incitement to violence. Whereas certain individuals can take partisan positions, the church as an institution should not be drawn into ethnic party politics. The church should teach the vanity of negative ethnicity and the value of unity in diversity by being guided by the bible.
In Kenya where ethnic conflicts recur, the church should often strategically engage the citizenry with biblical lessons on creation and God’s purpose for them to experience meaningful and selfless relationships. As the salt of the earth, the church should always use its flavor to influence others to seek value of harmony. The impact of the church is the only hope of peace and reconciliation. Every person regardless of race, religion, color, culture, class, sex, or age has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served but not exploited. The church needs to reconcile people to God and, in the same manner, reconcile people to people.

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Embodying authentic community
The church must embody authentic community, to show the world what relationships are to be. Community in African perception is alive in the sense that all people are connected to the community through spiritness of the community. It is therefore necessary for the church to provide a Christian definition of community that goes beyond ancestral connection. Community includes the wider human family. This community is generated and sustained by the grace of God in Christ by the Holy Spirit. Without this divine intervention, humanity is incapable of transcending the hatred and exclusion that hinder authentic community. Thus, sin has to be conquered for genuine community to be possible. Understanding the church as a family is a theological motif that conquers ethnic divisions. The term family refers not merely to the nuclear family, but to the biblical idea of those who share a common ancestor, the founder of the church, Jesus Christ. In the family of God, there are no distinctions of social relations. Paul argued in his letter that individual differences are merged and unified into a common life in Christ (Ephesians 2:14-17). Therefore the divisions along ethnic lines must not exist in the church.
Exhibiting a counter-cultural faith
The world can only be convinced that the church is a better alternative when the church constantly revisits and evaluates itself on the basis of John 13:34-35: “a new command I give you: Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). One of the ways Jesus demonstrated his love for his followers was that he broke the walls of division and embraced all his disciples as his brothers and sisters, irrespective of their tribe, race or nationality (Matt. 12:46-50).
The church community should exhibit a counter-cultural faith; a faith that rises above the tides of ethnic divisions. The Christian faith is a way of being. It is to know God and become a changed person. Being a changed person calls for a counter-cultural expression of faith. To be a changed Christian means exhibiting the inward transformational reality outwardly. It means expressing an alternative faith, an alternative prevailing culture. By being counter-cultural, the church exhibits to the world, a world characterized by divisions and violence, a different way of being human. Counter-cultural faith also means harmony, cooperation, and reconciliation. It also means representing Jesus in the world. Such representation calls for a heroic faith, the interruption of status quo including power, politics, and domination, and introducing a different way of practicing these realities. By interrupting the status quo, the church embodies how it is to live differently. It shows that it is possible to transcend negative practices that have for a very long time resulted in ethnic violence.
Anderson, D. & Lochery E. (2008). Violence and exodus in Kenya’s Rift Valley: Predictableand preventable? Journal of East African Studies, 2(2), 328-343.
Brown, D. (2000). Contemporary Nationalism Civic, Etnocultural & Multicultural Politics.London and New York: Routledge.
Easton David (1965). A Framework for Political Analysis, Englewood Cliffs: N. J., Prentice-Hall, p4
Gachanga Timothy (April 2012). Kenya. Ethnic Agendas and Patronage Impede the formationof a Coherent Kenyan Identity. Africa File at issue Ezine Vol. 14
Laswell, D. Harold, (1936). Politics: Who Gets What, When, How. New York: Whittessey, p.3Laws of Kenya. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
Maupeu, H. (2008). Revisiting post-election violence. Lafargue, J. (Ed.). The generalelections in Kenya, 2007. (pp. 187-223). Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota PublishersLtd.
Muhula, Raymond (2009). Horizontal Inequalities and Ethnic-regional Politics in Kenya.Kenya Studies Review. I, I, 85-105
Ndegwa, Stephen. “Citizenship and Ethnicity: An examination of two transition moments inKenyan politics”, American Political Science Review 91, 3, 1997
Njonjo, M. (2008) Regaining Our Saltiness: The role model of the Church in Post-ElectionKenya. An address to the Reunion and Annual General Meeting of the Kenya ChurchAssociation.
Ostieno Namwaya. “Referendum Exposed Dominance of Tribalism” The Sunday Standard,January 8th 2006 p.16
The Report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) (2013): Volume III.
Nairobi, 2013. Retrieved from
Yieke, F. (2010). Ethnicity and Development in Kenya: Lessons from 2007 GeneralElections. Kenya Studies Review. 3, 3, 5-16.
Young, C. (1994). ‘Ethnic Diversity and Public Policy’. Draft occasional paper for the UNResearch Institute for Social Development, World Summit on Social Development,Geneva, August.

Jane Njoki, 42 year old mother of two who used to live in Burnt Forest area in Rift Valley before the 2007 PEV – 12 October 2016
Ken Okoth a former flower farm worker in Naivasha and currently a trader in Kibera area of Nairobi. Nairobi 8 October 2016
Rev John Maina was chased out of his home in Molo, Rift Valley Province, in a wave of violence that rocked many areas of Kenya following the disputed elections in December 2007 – Nakuru, 9 October 2016

Psycho Cultural Conflict Theory

According to the psycho-cultural conflict theory, identity is the most important need in the hierarchy of human needs and, when denied, results in violent conflict. The satisfaction of one’s basic needs is intricately related to his/her identity. The Psycho-cultural Conflict Theory is similar to the Primordial approach to ethnicity which emphasizes the fact that peoples ethnicity (identity) is deeply rooted in their past.

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Irobi (2005) argues that memories of past traumas magnify people’s anxieties. This is as a result of ethnic identity which produces fear, hatred and, consequently, ethnic conflict among two ethnic groups which have a history of ethnic discrimination and stratification. Irobi posits that when an ethnic group has a history of being stereotyped and discriminated based on their ethnic identity from another group, it results in violent conflict since ethnic identity remains part and parcel of the entirety of an individual. Ethnic groups which have been discriminated against and stratified into lower class citizens always habour a feeling of marginalization of their identity and this produces strong feelings of hatred and resentment towards the other group which did the discrimination. This is what Richardson Jr. & Sen (1996) call ‘victim mentality’. Irobi (2005) criticizes the inadequacy of modernization theory which holds that modernity will result in the dissolution of ethnic affiliation. He observes that ethnicity is fixed and part of the identity of individuals and groups. Therefore, any marginalization of an ethnic group or discrimination against it based on ethnicity will receive strong resistance (conflict). This is particularly seen in the mobilizing role of ethnic identity.
Psycho-cultural conflict theorists like Ross (1997) and Horowitz (1998) believe that conflicts which are caused by identity are usually dangerous, violent, intractable and highly protracted, and often very difficult to resolve. This is because identity which is at the centre of the conflict, “is an unshakable sense of worth, which makes life meaningful and includes the feeling that one is physically, socially, psychologically and spiritually safe” (Faleti, 2006, p. 51). When this feeling of safety (identity) is threatened, there is a defensive reaction aiming at protecting this at all costs and the result is violent conflict which becomes a matter of life and death. This tends to affect development since violence is perpetually continued affecting productive sectors of local economies.
The psycho-cultural theory of conflict argues, therefore, that resolving this type of conflict is usually very difficult and tends to defy any resolution mechanism. There is always constant outbreak of violence with such conflicts despite attempts at resolving the conflict. Their resolution takes long and sometimes, it is not possible to talk of resolution, but management. This is because the issue of ethnic identity is uncompromising and its denial is a complete affront to the group’s very existence. The outbreak of consistent violence as a result of this type of conflict makes life and security fragile, thereby affecting human well-being and development. Thus, the link between ethnic conflicts, their resolution and development is clearly seen. Due to the deep-seated, protracted and intractable nature of conflicts based on identity (ethnic conflict), their resolution remains very difficult and takes very long, and this produces strings of violence thereby affecting meaningful development. Seymour (2003) therefore emphasized that identity influences the process of conflict and must not be overlooked when attempting to understand the origins of conflict and when planning its resolution.
The psycho-cultural conflict theory has been heavily criticized by many scholars. The theory has been criticized for attributing the main basis of conflict and violence to identity based on ethnicity. Critics are quick to point out that there is a tendency for many people to label any conflict as ‘ethnic identity’ based when that conflict exceedingly has a different cause (Tonah, 2007).
Bowen (1996) contends that those conflicts which are said to be based on ethnic identity are products of modern politics. He argues that although people have had many identities for long, which are based on their culture (ethnicity), these people only began to see themselves as members of vast groups, opposed to each other only during the modern period of colonization. Bowen (1996) mentioned that the Rwandan, Burundian and Bosnian conflicts are politically based conflicts rather than ethnic identity conflicts, but these conflicts later assumed ethnic identity dimensions. Osaghae (2005) also argues that what is seen as ethnic conflict is not so, but elite manipulation of people to gain advantage of their political and personal ambitions. Ethnic identity, to him, is elitist manipulation of ethnicity to gain control over political power and what is seen as conflicts emanating from ethnic identity are not at all, but politically based conflicts. It is possible for elites to manipulate a group of people against each other. It is even possible for conflicts in some parts of Africa and other places to take ethnic dimensions even if the initial cause of the conflict is political, resource, religious or any other cause (Tonah, 2007).
Ernest Penan (cited in Bowen, 1996) believes that ethnic identity is constructed by intellectuals for their personal interests and that ethnic identity is a set of ideas rather than peoples values in conflict. Chandra (2006) believes that ethnic identity does not matter or has not been shown to matter in explaining most outcomes of violence. Fearon & Laitin (2000) also argue after an enquiry into the relationship between ethnic identity and violence that the mere observation that ethnic identities are socially constructed is not so.
In conclusion, the Psycho-cultural Theory simply argues that identity based on ethnicity explains the main reason for conflicts in society. The weakness of the theory makes it imperative for this study to be able to properly identify the sources of ethnic conflict in the Bawku Traditional Area in order to devise appropriate resolution mechanisms to them.
Conceptual framework
It remains evident that development is meaningfully achieved through the existence of peace. Peace here refers to the absence of violent conflict and effective conflict resolution which both border on security. Ethnic conflicts, very often, are intractable conflicts which involve values, claim to status, identity, deprivation of needs and external factors such as political infiltrations (Coleman, 2000). Thus, ethnic conflicts are often protracted and remain very difficult to resolve and their continuous existence poses danger to local level development and they tend to seriously hinder security which is needed to ensure peace for development.
Ethnic conflicts as shown in Figure 1 primarily result from past historical and colonial experiences which are further exacerbated by factors like lack of access to power, resources and ethnic marginalization/stereotypes which are magnified by peoples’ struggle for their ethnic identity. The continuous ethnic polarization through these factors leads to violence (conflict) which results in low investments in local economic activities/commerce, decreasing agricultural, educational and health standards, insecurity, high dependency ratio, loss of lives and low incomes for individuals and families. The end result of all these, as seen in Figure 1, is decreasing levels of socio-economic development.
The effective resolution of ethnic conflicts can have positive implications for development. Schoeman (1998) argues that a society in which people are secure (when violent conflict is properly resolved or is absent), will:

Enable people to develop their communities;
Enable people to be architects of their own lives;
Enable people to come together to pursue economic and other development; and
Enable people to participate in the development of the society.

In resolving ethnic conflicts , one needs to focus on satisfying the basic needs which have been deprived (UN DESA, 2001) and also creating a proportional equality in deep-rooted cultural and identity issues (Richardson Jr. & Wang, 1993) using third party intervention and inter-group cooperation (Horowitz, 2000; Lipchitz & Crawford, 1995). All of these can be done by effectively engaging the conflicting parties in mediation, inter-group dialogue and third party intervention using indigenous methods. Issues which are mostly root causes of conflict when tackled properly results in effective conflict resolution thereby trickling down to sustainable peace which has implications for local development.
Core Problem

Low Investment due to insecurity
Destruction of Property and infrastructure
General Insecurity
Low Agricultural Production
Low commerce
Refusal to accept posting
Low Income
Decreasing Educational and Health Standards
Retarded Development

Ethnic Conflict

High Dependency Ratio
Low Income
Loss of Lives
Low Income
Struggle for Ethnic Identity
Lack of Access to Power. e.g. Chieftaincy and Political Connections
Past Historical and Colonial Experiences
Ethnic Marginalization


Lack of Access to Natural Resources. e.g. Land
Decreasing Levels of Social/Economic Development


The Fundamentalism And Caste Conflict Phenomenons Religion Essay

Fundamentalism and Casteism are considered as two different phenomenons. Whereby both these terminologies have been approached probably as different issues lying in the present Indian scenario. Conflict, as well, seems to be considered as the outcome of these issues. However, there is an attempt made in this paper to find out firstly, what fundamentalism means, secondly how fundamentalism becomes the base for Casteism; thirdly how Casteism paved the way for different conflicts; and finally, this paper deals with the Pastoral Response from the Pastoral Care and Counselling perspective to the caste conflict situation, which emerged from fundamentalism. Though Fundamentalism itself has the wide range of definition and yet not confined to a particular definition, in order to limit the scope of this paper, the definition of the term Fundamentalism is narrowed down to the foundational understanding of the Caste System. Nevertheless, this paper tries to interact with these ‘isms’ from their basic understanding and what upshot they have brought to the society.
1. Fundamentalism – What does it mean?
Fundamentalism is “the practice of following very strictly the basic rules and teachings of any religion” defines Oxford Advance learners Dictionary’s seventh edition. Steven Jones, a research scholar from Virginia University describes that the term ‘fundamentalism’ was initiated in the series of booklets authored and published by leading Evangelical churchmen in US between 1910 and 1915. However, the term was given full strength in 1920 after “Curtis Lee Laws appropriated the term `fundamentalist’ as a designation for those who were ready ‘to do battle royal for the Fundamentals.'” M.M.Thomas comments, “These booklets opposed the application of modern critical historical approach to the bible and the traditional dogmas of Christianity, because in their opinion, it would destroy their supranatural and supernatural elements which belong to their very essence.”

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Though the definition of this term has wide range of meaning, yet a fundamentalist is reckoned as the strict follower of a particular religion’s teachings and its beliefs. James Barr states “Fundamentalism is based on a particular kind of religious tradition, and uses the form, rather than reality, of biblical authority to provide a shield for this tradition.” Even, Bruce Lawrence in his book Defenders of God defines ‘fundamentalism’ as: “The affirmation of religious authority as holistic and absolute, admitting of neither criticism nor reduction; it is expressed through the collective demand that specific creedal and ethical dictates derived from the scriptures be publicly recognized and legally enforced.” David Frawley views that, “Fundamentalists generally hold to their religion’s older social customs and refuse to integrate into the broader stream of modern society which recognizes freedom of religious belief.” In agreement to this statement, Dr.Ramendra identifies, “fundamentalism means belief in the literal truth of religious scriptures and fundamental religious beliefs of any religion.” For Altmeyer and Hunsinger fundamentalism is “the belief that there is one set of religious teachings that clearly contains the fundamental, basic, intrinsic, essential, inerrant truth about humanity and deity; that this essential truth is fundamentally opposed by forces of evil which must be vigorously fought; that this truth must be followed today according to the fundamental, unchangeable practices of the past; and that those who believe and follow these fundamental teachings have a special relationship with the deity.” As a whole, though the term ‘fundamentalism’ is widely used with different connotations, still it cannot be denied that the term basically used with religious notion and it stands for it till today whether stand for inerrancy of truth or “militancy in its outlook”. M.M.Thomas, Citing V.M.Tarkhundes’s statement, says “Fundamentalism consists of uncritical adherence to ancient beliefs and practices.”
On the other hand, Fundamentalism is probably viewed as the counter institution to Liberalism, Modernism and Secularism. “The fundamentalist movement tries to preserve what it considers the basic ideas of Christianity against criticism by liberal theologians.” Fundamentalism designates “what is more generally called a conservative type of Christian thought, as opposed to the liberal or modernist tendencies.” M.M.Thomas states “It may also arise from the insecurity of faith when its religious expressions are faced with the necessity to change.”and “Fundamentalism emerged out of reaction to closed secularism” Erskine Clarke utters that “Fundamentalists resist secularisation and the cultural elements of modernity…” Accordibng to Marsden, “an American fundamentalist is an evangelical who is militant in opposition to liberal theology in the churches or to changes in cultural values or mores, such as those associated with “secular humanism.”” In his note, he says, “in recent years been applied by analogy to any militantly traditional religion, such as Islamic fundamentalism.” M.M.Thomas opines, “It is justifiable to characterise as fundamentalist similar movements in any religion which buttress traditional beliefs and social order from reform or change…”
Over all, Fundamentalism can be defined as strictly following of religious beliefs and traditions as well as it is a counter attitude against modernity which hails secularism and liberalism. With this definition, let us move on to analyse the caste system in India.
2. Caste: Does it emerge from Fundamentalism?
On its outlook, everyone would say that Caste system is probably not an outcome of Fundamentalism because both of them are different issues. Whereby, in this paper an argument is proposed that Casteism in India is one of the fruits of Fundamentalism. Though Caste System itself has the attitude of fundamentalism, the primary focus of this paper is how Casteism can be the victim of fundamentalism. There were many who fought like B.R.Ambedkar, Periyar, Jothiba Phule and Panditha Ramambai for the eradication of this canker system, hence it still rules the Indian society because of its deep roots in the Indian Soil. In order to substantiate the argument, it is good to view the definition and origin of the Caste system in India.
The word caste, which is of “Spanish and Portuguese origin,” is “derived from Latin Castus which means pure.” However, the Portuguese word casta means “breed, race or kind.” It seems that the word “was used by the Portuguese to denote Indian social classification” says Bal Krishna Sharma. Seligman describes caste as “an endogamous and hereditary subdivision of an ethnic unit occupying a position of superior or inferior rank or social esteem in comparison with other such subdivision.” Nesfield and Sir H.Risley also support this view. Ketkar defines caste as “(1) membership is confined to those who are born of members and includes all persons so born; (2) the members are forbidden by an inexorable social law to marry outside the group.” Thus, “caste is a stratified system in which each segment has its identity with a common name, origin and strictly specified inter-group relations. Each group is endogamous, traditionally following an occupation and enjoying a particular postion in the social hierarchy, built around the opposition of purity and pollution. The groups are localised, but keep social distance between them.”
However, Casteism arises out of Hindu philosophy and becomes the beacon of the unique identity of the Hindu Society. Oxford Dictionary defines as “any of the four main division of the Hindu society, originally than made according to function in the society.” T.K.Oomen states, “What is unique to India is the all pervasive Caste hierarchy, legitimised through the Hindu doctrine of Karma and reincarnation.” P.K.Kar elucidates that the beginning of Caste system is in “the Hindu philosophy of four varnas.” Ambrose Pinto cites Ambedkar’s view that “the sanction behind the caste system is the religious sanction, for, the caste as the new form of varna system derives its sanction from the Vedas which form the sacred books of the Hindu religion and which are infallible. I say unfortunately because anything, which has a religious sanction, becomes by virtue of it sacred and eternal. To the Hindu, caste is sacred and caste is eternal.” Max Weber Cited by Toppo states, “Caste, that is, the ritual and rights and duties it gives and imposes, and the position of the Brahmans, is the fundamental institution of Hinduism. Before everything else, without caste there is no Hindu.” Thus, the caste system in India belongs to Hindu Philosophy which emerges from Vedas and Upanishads. Whereas this system is cemented by the code of Manu, called “Manava Dharma Shastra or Manusmirti. Dr.Ramendra says, “According to Manusmriti, anybody who argues critically and logically about dharmashastras ought to be ostracized.”
With the above information, let us now look at the similarities between Fundamentalism and Casteism. Basically, both these isms consider the religious beliefs, teachings, and tradition as their base. Another aspect is their strong opposition to modernism. While modernism supports liberalism and secularism, the caste system in India can witness its strong roots in the Indian Soil. For which, the recent issues like ‘Honour Killing’, the atrocities against Dalits and the demand for caste base census all show the very fact that though India achieves many things with modernity, yet is under the strong bondage of Casteism. Dr.K.S.Jacob states, “While the secular, socialistic and democratic principles enshrined in the constitution demand equality of outcomes, the inherent caste-related inequality continues to dominate reality in Indian society.” M.M.Thomas claims ,”Purity and impurity ideas were the religious foundation of caste and it is the return to it by the middle class for spiritual and economic stability that makes their shift from secularism to hindutva.”
It is painful to note the caste embracement is not only of Hinduism, but also it has its strong footage in Isalam and Christianity too in the recent past. One may probably question, why such evil system in these religions? The answer drawn by Koilaparampil when talking about Caste among Christians, he states “the rank of the Christian in the local community continues to depend on the Caste from which he was converted and this persists to the third and forth generation.” As M.M.Thomas states “Fundamentalism consists of uncritical adherence to ancient beliefs and practices” may probably support this notion when we compare Caste among Christian and Fundamentalism. As “Caste is considered important for identification,” may also support the above view.
Finally both these issues may Probably lead towards conflict or violence. The recent murder in Khairlanji, a village in Maharashtra depicts the picture of the caste system’s rule yet in Indian soil. Thus, Casteism can probably consider as the fruit of fundamentalism and this leads to the present day Caste conflicts.
3. Conflict
“Etymologically the term ‘conflict’ is derived from ‘con-fligere’ (Latin) denoting to strike together. It implies fight, clash, sharp or mild disagreement or even antagonism.” Rachel Bagh cites William W.Wilmot and Joyce L.Hocker’s definition “conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce, resources, and interference from others in achieving their goals.” Alan C.FIlley defines conflict as a process which takes place between two or more parties. By parties he refers to individuals, groups, or organizations. Whereby, he explains, “Within our various social relationships are some which involve real or perceived differences between two or more parties. Where the interests of the parties are mutually exclusive – that is, where the gain of one party’s goal is at the cost of the other’s, or where the parties have different values- then the resulting social interaction between the parties contains fertile ground for conflict.” According to Lewis A.Coser, conflict is “a struggle over values or claims of status, power and scarce resources, in which the aims of the conflicting parties are not only to gain the desired values but also to neutralize, injure or eliminate their rivals. Such conflicts may take place between individuals and between collectivities. Intra group as well as inter group conflicts are perennial feature of social life.” B.J.Prashantham states “Incompatible goals and means of achieving them can lead conflicts in inter-personal relations as would, differences in perception, communication styles, personality differences, personal interests and ideology.” Thus, Maria Arul Raja comments, “Whenever human agency is alive and active, they appear rather clearly, in a positive or negative manner.” Conflict, thus. Can be defined as the struggle between two persons or parties aiming at some goal to achieve.
Conflict is categorised under four divisions; they are intra-personal, inter-personal, intra-group and inter-group.
It is conflict within a person. Murry states that according to psychologists “there is a crowd in each of us.” For which he elucidates, “there is a conflict between the spending self and saving self of a person when he received money.” For him, “Sigmund Freud’s theory of a person as a composite of three forces (the Id, the Ego, the Super-Ego) each with different wishes and standards” and “Eric Berne’s theory of a person as a composite of three different ego-states (Parent ego, Adult ego, and Child ego) with three different attitudes to life and the environment,” are the best witnesses for explaining intra personal conflict.
This is a conflict between two individuals. “Each person has different needs, values system, a world view and wants. When people with these differing dispositions meet, they clash. The difference may further widen by difference in sex, race, class and creed and social conflict becomes inevitable.”
Intra-Group and Inter-Group
Inter-group and even intra-group conflict can arise due to differences in goals, values, loyalties and heritage. “Race, region, creed, nationalities, and ideologies are among the factors causing inter-group conflicts. Members of different groups develop inter-group loyalties and perceive the other groups with disinterest, prejudice, and antagonism.”
Therefore, conflict arises in any one form of the above. It is important to note that a person’s behaviour may affect his personality as well as others. Alfred Adler states that “a man is motivated primarily by social urges.” Behaviourist therapy considers “outward behaviours are the result of faulty, maladaptive learning from the environment.” So, conflict in the inter personal or inter group level may spring out because of the intra personal conflict. Besides, for the interpersonal conflicts, P.K.Kar narrates, lower castes in India who “are disabled from the social, economic, educational and religious viewpoint, most often become aware of their position and resent oppression and discrimination by higher castes. This change in the outlook of the lower castes culminates in inter caste conflicts.” The Khairlanji Murder is the best example of this cause. Another present reality issue in the Indian scenario is Honour killings. This issue is “the reaction to inter-caste marriages is much stronger and violent when the girl marries a dalit or into a lower caste than her own,” Says Times of India.
Knowing the fact that the Caste is one of the sources of conflict, now we move on to the next section where we can draw some useful responses to resolve the conflict from the Pastoral Care and Counselling perspective.
4. A Pastoral Response to Caste Conflict
Pastoral Care and Counselling in the words of William A.Clebsch and Charles R.Jackle is defined as “a helping act, done by representative Christian persons, directed towards the healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling of troubled persons whose troubles arise in the context of ultimate meanings and concerns.” Thus, a Pastor or a Christain counsellor is the one who helps people in times of their trouble. For which, C.W.Bristar expresses, “the Church’s ministry is personal and social, ranging from individual salvation and guidance to mutual support and social welfare.” Rachel Bagh refers that “we are called to the ministry of reconciliation/peacemaking (2Cor. 5:17-20).” So, the role of the Counsellor in the conflict resolution is crucial and necessary in order to help persons to liberate from the bondage of Conflict. Probably, there may be diverse opinions and suggestion for the conflict resolution, hence hereby some pastoral responses are placed knowingly the limitation of this paper.
Preparation of the Counsellor
In order to have a fruitful reconciliation ministry, the preparation of the Counsellor is crucial. For which Augsburger suggests that “the mediators seek progressively sharpen their basic skills of empathy, active listening, sensitivity to needs of parties, sense of timing, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, capacity to maintain neutrality while remaining in contact, and ability to understand the stages of negotiation and conflict resolution.” Along with this, Rachel Bagh suggests that the mediator should be “trustworthy and confidential.” Besides, the counsellor need to sense the presence of Holy Spirit and can probably utilise religious recourses (like Prayer, Scripture and etc.) and Religious symbols (Theological symbols like Grace, forgiveness, Atonement and so on) in the counselling process. Thus, the preparation of the counsellor is necessary before the counselling process starts in caste conflict resolution.
Preparation of the Counselee
Preparing for Acceptance
Acceptence is the basic aspect in conflict resolution. Conflict arise when one person thinks that he is superior. Both Fundamentalism and caste sytem have the attitude of Superiority. Whereby others those who don’t follow the norms of the fundamentalists are considered as the enemies of fundamentalism. This attitude creates conflict. The inferior attitude of oneself leads to inferiority complex, aggression, fear, anxiety and so on. This postulates the intrapersonal conflict. Whereby, superior attitude leads to interpersonal or inter-group conflict too. The counsellor needs to encourage the client to consider other human as human and should help him/her to respect each other. As Carl Roger’s proposes, ‘Unconditional Positive Regard’ need to be important in resolving the problem. The best example of this acceptance would be Jesus. As Murry states, “Christians are the members of the new humanity in Christ whose thoughts and actions are directed by the principles of Christ.” Thus, the counsellor helps the client to prepare himself to accept each other.
Encouraging for ‘love your Neighbour’
Another important aspect in conflict resolution is encouraging the client to love other even enemies. Rational emotive Therapy of Albert Ellis highlights irrational beliefs and perception leads to distortion of personality. Both caste system and Fundamentalism imposes hatred rather love with the irrational religious beliefs. For example, Ambrose Pinto in his article ‘Caste conflict in Karnataka,’ indirectly quotes the major crisis of the conflict in Idapanur is hatred between different castes. However, God expects us to Love others (John 15:12). Murry states that “the plain truth about God and the Christians is that God wants the Christians in every situation to love the other humans (even enemies), to forgive the others more than once, to seek also the interests of the others, to do the others as he/she would like to do to him/her.”
Making a Sense of Reconciliation
The conservative concept is that never reconcile with anybody. Fundamentalism is on that line the same way, though many improvements in the society arise, still we hear about caste discrimination and caste biased atrocities. This shows the strength of non-reconciliation. Whereas, conflict resolution hangs on acceptance, Love one another and forgivenss. The spirit of forgiveness leads towards reconciliation. Murry, states that “The Christ-event in history is symbolized by the shape of the cross Christ died on – the vertical line symbolizing God-human reconciliation accomplished, and the horizontal beam symbolizing the imperative of human-human reconciliation if humans should avail the efficacy of Christ’s redemption. The cross of Christ reminds us of God’s love, humility, forgiveness, and vicarious death for those who broke His heart should e the reference point for the Christians in dealing with any kind of conflict; personal, communal or global. Ps. 85:10, 2 Cor. 13:11, Rom. 5:1, Eph. 2:14).” Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis explains the three ego states (Parent ego, adult ego, and child ego). According to Murry, “The over dependence on either one ego states will result in conflict. So, all these three to some proportions are required in a person.” The counselee has to be reminded of forgiving each other and accept each other without comments.
Creating the sense of ‘Wholeness’
Conflict damages the personality. As Fritz Perls views, “many personalities as lacking wholeness, as being fragmented and people are often aware of only parts of themselves rather than of the whole self.” further he states that the Gestalt therapists assist to discover clients self and mobilize it for greater effectiveness. Fundamentalism and Caste System segregate the human socity and also looks other with negative cannotation. Whereas the prime concern of Christian understanding is to bring back the fragmentd humanity to experience wholeness growth. Liberation is one of the aspect in redeeming wholeness, says Clinebell. However, fundamentalism and Casteism opposes the liberation aspect. But in resolving the conflict, the counsellor need to bring the counslee into the sense of liberation to attain ‘Wholeness.’
Building the community of Shalom
Finally, the pastoral response to Caste conflict as conflict resolution is building the community of peace and harmony. The major hindrance of Fundamentalism and Casteism is their approach with humanity and society. These both compartmentalise the society and break the human relationship. The stratified system of the society on the basis of Law code of Manu, had not only divided the Indian Society but also created enmity. Whwn God creted, he wanted that the creation to live harmoniously. Whereas the present situation goes upside down. However, the conflict resolution needs to build the community not to destroy.
Fundamentalism is of following strictly the teachings and tradition of a religion. Whereby, the existence of Caste system demonstrates that the root of the Casteism comes from the Indian religious traditions and Hindu philosophy. No one can deny, both these issues are interrelated by their idealogy too after it has been discussed broadly in this paper. Nevertheless, these evil practices not only helped the seeds of conflict to grow but also claimed many lives in order to satisfy its thirst. Hence, the role of a Christian minister or Counsellor is crucial at this juncture. If a Chritian misiter give totally for the sake of building the shalom community, hope the kingdom of God will be rooted on this earth. For concluding this paper, it will probably be worth quoting Dyanchnad Carr’s statements. ” in the cse of local and micro level conflicts the hurt memories do play an important role both in keeping alive the dormant of volcano of resentment and anger as well as in fanning them into fires of conflagration. We need to do all we can diffuse the situation and bring about a reconciled peace.”  

Types of Conflict and Stages of Conflict

Conflict is a process that begins when one party assume that another party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affect, something that first party are cares. The simply way to understand is conflict are disagreement between the two or more persons on any points. Conflict management is the practice of being able to identify and handle conflicts sensibly, fairly, and efficiently. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment. Conflicts management are a natural part of the workplace occur, what the most important is the people who understand conflicts and know how to resolve them. This is important in today’s market more than ever. Everyone is striving to show how valuable they are to the company they work for and, at times, this can lead to disputes with other members of the team.
According to the assessment in our group, I have got two general problems. It is interpersonal an intra-personal. I will explain as follows with the scenario and the solution.
Firstly, Interpersonal conflict is clash between two individuals rather than one individual a difference in views about what should be done. The different of view such as orientation of work time that are not part of an organization. Actually for interpersonal conflict we found some members in my group they have bad manner and no responsibility. For bad attitude like always came late when we have a discussion group. For responsibility, some members in my group they do not take care of their jobs. They did not came even they have free time. So in that case the rest of the members are felt not satisfied with them. For the solution, firstly our group leader tried and gave them the advices and motivation to the member are did not come in the group discussion. Secondly, our leader also tried to explain to them maybe they are not understand. Lastly, if they are still redoing their attitude, our leader use the autocratic system like let our advisor know the problem and they will get punish.

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Secondly, Intrapersonal conflict which are occurs within an individual often involves some from of goal conflict or cognitive conflict. A leader must ensure that all conflict of each members include himself should solve with properly to make sure that the program will run smoothly. For example, our group leader was tried to solve the problem especially for communication problems. In my group some Chinese came from China they cannot speak well in English. Different of language between members include local and international student make barrier when this project in progress. Based on the problem our leader encourage them to overcome the problem like show the uses of dictionary. Besides that, our leader also have the conflict because cannot get proper responsibilities of a group leader to do the tasks because all members have communication problems and that make all members hard to communicate.
The problem that our group faced is the communication problem each members. This situation arise because of differences in language between each members that come from different background, nationalities and country. Weaknesses by using English language between each member will cause misunderstanding and will effect our project. Therefore, our leader decided to solve this conflict by using third person that are others members in others group to help us translate what we want to say or what they say. Other that we also use application such as Google Translate to get what the real meaning and can discuss together smoothly.
There is a five conflict process in the addressing problem in the group that consists Potential, Cognition and personalization, Intention, Behavior and Outcome. This prosses can help our group get know the conflict that arise when this project ongoing.
The first stage is the process is a potential conflict of opposition or incompatibility when members contribution ideas. In this stage, our group will meet and meeting together to develop idea to run the project. In our group, this stage is due to differences in language among members that will affect our goal and also affect our personality, emotional and aesthetic value. Communication between local and international students will be use English language for communicate each other. In this group, there have a group that members will talk a lot and less when we make a discussion. Our leader are not take this situation easily or ignored, but she will try to get attention with them by get idea that related to interested of them. This ways can help them to improve their motivation and not afraid to contribution and speak in English in this project.
The second stage is cognition and personalization. At this stage, the perception of the conflict between members in the group. According to the Miler, 2011 in this stage, the parties aware of the conditions that trigger the conflict which leads to the displeasure feeling such as anxiety, pressure and the hostility. Problem that arise in our group that is difficulty to understanding English by Chinese student and this problem effect or group to complete this project. When this conflict arise, each member include our leader try to understand and help each other although it is difficult to work together and completing the task.
The third stages is intention or the decision that can be use to solve our problems. The ways are by using competing, collaboration, compromising, avoiding and accommodating. We gave ideas to our members like suggested the dictionary be their friend, read a lot English books and watch English movies. Besides that, we helped each other to any task which is difficult to our member to solve and always to judge and guide them when they lost ideas of their task. It related to ways that are state early and we are more compromising and accommodating because we do not want to make the situation more serious and effect our project.
The fourth stage is about behavior or become visible include statements, reactions and actions made by the conflicting parties. Our leaders will make division of the work and in this stages show that some of us are not satisfaction about their task and expressed that emotion. So, although the task are divided but other members can give any idea and discuss it together to get final decision. This ways can help our conflict not continuous and each members will be happy.
Finally, we got the functional ways and methods as outcome to solve our problem. After all the activity that we do include face conflict, we have found the best ways to make sure that all members will give full responsibilities and corporation. The improvement that each member give are very satisfied and our leader also happy with it. Lastly, they also give corporate and provided good commitment to complete this task as output.
Motivation is derived from Latin word, ‘movere’ means ‘to move’. Motivation is general term applying to the entire class of drives, desires, needs, wishes, and similar forces. Motivation is the psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s behavior in an organization, a person’s level of effort, and a person’s level of persistence. From the tasks given as are candidates who are inexperienced working in a group or in an organization we got a lot of problems such as no responsibility between our members, unsatisfied from the tasks given by manager, and so on. From that above we got many ways to motivate our members, to make them be useful to themselves and to be useful in an organization. They are four kinds of resources of motivation that can encourage and influence the motivation in our group such as positive motivation, negative motivation, extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation and others things that giving motivation whether it is acceptable or unacceptable by individual.
Firstly, positive motivation. Positive motivation is involves proper recognition of employee efforts and appreciations of employee contribution towards the organizational goal achievement. The social and status desires require interaction with others if they are to be satisfied and they align with Maslow social need and the external component of Maslow During the problems that we got our assistant manager motivate us with gave the spirit words that can made us be happy to do the works given. She also recognizes the members who are gave full co-operation with is tells the lecturer who are did.
Secondly, negative motivation. These kinds of motivation is use force, power, fear and treats to motivate members to give full co-operation and prevents members to be useless in group. In this case if any our member is do not want to do his or her task given, assistant manager warned and reports them to the lecturer if it is needed.
Next, extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is induces by external factors which is primarily financial in nature. It is based upon the assumption that the behavior with results in positive reward tends to be repeated. For example, we are get motivation when the lecturer offer more marks if we are be the first one who are finish with the assignment given with do it correctly. It is exactly what was happened in my group. They are very excited to do the tasks given. Indirectly my members are very happy and felt got energy from that offered.
Besides that, we also motivate ourselves with studied of motivation theories such as maslow’s hierarchy theory, aldefers ERG theory, herzberg motivator and mc clellond’s learned needs theory.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented as a pyramid with the more basic needs at the bottom
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization” and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.
From that information above, as a summary Maslow shows us about what is related in every person needs in their live. They are physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. We would explain as follows.
Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first. Such as air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements, and so on.
Safety needs is the most important for me and my members, felt safe from any dangerous which is can prevent from getting emergency situations like conflagration, electric inconvenience and so on. It is can give disrupt the lessons to us if it is happen. As are students we also need looked after by the security or wooden for the particular times. Safety and Security needs are include personal security, financial security, health and well-being safety net against accidents or illness and their adverse impacts.
The third level of human needs is interpersonal and involves feelings of belongingness. Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless whether these groups are large or small. For example, some large social groups may include clubs, co-workers, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, and gangs. Some examples of small social connections include family members, intimate partners, mentors, colleagues, and confidants. Many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression in the absence of this love or belonging element. This need for belonging may overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure.
All persons have a need to feel respected from other; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. Low self-esteem or an inferiority complex may result from imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can hinder the person from obtaining a higher level of self-esteem or self-respect.
This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions. As previously mentioned, Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs, but master them.
In conclusion, with study the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy theory it made us to understand member’s behaviors and their needs easily. Besides that, to be careful every single word when talking to people especially members in the group to make them are respected.
In this project, our leader will motivate each of members because this project are not give any cash incentive such as salary. First ways that our leader makes is to divide job for each members. It will have other situation that members are not satisfaction about their job. So, our leader will make sure that this conflict will solve to create positive environment of this project. When situation are positive will give motivate each members to work properly and give full Co-operation. In our group, each of members will try the best to do their job because their feel enthusiastic to complete this project.
Second way that our leader uses to motivate each member is non-cash incentive. Our leader motivates us with advice to give good performance even there is no cash incentive. Our leader also reminded the members that this tasks given very useful to the future. The benefits are improved our skills and performances when we are worked at the real life. Besides that, our lecturer also told that the subjects taken are very important like make a proposal, and make a simple document (request letter) and so on.

History of the Ottoman-Safavid Conflict

Discuss the relationships and rivalries between ANY TWO of the Islamic empires during the early modern period.

In 1501, Sheikh Esmā‘il[1] Safavi entered the city of Tabriz to declare the birth of a new dynasty which was destined to rule Iran for over two centuries. The rise of the Safavids deeply affected the balance of power of the early modern Near East by exposing a growing rift between Iran and its neighbor to the west, the Ottomans. The Safavids’ ability to challenge the regional hegemon was made possible by the gradual metamorphosis of their eponymous Sufi order into a potent political force whose strength rested upon the adherence of a ghulāt[2] Shi‘i following; to reveal this transformation, one of the new Shāh’s first acts was to proclaim Ithnā‘asharī Shi‘ism[3] as the state religion of Iran. The spiritual and political influence that the Safavids held over their Shi‘a Turkoman[4] followers in the Ottomans’ Anatolian provinces posed an inherent threat to the internal stability of the Sunni Empire; however, the reduction of this rivalry to a sectarian conflict only reinforces a Western dichotomy and does not provide a sufficient discussion of the relationship between the Ottomans and the Safavids. A closer examination reveals a more nuanced account of the century-long conflict as having been largely shaped by the contemporary regional geopolitical framework. The Ottoman-Safavid relationship broadly developed in four stages which will be analyzed in the present study: the Safavid subversion of Ottoman Anatolia, the Ottoman offensive against the Safavids, the overextension of the Ottomans, and the Ottoman-Iranian rapprochement.

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The Ottoman-Safavid conflict is best understood when set in its emergent setting: the 15th-century Middle East. The region was deeply disturbed and fragmented by centuries of Turco-Mongol invasions, the most recent of which launched by Timūr at the turn of the century. His conquests brought the lands between Transoxiana and Mesopotamia into a single empire, and his defeat and capture of Sultan Bayezid I in 1402 at the battle of Ankara dealt a major blow to the Ottoman Empire, halting their expansion and shattering Anatolia into an array of independent Turkoman principalities.[5] The downfall of the Timurid Empire following the death of Shāhrukh in 1447 provided the perfect environment for an Ottoman resurgence in Anatolia and for a new state to consolidate power in Iran.[6] Initially, Iran was divided between two rival Turkoman tribes, the Qara Qoyunlu and the Ağ Qoyunlu, who ruled from Lake Van and Diyarbakır respectively.[7] Anatolia was home to the independent Turkoman principalities of Candar and Karaman, the principalities of Ramazan and Dulkadir, who were under the suzerainty of the Mamluks of Egypt and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire in Trebizond.[8]

Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Sultan Mehmet II set his eyes on establishing hegemony over Anatolia and the Black Sea region. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire during Mehmet’s reign was dictated by strategic, political, and economic imperatives. The Ottoman campaigns against the petty states of Anatolia posed a menace to Iran’s western border and its control of the Upper Euphrates, the crossroads of important regional land routes.[9] It is within this framework that Uzun Hasan, leader of the Ağ Qoyunlu, attempted to prevent Mehmet II from taking over Trebizond and Karaman by making overtures toward the Anatolian principalities, Venice, and Hungary with the aim of forming an anti-Ottoman alliance.[10] When Mehmet’s successor, Bayezid II, began supporting a Mamluk pretender as the ruler of Dulkadir, the Mamluk Sultan Qāytbāy emptied the treasury to maintain Egyptian political influence over the Taurus area.[11] On the European side, the Ottoman conquest of Greece, the Aegean, and the northern littoral of the Black Sea coast weakened the position of the Italian maritime republics of Venice and Genoa, thus allowing the Ottomans to tighten their grip over regional commerce.[12] Ottoman re-ascendance in Anatolia was recognized as a threat by all of its neighbors,[13] but posed the greatest threat to Iran. Ottoman restrictions on trade and the pilgrimage rights of Shi‘is put Iran in a precarious economic position[14] and fostered resentment among “folk Shi‘is” in the eastern provinces of Ottoman Anatolia.[15] The origins of the Safavids as a political and military force capable of resisting the Ottomans were intrinsically linked to the resentment felt by this population, a factor that the Safavids would eagerly exploit in the ensuing conflict.

What gave the Safavid dynasty an advantage over the other sheikhdoms and sultanates of early modern Iran was the unparalleled zeal of their followers, rooted in the family’s origins as the leaders of a Sufi ṭarīqah.[16] The Safaviyya was founded in Ardebil in the early 14th century by Sheikh Sāfi ad-Dīn Ishāq. The order was originally viewed as a Sufi order within the frame of Sunni Islam as most of the inhabitants of Ardebil followed the Shafi‘i maḏhab.[17] Under Sheikh Sāfi and his two successors, the order expanded its following to over 100,000 through land grants and reputable teachings, but the Safavid leaders had hitherto considered themselves primarily the spiritual guides of their disciples. When Junayd took over the Safavid order in 1447, he brought about abrupt and radical changes that set in motion the process of converting the once purely spiritual order into a force to be reckoned with.[18]

Coming to power just a few months after the death of Shāhrukh, Junayd attempted to catapult the Safaviyya into political power by putting forth a twofold claim to the throne of the Qara Qoyunlu (which consisted of Mesopotamia, Āzarbāijān, and the Lesser Caucasus). He first claimed he was descended from ‘Ali (the fourth Caliph) by falsifying his genealogy and claiming the title of Sayyid, and then argued that his descendants had precedent to rule on those grounds; thus, Junayd established the Shi‘a identity of the Safaviyya.[19] While Junayd’s Shi‘ism did not alarm the Shi‘a Sultan of the Qara Qoyunlu, Jahān Shāh, Junayd was recognized as a threat and was expelled from Ardebil for his political ambitions.[20] Junayd fled to Konya in eastern Anatolia, where the resurgence of the Turkomans and their prompt reabsorption into the Ottoman Empire bred an atmosphere of unrest and the growth of revolutionary ghulāt movements. The most notable of these groups was the Ḥurūfi sect, a mystic Shi‘a movement that had gained a large Turkoman following which even included the ruler of Dulkadir.[21] Junayd’s propagation of extremist Shi‘i ideas upon his arrival in Konya earned him a heterogeneous following of Turkomans, but the unfavorable reception he received from rulers and theologians forced him into the country where he and his followers began to engage in ghazw.[22]The one ruler who gave Junayd a warm reception was Uzun Hasan, who secured an alliance through marriage with the Safavids to defeat the Qara Qoyunlar.[23] Junayd spent the rest of his life as a ghāzī; by the time he died in a 1460 raid against Sunnis in Azerbaijan, Junayd had converted the Safavid family into a political force with a zealous backing of religious warriors and a legitimate claim to power from its connections with the ruling dynasty of Iran.[24]

Junayd was succeeded by his son Haydar, scion of his union with Uzun Hasan’s sister, who was reinstalled in Ardebil by the Aq Qoyunlu in 1469. Haydar’s reinstatement in the order’s hereditary seat led to an influx of adherents from eastern Anatolia and northern Syria. These Turkomans were able to organize the ghuzat and pressure the Safavid ruler to transform the order into a militant organization. These militant followers of extremist disposition became known as the kızılbaş[25]and they promptly began to deify Haydar by looking towards him as their qibla rather than towards the ka‘bah in Mecca. The death of Uzun Hasan in 1478 threw Iran into a downward spiral, a situation which Safavid leaders exploited to their own advantage. Haydar resumed extensive ghazw operations in northern Iran ostensibly to avenge his father’s death and consolidate Safavid power in the region. He too, however, was killed when his kızılbaş army was defeated by an anti-Safavid coalition. The first official Ottoman reaction to the Safavids’ rise came in the aftermath of the battle when Bayezid II wrote to the Aq Qoyunlu coalition leader saying “hearing of Haydar’s death had increased my delight…the strayed hordes of Haydar, God’s curse be upon them.”[26] Recognizing the danger presented by the kızılbaş when allowed to flourish, the warring factions of the Aq Qoyunlu persecuted the Safavid heirs by killing Haydar’s heir, Ali Mirza, and forcing his successor Esmā‘il into hiding. When Esmā‘il left his refuge and set out for Ardebil in 1499, his eyes were set not only on Iran but also on the native land of his kızılbaş: the Ottoman heartland of Anatolia.[27]

As Esmā‘il was preparing to storm onto the world stage, a full-scale rebellion was underway led by Mustafa Karamanoğlu, in Ottoman Anatolia with the support of the extremist Turgut and Varsaq tribes, two tribes loyal to the Safavids.[28] In 1500, after visiting his ancestor’s tomb in Ardebil, Esmā‘il called upon his followers to gather in Erzincan beyond the borders of Iran, deep into Ottoman territory. The Safavid ruler then reached out to Venice asking for artillery, but the aid never came; Furthermore, the obstruction of the movement of his followers by the Ottomans left him when only 7,000 men were awaiting him in Erzincan. It is clear from his choice of Erzincan as a rallying point that Esmā‘il’s intended to enter Anatolia before conquering Iran to join the widespread rebellion in Karaman, but he decided to return to Iran when his grandiose plan did not come to fruition. From Anatolia, the Esmā‘il and his kızılbaş moved through Shirvan south and into Āzarbāijān where they crushed their resistance at the battle of Sharūr. Esmā‘il then entered the Aq Qoyunlu capital of Tabriz and proclaimed himself Shāh. By 1508, with the capture of Baghdad, all of Iran was under Safavid sway.[29]

Esmā‘il’s consolidation of Iran under Safavid rule was much to the chagrin of Bayezid II. The Sultan opted not to initiate direct military action against Shāh Esmā‘il, but he did relocate 30,000 Shi‘a extremists out of Anatolia and into Greece in an attempt to weaken the Safavid following. From the outset, Esmā‘il went on the offensive against the Ottomans. The Shāh laid claim to Ottoman Trebizond and again attempted to improve relations with the Ottomans’ Venetian enemies. Under Bayezid II, internal divides and economic difficulties forced the Ottomans to adopt a policy of appeasement towards the Safavids, which allowed them to further consolidate their power and spread Shi‘ism within their borders. This gave Shāh Esmā‘il the leeway to merely inform the Sultan that he was passing through Ottoman territory when he attacked the principality of Dulkadir. The passive policy of Bayezid II angered Selim, then governor of Trebizond, who would go on to adopt a much more aggressive attitude towards the Safavids upon becoming Sultan. In 1512, Selim forced the abdication of his father, with the support of the Janissaries, and Ottoman Empire erupted into a civil war over the succession. The three years of civil strife which followed were further aggravated by the Safavids who lent their support to another kızılbaş rebellion, this time in western Anatolia. Nevertheless, Selim’s triumph over his elder brother, Ahmad, in 1513 was a bad omen for Shāh Esmā‘il.[30]

The short rule of Sultan Selim I (1512-20) signaled a major shift in the Ottoman policy vis-à-vis the Safavids towards clear aggression. From a strategic standpoint, Selim’s wanted to go on the offensive against the Safavids to secure the trade routes in the Upper Euphrates and to create a buffer in eastern Anatolia to prevent the Safavids from subverting the Ottoman Shi‘i Turkoman population. The conflict took on a religious veneer when Selim was forced to secure a religiously-based cassus belli. Prior to his campaign into Iran, he obtained two fatwās[31]which indicted the kızılbaş as unbelievers and declared it a responsibility of every Muslim to annihilate the Safavids’ followers. Having obtained justification for destroying the kızılbaş, Selim ordered an embargo against Iran and marched east. Living up to his moniker “the grim,” he massacred 40,000 ghulāt as he moved through Anatolia. The two armies met on the plains of Chaldiran in 1514 where the Safavids were defeated by the Ottomans who outnumbered them by more than two-to-one. While Selim only annexed Safavid territory in eastern Anatolia and Kurdistan, Esmā‘il’s defeat at Chaldiran shattered the hitherto invincible aura of the Shāh. It was the Mamluks who suffered most at the hands of Selim; their empire was totally absorbed by Selim in the aftermath of their support for the Safavids. To secure Selim’s legacy, his successor would have to again change the Empire’s policy towards Iran.[32]

The ascension of Süleyman II ushered in a new era in the Ottoman-Safavid rivalry characterized by the Ottomans’ adoption of containment as a strategy against the Safavids. The death of Shāh Esmā‘il in 1524 led to infighting in Iran among prominent kızılbaş leaders as his son, Tahmāsp II was only ten years old; disorder in the Safavid Empire allowed Süleyman to return to the Empire’s traditional neighborhood of expansion in the Balkans.[33] Tahmāsp finally took control of the country in 1532, putting an end to what Savory has called “the kızılbaş interregnum.”[34] However, the country was still reeling from the decades of civil war which featured intermittent Uzbek invasions from the steppes and defections to the Ottomans.[35] This led Süleyman to plan a large-scale campaign against the Safavids to bring Armenia, Kurdistan, and Lower Mesopotamia into Ottoman control.[36] By 1534, Süleyman had succeeded in establishing a cordon sanitaire around Iran.[37] Realizing that the Safavids no longer had the capabilities to face the Ottomans head on after what happened at Chaldiran, Tahmāsp adopted scorched-earth tactics and avoided engaging the Ottomans in battle.[38] Süleyman made two more incursions into Safavid territory in an attempt to keep them in check, but Tahmāsp managed to bring the Ottomans to the negotiation table by successfully waging a war of attrition. The resulting 1555 Treaty of Amasya—in which the Safavids recognized Ottoman sovereignty over Mesopotamia, the Caucuses, and Kurdistan— demonstrates both the success of Süleyman’s strategy of containment and Tahmāsp’s adoption of pragmatic tactics when faced with an insurmountable enemy.[39]

Following the ratification of the Treaty of Amasya, there was a noticeable effort on the part of both parties to abide by its provisions even in future times of conflict. For example, during the Ottoman-Safavid war of 1603-18, merchants were protected when moving through enemy territory; this is in stark contrast to trade embargo of Selim I during the first hostile encounter of the two empires.[40] This rapprochement culminated with the peace negotiations of 1736, where Nader Shāh, a Safavid general who eventually overthrew the dynasty, retook the Caucasus from the Ottomans and secured the safety and rights of Iranian ḥajjis.[41]This constituted recognition by the Ottomans of Nader Shāh’s efforts to curtail the extremist Shi‘a element of Iranian society by applying the Ja‘farifiqh[42]to Twelver Shi‘ism.[43] Thus, these negotiations were not only significant in the normalization of Ottoman-Iranian relations, but also in the construction of a new, almost Augsburgian framework of inter-Muslim relations that formally recognized the autonomy and religious freedom of individual Muslim countries.

The Ottoman-Safavid relationship was largely conflictual for most of the existence of the two polities. The rivalry had its roots in the social conflict between nomadic and sedentary Turkic groups vying for control over Anatolia, and its geostrategic importance as an integral part of both the Iranian and Turkish economies. Ottoman expansion into this region in the aftermath of the Timurian conquests and subsequent suppression of the tribal Turkoman identity made it a perfect breeding ground for extremist religious beliefs such as those espoused by the early political leaders of the Safaviyya. The Safavids were able to harness Turkoman unrest and convert it into a formidable force of kızılbaş warriors, capable of subverting Ottoman ambitions in the region and secure Iranian interests. The aggressive reaction of the Ottomans to the expansionist designs of the Safavids towards Anatolia, justified through religious differences, engendered a century-long sectarian conflict. Ottoman containment of the Safavids resulted in a workable stalemate and economic détente between the two countries, concurrent with the entrenchment of two distinct religious identities, primarily state-imposed, to ensure the continued survival of each state’s legal-administrative framework. The stalemate was broken and a rapprochement was achieved in 1736 when the rulers recognized each other’s religious confessions as artificial impediments to peace.


Allouche, Adel. The Origins and Development of the Ottoman-Safavid Conflict (906-962/ 1500-1555). Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1983.

Aşıkpaşazade. Tevārīh-i Āl-i Osmān. Edited with an introduction by Alī Bey. Istanbul: Matbah-ı Amire, 1914. (as cited in Allouche, 1983). [Turkish]

Babinger, Franz. Mahomet II le Conquérant et son Temps, 1432-1481. Translated by H.A. del Medico. Paris: Payot, 1964.

Browne, E.G., A Literary History of Persia. Vol 3. Cambridge: The University Press, 1969.

Cahen, Claude. Pre-Ottoman Turkey. Translated by J. Jones-Williams. London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1968.

Inalcık, Halil. “The Ottoman Economic Mind and Aspects of the Ottoman Economy.” Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East, pp. 207-218. Edited by M.A. Cook. London: Oxford University Press, 1970.

Labib, Subhi. “The Era of Suleyman the Magnificent: Crisis of Orientation.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 10, no. 4 (1979): 435-51.

Mazzaoui, Michael M. The Origins of the Ṣafawids: Šǐᶜism, Ṣūfism, and the Ġulāt, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH, 1972.

Riedlmayer, Andräs. “Ottoman-Safavid Relations and the Anatolian Trade Routes: 1603-1618.” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 5, no. 1 (1981): 7-10.

Savory, R.M. “The Struggle for Supremacy in Persia after the death of Timūr,” Der Islam, 40 (1964): pp. 38-51.

──────. “The Principal Offices of the Ṣafawid State during the Reign of Ṭahmāsp I (930–84/1524–76).” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 24, no. 1 (1961): 65–85.

Sood, Gagan D.S., “The Rise of the Islamic Empires,” London School of Economics, London. Oct. 22nd, 2018. University Lecture.

Tucker, Ernest. “THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS OF 1736: A Conceptual Turning Point In Ottoman-Iranian Relations.” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 20, no. 1 (1996): 16-37.

Woods, John E. The Aqquyunlu: Clan, Confederation, Empire. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1976.

[1] The romanization of foreign words in this essay attempts to employ the best existing system, on a case-by-case basis, for the transcription of sounds rather than the transliteration of each written letter. With this goal in mind, Persian words are transcribed according to the most recent United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names standard (2012), Arabic words are transcribed using the system found in Hans Wehr’s A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, and Turkish/Azerbaijani words are rendered in their respective modern scripts.

[2] Derived from the Arabic root “gh-l-w” meaning “to exceed proper boundary,” hence ghāli (pl. ghulāt) literally means “exaggerator.” Conventionally the term is used pejoratively by Sunnis to refer to Muslims with “extreme views, especially Shi‘a and Sufi Muslims who view an imām (Shi‘a leader) or walī (Sufi saint) as divine.

[3] Literally “Twelver” Shi‘ism, a branch of Shi‘a Islam whose adherents believe in twelve divinely ordained imams; synonymous with “Imāmī” Shi‘ism.

[4] The medieval/early modern term, of Persian origin (meaning “quasi-Turk” or “Turk-like”), used to refer collectively to speakers of the Oğuz languages of nomadic background (e.g., Azeris, Afshars, Qarapapaqs).

[5] Sood, Gagan D.S. “The Rise of the Islamic Empires.” Lecture at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London, 22 October, 2018.

[6] Savory, R.M. “The Struggle for Supremacy in Persia after the death of Timūr.” Der Islam, 40 (1964): 38-51.

[7] Woods, John E. The Aqquyunlu: Clan, Confederation, Empire. Minneapolis: Bibliotheca Islamica, 1976., pp. 20-21.

[8] Allouche, Adel. The Origins and Development of the Ottoman-Safavid Conflict (906-962/1500-1555). Berlin: Klaus Schwarz, 1983., pp. 6 and 9.

[9] Riedlmayer, Andräs. “Ottoman-Safavid Relations and the Anatolian Trade Routes: 1603-1618.” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 5, no. 1 (1981): 7-10.

[10] Babinger, Franz. Mahomet II le Conquérant et son Temps, 1432-1481. Translated by H.A. del Medico. Paris: Payot, 1964., p. 365.

[11] Allouche, Origins and Development, p. 19.

[12] Inalcık, Halil. “The Ottoman Economic Mind and Aspects of the Ottoman Economy.” Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East, pp. 207-218. Edited by M.A. Cook. London: Oxford University Press, 1970., p. 221.

[13] Allouche, Origins and Development, p. 28.

[14] Ibid., p. 21.

[15] Mazzaoui, Michael M. The Origins of the Ṣafawids: Šǐᶜism, Ṣūfism, and the Ġulāt, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag GmbH, 1972., pp. 58-66.

[16] Sood,  “The Rise of the Islamic Empires.” (London: the LSE, 2018); on ṭarīqah, literally means “path” in Arabic, and refers to a Sufi religious order, a congregation formed around a mystic teacher.

[17]A school of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in Arabic, Shafi‘ism is one of the four major “orthodox” schools.

[18] Allouche. Origins and Development., pp. 34-38.

[19] Aşıkpaşazade. Tevārīh-i Āl-i Osmān. Edited with an introduction by Alī Bey. Istanbul: Matbah-ı Amire, 1914., pp. 264-269. (as cited in Allouche 1983, 44).

[20] Allouche, Origins and Development., p. 44.

[21] Browne, E.G., A Literary History of Persia. Vol. 3 Cambridge: The University Press, 1969., pp. 365-375

[22] Allouche, Origins and Development., pp. 45-47; on ghazw, literally means “raid against the infidel.”

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Literally meaning “red heads” in Turkish due to their distinctive read headgear.

[26] Ibid., p. 55.

[27] Ibid., pp. 49-60.

[28] Cahen, Claude. Pre-Ottoman Turkey. Translated by J. Jones-Williams. London: S&J, 1968., p. 355.

[29] Allouche, Origins and Development., pp. 63-82.

[30] Ibid., pp. 85-90.

[31] Formal religious ordinances in Islam, Arabic.

[32] Ibid., pp. 101-127; on the ideological aftermath of Chaldiran in the Safavid Empire, Sood, “The Rise of the Islamic Empires.” (London: the LSE, 2018).

[33] Ibid., p. 133.

[34] Savory, R.M. “The Principal Offices of the Ṣafawid State during the Reign of Ṭahmāsp I (930–84/1524–76).” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 24, no. 1 (1961): 65–85., p. 70

[35] Allouche, Origins and Development., p. 138.

[36] Labib, Subhi. “The Era of Suleyman the Magnificent: Crisis of Orientation.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 10, no. 4 (1979): 435-51., p. 450.

[37] Allouche, Origins and Development., p. 139.

[38] Ibid., p. 140.

[39] Ibid., p. 144.

[40] Riedlmayer, “Ottoman-Safavid Relations and the Anatolian Trade Routes., p. 9.

[41] Tucker, Ernest. “THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS OF 1736: A Conceptual Turning Point In Ottoman-Iranian Relations.” Turkish Studies Association Bulletin 20, no. 1 (1996): 16-37., p. 36; ḥajji, Arabic for pilgrims travelling on the ḥajj to Mecca.

[42] The introduction of the Ja‘fari school of jurisprudence by Nader Shāh was intended to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shi‘a Islam, which he identified as the source of Safavid isolation and decline. The school banned the Shi‘a practices that were most offensive to Sunnis (such as cursing the first three Caliphs). Though the Ottomans rejected his proposal to officially recognize the Ja‘fari school as a maḏhab, their concessions in the 1736 peace talks demonstrate their willingness to accommodate a softer form of religion in Iran.

[43] Ibid., p. 23.

Wars and conflict is nowadays

Are journalistic practices in the reporting of conflict and war significantly different to routine reporting?
The reporting on wars and conflict is nowadays an important part of warfare. War Journalist, have the chance to come extremely close to combat and thus being able to give first hand information on a wars development and outcome. Wars are nowadays considered to not only having to be fought on the battlefield but also on television and thus in the living rooms of literally every household in the world, enabling the viewers and reader to closely follow these events. However, due to the severity of wars, war correspondence is often associated with problems such as “…allegiance, responsibility, truth, and balance…” (Allen and Zelizer, 2004: p.3) When a war correspondent witnesses near death experiences, it is often hard to stay neutral. This in turn could cause reports of war to become biased. War reporting often comes under crossfire of criticism, to the use of unbalanced government source or the ability of newspapers, television stations or any other media corporation to manipulate a journalists report. While routine reporting obviously often has the chance of being biased towards one side just as conflict and war reporting has, the circumstances under which these biases are formed are different. There is a major difference between how information is perceived when under the perils of war when compared to simply working from within a newsroom.

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Routine reporting when compared to reporting on wars and conflicts is much more factual. In most cases, routine news stories are backed up by facts, based on official sources. These researches into an issue can range from having to be immediate or can take month to research, depending on the genre of the issue and its situation, and the importance of the story. Although with the tendency of today’s need for the media to be quick, in order to report on a topic before any other media company is able to report on the same topic, routine reporters have a bit more leeway on the schedules. War reporting on the other hand has to be even more instant. Reporters must give statements on a regular basis and unlike routine reporting, a major part of their reports is mainly based on what they have seen, heard and experience. They rely heavily on interviews with soldiers, generals that are stationed in the warzone, as well as having to try to get information from civilians and maybe even opposing forces. Routine reporting also does not entwine the audience in the way war reporting does. It gives a much more distant view, and thus many viewers only see an event passively and are not necessarily as interested and concerned about it as the audience of war reporting is.
War reporting can be very one sided. It is obvious, that for example an American reporter will usually mainly report on the status of the US military rather than that of its enemy. This can be caused due to patriotic views of the journalist, the country that his media institution is based in and the views of both of the government and the audience back home that is being reported to. It makes sense that the audience will usually be more interested in the situation of their own troops rather than those of the opposition. In covering a conflict, the media usually relies on sources from the military. Boyd-Barrett considers “this myopia might be attributed to the media reluctance to be seen as relying on ‘unreliable,’ ‘censored,’ or ‘unverified’ reports” (Boyd-Barrett, 2004)
A journalist that is amidst a military conflict is often profoundly affected by the extreme environment he is in. A journalist usually tries to abide by certain news values, so as to give an account of a situation as clearly and objectively as he can. However, these news values which might provide journalists well during peaceful times are hard to abide by when journalists are in a war stricken area. Their position of a journalist can be very outlandish. While being engulfed by the conflict, a journalist is still a bystander, a close yet distant observer. He interacts with soldiers and civilians, and yet has no physical part in any of the conflict’s outcomes. “Confronted with the often horrific realities of conflict, any belief that the journalist can remain distant, remote or unaffected by what is happening ‘tends to go out the window’ in a hurry.” (Allen and Zelizer, 2004: p.3) Another issue to be put into account is the patriotic and military views of a journalist with which he went into the warzone. Even if he enters a warzone with sceptical views of the war he is reporting on, sooner or later a reporter tends to associate himself with the side he arrived and is continuously travelling with, he becomes more familiar with them, and also develops the need to feel safe and thus stays with his group. Some individuals, when put under extreme conditions can develop as stated by Gralnick (2003, in Tumber, 2003), something similar to the ‘Stockholm syndrome’, where while both sides are at war, he clings to one side for his protection, and develops a sense of extreme loyalty to them. All these factors in turn have a profound effect on the journalist’s news story. Under these harsh circumstances, the ability of a journalist to stay neutral and keep an entirely unbiased opinion in his report is practically impossible. Obviously, similar situations, while most definitely not as harsh and drastic, can happen in routine journalism, but the chance of such an unbiased report being broadcasted is much more likely to be resolved, when compared to war correspondence. “It is much easier for producers and editors, situated miles away, to hold on to the central idea of objectivity, even as their colleagues in the field find the concept less easy to grasp.”(Tumber, 2004) The war correspondent does not only report, but as mentioned earlier is a ‘participating bystander’. Everyday journalists on the other hand usually do not develop such a strong bond with individuals they are reporting about, either due to their distance, or the fact that they only have short contact with these individuals. Despite the fact that they might develop a sense of sympathy towards a person, it usually is nowhere near as extreme as those sympathies that a war journalist can develop.
As cruel as these situations seem to be on the mental state of a reporter, having to keep an objective view of events, whilst being completely surround by hardship, opposing sides with opposing views and strategies, he still has to be able to give a truthful account to the public, that relies on them to try and be as honest and unbiased as possible. Only recently, during the Iraqi conflict in 2003, journalists were ‘embedded’ into US and British military units. They literally became part of a unit. They went wherever that unit went, experienced what that military unit experienced. It could be considered that this was a strategy implemented by the United States, so as to be able to control what was presented to the public. “It may be that embedded reporters are, despite often diligent objectivity and undoubted courage, forced by current constraints to produce a kind of coverage which may, for some, make war appear more acceptable.” (BBC News Online, 2003) While this strategy of embedding, enabled journalists to be closer to the action, and being able to give more factual, and immediate reports, it could possibly have reduced their abilities to present reports with ‘both sides of the story’. “…what was missing during the conflict was a broader analysis, especially in relation to how Iraqi people saw and experienced the conflict.” (BBC News Online, 2003).
Reporting on wars and conflicts is not only done by the war journalists alone, but is very much under the control of the news agency these war journalists work for. Whilst a war journalist might be able to give a report as truthfully and unbiased as he possibly can, the news agency is able to influence the way the story is presented to the public. In this way, the news agency itself is able to ‘self-censor’ stories, by distorting them, picking and choosing which parts of a journalist’s report should be broadcasted or printed. Thus different news agencies are able to take sides, or make their reports seem more neutral. An example for this is the reports done by MSNBC and Fox News. Both of these news broadcasting stations tried to present the Iraqi war in a brighter light, supporting the war and their soldiers. “It followed an aggressively partisan approach, where newscasters referred to US and British troops as ‘we,’ ‘ours,’ ‘heroes’ and ‘liberators’ and actively deflected criticism of the invasion” (Allen and Zelizer, 2004: pg.9) On the other hand, with modern media and communication technologies which enable us to send and receive information straight away, the immediacy of news, and the race of being the first to present a story, has caused news stories to be shortened, incomplete, not in depth and in some cases possibly wrong. Furthermore, Hoskins believes that “in this way a drive for immediacy directly constrains the ability of journalists to perform their jobs effectively.” (Hoskins, 2004: p.46) These two factors show that there is a certain similarity between routine reporting and war and conflict reporting. All stories deemed newsworthy are part of the race over which news agency reports on an event first. In this case it does not matter if it is news about a war or conflict, celebrity or political scandal, the death of an important person, or the reporting on an earthquake or other natural disaster. Reporting news is in straightforward terms, a fight for viewers and readership between news agencies, thus in fact a means to making a monetary profit.
Furthermore, the capability of making news on conflicts and war live and in action gives it a sense of reality television, not only making it feel real and immediate and close, but gives an audience a certain thrill and thus could be considered to be entertainment as well as being news reporting on war. Frankly, news in general, is being ‘dumbed down’. Some might argue that this tendency to turn war, which in fact should be viewed as quiet a serious affair, into a sort of perverse entertainment is rather unethical. However, the idea of turning something that might sometimes seem far away and an affair of politicians, states and the military, and not necessarily a real concern to the standard citizen, into a gripping, interesting and entertaining coverage does not necessarily dumb down the audience itself, but causes them to follow and concern themselves with a war or conflict and thus stirring an interest in the event itself. Even if the means used to create this effect are not entirely moral. This essentially means that people actually become more involved, rather than simply seeing it as a distant incident. The media, especially television broadcasting, and the ability of showing live events as mentioned before had the tendency to be similar to exciting reality television which often ‘glued’ the audience to the television screens. This was further exploited by broadcasters because their reporters were able to use the potential of their surroundings, the close proximity to danger and the sometimes unknown near future of the conflict that could affect them at any moment. The on the scene reporters often seemed somewhat fearful, in a hurry and their words might be slightly jumbled. While these portrayals by the journalist might actually be or at least seem authentic, they cause viewers to find these reports more interesting than when the event is simply and dryly presented from within a newsroom, thousands of kilometres away from the actual event All these effects caused viewers to be able to accept what the reporter was experiencing as true because the reporter is in the middle of the conflict, reporting on what he is experiencing and seeing.
Another factor that comes both with war journalism and the fact that many media agencies are becoming largely global in their coverage, is the effect their reports can have on the outcome of a conflict or war. This is called the ‘CNN Effect’. The media in this case has an immense power. It has the ability of bringing specific news (or not) to the public, which often triggers the need for the government to take actions accordingly. “If a humanitarian emergency is not featured in the media, it does not become an emergency for political leaders and policy makers.” (Rosenblatt, 1996 in Carruthers, 2000: p. 198-199)
To conclude, war journalism, is highly subjective to various influences. A war journalist’s perception of his surroundings, his patriotic stance towards a certain country, his emotional connection with the soldiers and civilians, the chance of death or serious injury as well as his own perception of the war, all distort his ability to be completely objective in his reporting. Routine reports are not influenced in such a way because they are not present. Furthermore, the ability of news agencies to be able to take patriotic and pro-war stances towards their country, so as to both gain public support for the war and to gain viewers and readers for their own monetary benefits. News agencies capability, through various methods of putting pressure upon a government, political and or military group to take action or non-action can have a profound impact on the outcome of a conflict. And lastly, a government’s ability to confine journalists to only seeing a conflict or war from a single perspective can also have intense effects on the news reporting. Routine reporting on the other hand, takes a much more distant stance towards the subjects it reports on and hence is able to take up a much more neutral stance towards an event.

Theories on Conflict

Conflicts today abound which demand explanation. Understanding the roots of conflict is especially true now given the rise of populism which catapulted controversial leaders like President Donald Trump of the United States and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, each of their own right riding onto the wave of either anti-immigration or anti-crime sentiment. Trump has sparked numerous protests due to his contentious Muslim travel ban (Thrush, 2017) while Duterte has earned international condemnation for the spate of extrajudicial killings arising from his all-out war on drugs and criminality (Al Jazeera, 2017). Each of these leaders claim to be resolving root causes of conflict in their respective countries – Trump, restricting immigration in order to address the imminent security threat that the liberal immigration policies of erstwhile US administrations have posed, while Duterte, clamping down on the drug trade which he considers to be a top cause of underdevelopment and national degeneration.
The theories on conflict discussed and learned over the course of three weeks helped me frame a deeper understanding as to why both Trump and Duterte’s analysis may be critically attacked and in what instances, they are either correct or fall short. A school of theories under the systems theory consider how the roots of violence are all interconnected and are products of social, political and economic interactions. New emerging theories such as the human needs theory consider the deprivation of basic human needs to be a direct cause of conflict and suggest that addressing the same would eradicate conflict. Lastly, various social theories from Karl Marx to Franz Fanon provide me with lenses to be used in studying social disruption for these theories really enunciate what causes societal fractures and what can be done about it. This paper is a critical reflection of the following body of conflicts theories.
Discussion of Conflict and Social Theories
Systems Theory
Simply stated, the systems theory considers conflict to be the whole of many problematic parts of society which are inextricably linked. Conflict therefore arises not due to individual or micro-level differences and contradictions but of a general system. Systems theories seek to understand conflict by looking at how several elements located in a social system interact with one another. Violence, according to systems theorists, should be viewed from the level of (1) individuals (2) dyads; (3) subsystems (family, community, religious groups and general society). Subsystems are organized in a manner which could either encourage or deter or regulate violence. Direct efforts at changing elements of the system will not prosper since the system will immediately provide a replacement for the missing element. Hence, ending violence, which is a systematic problem requires a coordinated and comprehensive approach. The general systems theory is useful in uncovering relationships and interactions which contribute to violence from different levels. However, its weakness lies in the fact that it is a “value-free” theory which requires theoretical directions.
Structural violence
Structural violence, according to John Galtung, pertains to a form of violence arising from a social structure or institution which harms people by deliberately depriving them of capacity to satisfy their immediate human needs. This kind of violence does not take a physical form or image but consists of “avoidable impairment of fundamental human needs” (Galtung,  1969, p. 32). The notion of structural violence impels one to look for inequalities within social structures – may it be inequalities in wealth, power, privilege, access and opportunity which breed injustice. In the same light, structural violence also compels one to look at the connections between what might be falsely considered as mutually exclusive worlds. In essence, the theory of structural violence as a way of addressing conflict encourages people to proceed with moral outrage and critical participation where previously our reflexive response would be passive acceptance of these inequalities. Institutionalized racism, classism and sexism are forms of structural violence which are usually considered as inherent characteristics of society. Galtung however encourages to look beyond these inequalities and to find connections in order to dismantle structures which permit these injustices. In my view, structural violence is a timely method of deconstructing conflict in today’s world. For instance, the notion of viewing refugees as a potential source of conflict is a worldview tacitly accepted in global policy. Acceptance of refugees is viewed to potentially open the floodgates for terrorism, crime, and other degenerate activities that threaten national security. However, when viewed from perspective of structural violence, we can proceed to view the refugee crisis more critically and conclude that instead of treating refugees as potential threats, they should instead be viewed as people who deserve to be treated with dignity.
Relative Deprivation Theory
This theory assumes that social conflict arises due to people’s perceptions of inequality. When people perceive that there exists a disparity from what they deserve to enjoy from what they currently enjoy, they became discontented with their situation (Walker & Pettigrew, 1984). The relative deprivation theory hypothesizes that conflict arises when the gap between two groups within a particular population is too wide, the possibility of rebellion becomes more likely. The assumption is that people are bound to perceive that they enjoy certain entitlements from society and when they are deprived of this while a number of other people belonging to the same population enjoy the same, dissent comes into being. Relative deprivation theory focuses on value expectations which need to be met within a certain society. Thus, when a society has a relatively high rate of economic inequality, the more likely it is that people will rebel. While the origin of the deprivation is economic, a state of poverty does not necessarily translate to violence. However, when individual expectations of poor people become transformed as a group identity, they become a political force that will not hesitate to use violence in order to combat their perceived discrimination. In other words, relative deprivation theory considers that violence stems from a person’s judgment of his or her economic circumstances in the community. To a certain extent, an individual’s subjective evaluation of his or her community status is essential to their conduct.
Theory of cooperation
The theory of cooperation proceeds from the notion that conflicts are generally characterized by cooperation and cooperation as twin motives. Deutsch (1949, 1985) formulated this theory in order to comprehend the conflict process better and how to come up with more effective conflict resolution methods.
Deutsch’s primary thesis is that in order to resolve conflict, it is a key step to understand the nature of interdependence of both parties in conflict. Interdependence could be negative or positive. When the goals of both parties are negatively interdependent, a party’s success automatically means the other’s failure. Upon the other hand, when the goals of both parties are positively interdependent, one party’s success is correlated with the other party’s success while one party’s failure is also correlated with the other party’ failure. In the latter form of interdependence, cooperative relationships can be had in order to secure a win-win outcome for both parties to a conflict.
Cooperative relationships are considered to demonstrate several positive features such as effective communication, openness, a friendly atmosphere and commitment to mutuality. In contrast, competitive relationships bring about the opposite results such as closed communication, lack of coordinated activities, an atmosphere of suspicion and a sense of domination. Based on Deutsch’s research, constructive conflict resolution is more linked to cooperative processes rather than competitive processes which he considered destructive.
In order to foster cooperative relationships towards constructive conflict resolution, Deutsch likened it to friendly social relations. This is marked by empowering gestures and a reframing of attitudes. Thus, he recommends that both parties agree to commit to adherence to norms in the conduct of talks and negotiations. Among these norms include respect, honesty, responsiveness, forgiveness, and acknowledgment of responsibility. These values, due to their universal value and acceptance, can pose as common grounds for both parties to stand on.
Emerging Conflict Theories: Human Needs Theory
An emerging trend in conflict theory shifts the focus from the political economy to basic human needs. This perspective is anchored on the fact that human beings need to acquire essentials in order to live with dignity. Human needs theorists place the cause of conflict to unmet human needs. In this light, they argue that violence happens when certain groups or individuals are deprived of basic human needs (Burton, 1979).
Theorists however have disagreed on what “human needs” means. In Burton’s (1979) view, human needs that need to be addressed in the context of conflict go beyond the basic biological or subsistence needs. Instead, unmet needs related to social conflict include identifiy, recognition, security and development. As Burton’s human needs theory progressed, he highlighted how existing state systems have miserably failed to provide a sense of identity thereby fueling ethno-linguistic separatist movements. If certain ethnic groups are deprived of their freedom to express their own national identities within the status quo, they will tend to establish parallel “revolutionary” systems in order to achieve the same. Burton provides as concrete examples the ethnic nationalist struggle in Kosovo in 1989 as well as various gang subcultures. Burton opined that human need theory can help explain conflict and pave the way for better conflict resolution because
Rubenstein (2010) considers the human needs theory as providing a better explanation to social conflict compared to theories which focus only on the errors of a few manipulative leaders or institutions, as embodied in Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” theory. Echoing Burton’s view, Rubenstein views the human needs theory to provide the study of conflict with a more objective basis which goes beyond local or cultural differences. The needs-based approach to understanding social conflict defies traditional notions of conflict and instead uses unsatisfied human needs as the independent variable to explain why elite dominance or cultural differences lead to conflict.
However, Park (2010) critiqued Burton’s positivist framework of needs theory and encouraged a more critical definition of “needs” to mean “that there are needs that do not directly bear upon material sustenance like recognition and freedom from coercion that must also not be obstructed lest there be undesirable consequences” (p. 1). Park took issue with Burton’s reliance on the biological explanation for Needs Theory to support protection of rights and universal freedoms. Instead, she advocates for a psychoanalytic view to suggest that not needs are not universal. According to her, needs are essentially socially constructed. The needs which people pursue are socially engineered and they may even pursue “false” pleasures. In sum, Park considers with caution the use of the “black box” that is human needs. The definition of human needs is not simple but very complex and difficult to understand.
Conflict from the Lens of Social Theory
Equally relevant to the study of conflict is the development of social theory arising from social disruption. In Charles Lemert’s (2016) book, multiple social theorists and their viewpoints on conflict are critically discussed. From the classical “Great White Men” theories arose alternative views on social relationships and social conflict which can be applied to the contemporary context.
Among the most notable of these social theorists include of course, Karl Marx, publicly voted as the world’s greatest philosopher (BBC News, 2015). Marx wrote Das Kapital as well as the Manifesto together with Friedrich Engels at a time of extreme economic discontent. Marx focused on his critique of political economy which obscures the internal relationships of labor and capital and discussed a pivotal feature which is the worker’s alienation and estrangement. What is the most striking and palpable among these types of alienation is what fuels labor unrest: that of labor commodification and the reduction of the worker to a mere object. Simply stated, the more a worker produces out of his labour power, the cheaper he or she becomes as a commodity. Because the worker is paid at a fixed rate, more and more profit is being gained by the capitalist due to his work but unfortunately the worker does not earn additional wages for it. Marxist thought has gained traction especially with the crisis of global capitalism, environmental destruction, and global poverty. Until, his theory of class as the root cause of contradiction in society remains very relevant. However, many theorists developed a more expansive construction of his view on social classes. Max Weber, another classical theorist, came up with an alternative approach to the study of classes. For Marx, one’s class is defined and determined by one’s ownership of the means of production. Thus, Marx considered historical class antagonisms and identified these two groups in contemporary capitalist society as the proletariat and bourgeoisie. The contradictory relationship that the classes have pushes social development forward. Weber considers social groups and classes as determined through the distribution of power. Social stratification then, occurs through overlapping means and not only through economic differentiation.
Other social theorists also focus on micro-level analysis to understand conflict. Sigmund Freud uses psychoanalytic theory to understand inner conflict among human beings. Freud’s treatise laid down the anatomy of the self as made up of the interaction between three components dynamically interacting: the id, ego, and superego. All of these components of the self develop with socialization hence constructing the “social self.” Biology interacting with socialization shapes a human being’s personality. When one of the three elements is allowed to dominate the other two, social problems may arise.
Also developing Marx’s theory of alienation, Horkheimer and Adorno criticized the use of cultural goods in order to project “false consciousness”. Cultural goods are appropriated into transforming humans as passive and docile objects of a system which was actually oppressing them. Aside from creating a “false consciousness”, they also suggested that popular culture is geared at creating “false needs” in order to engineer human beings into consuming in a massive scale. This cultural appropriation in turn heightens human’s alienation and creates possible sources of conflict.
The readings also tell us that social theories do not stay static. Even among key capitalist thinkers, there have been different approaches to address economic problems. For instance, John Maynard Keynes challenged the neoclassical economic paradigm advanced by Adam Smith and disciples which advocated for minimal to no government interference in favor of full-out control of the “invisible hand of the market” to attain equilibrium.  Instead, Keynes suggested implementing government regulation and intervention in order to arrest the economic recession.
Social theories also help us understand racial conflict. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for an end to racial discrimination which he considered a ghastly reality America must face as a nation. In describing the horrendous social conditions which African Americans and other colored peoples are subjected to, King claimed that America had “manacles of segregation” and “chains of discrimination” which breed chronic poverty and injustice for certain segments of the population. Franz Fanon provides a stirring account of decolonization as a form of liberation. His work remains relevant especially in light of the fact that many of today’s underdeveloped countries are former colonies of imperialist nations which have not completely been unshackled from their former masters economically, politically and culturally. It is only through liberation, which is necessarily violent that the colonized “thing” becomes fully a man.
C. Wright Mills teaches the student to develop the sociological imagination which is a way of looking at themselves as the result of both biology and history and in always looking at the world through fresh eyes. One is challenged to go beyond looking at one’s self as well and instead consider one’s development as product of several processes occurring within a system.
Given the reality of global conflict today, conflict theories and social theories enable one to look at the phenomenon with renewed understanding and critical outlook. There are classical and alternative approaches of looking at conflict and conflict resolution processes. There are also classical and alternative ways of interpreting social conflict throughout history. Having a steady grasp of these theories assist the student thoroughly by providing him with several lenses to look at the problem and identify solutions.
Al Jazeera (2017). Thousands march against Duterte’s war on drugs. Retrieved from
Deutsch, M. (1985). Distributive justice: A social psychological perspective. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6 (3), 167-191.
Lemert, C. (2016). Social Theory: The Multicultural, Global and Classic Readings (6th ed.) Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Park, L. (2010). Opening the black box: reconsidering needs theory through psychoanalysis and critical theory. International Journal of Peace Studies. Retrieved from
Rubenstein, R. E. (2010). Basic Human Needs: The Next Steps in Theory Development. The International Journal of Peace Studies, 6 (1), 51-58.
Thrush, G. (2017). Trump’s travel ban blocks migrant from six nations, sparing Iraq. Retrieved from:, M. (1949). A theory of cooperation and competition. Human Relations, 2, 129-151.