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Encountering Conflict

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Date added: 17-09-12


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Encountering Conflict – Conflict can both crush people and inspire people to greater heights. Conflict presents itself in various forms; it can occur in different places, can be intentional or unexpected and affect people in diverse ways. To survive people then need to develop coping mechanisms to overcome or at least begin their journey of recovery. If they cannot do this, then they will not be able to move on. Conflict is a subject that everyone in the world faces on a day to day basis, but at different levels and emotions.

Conflict can be exceptionally heart wrenching, by tearing people and families apart. But these wounds motivate many inspiring people who then make a difference. Conflict is a part of life; it cannot be avoided or put on hold. People from all around the world deal with conflict, in various ways and it affects people to a different extent. Throughout life, people may experience many conflicting situations, some are built by little ongoing problems, some explode and are left to dissolve, others are blown apart - the pieces scattered, never to be put back together again.

Conflict has been exposed and expressed in many films, novels and songs over the years. The documentary ‘Omagh’ by Pete Travis is an example of the devastation that conflict can wreck on lives. The film explains how conflict can affect innocent lives. For hundreds of years there has been tension between the Catholic Irish and Protestant English. This began as Ireland divided as a country due to religion but the tension increased with British interference in Northern Ireland. The documentary focuses on one specific event within the conflict which was the bombing in the Omagh high street.

This caused 29 deaths and 220 injuries, of innocent people. The result left families crushed, broken hearted and dealing with their own conflict for a long time. The root of this devastation was religion; the Catholic Irish and Protestant English have fought for many years. Ironically the purpose of religion is to create peace, where as in Omagh it was the primary cause and branch of all the conflict. A very similar ongoing religious conflict is the fight for homeland between the Jewish and Zions (Israel and Palestinians conflict).

The Jewish were sent from Israeli homelands many hundreds of years ago, but since have suffered persecution in Europe and now wish to return to their religious homeland of Israel. This however has been met with aggression by Palestinians and the Arab nations who now inhabit the area. Like the tension in Northern Ireland, peace is a long and painful patch to find. Conflict that has dwelled upon innocent lives has an impact on others who believe it should be brought to justice.

U2 the Irish band wrote a song to express their feelings of their anger in response to the devastation in Omagh. One verse that stands out is: And the battle’s just begun There’s many lost, but tell me who has won The trench is dug within our hearts And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart. This particular verse links with the concept that conflict can devastate innocent people and their families, which are then being torn apart by the religion and also politics. Politicians can prevent conflict or bring conflict to justice.

But like the politicians in Omagh they did nothing. Thus people, like U2, stand up so hopefully the politicians can see that the conflict that has happened is still wounding many people lives, and that only they can bring it to justice. So, conflict is a piece of everyone’s lives, even though you may shun conflict, it can come up unexpectedly. Omagh is an example of how conflict can be unexpected and totally crush lives. Conflict can also inspire people to create better lives for themselves and those around them.

Kate Miller-Heidke wrote the song ‘Caught in Crowd’ about a real story of lingering childhood regret. She wanted to raise awareness to people across the world, especially adolescents, of how bullying and peer pressure are causes of conflict. The song is about a relationship growing between a teenage girl and an outcast boy who is often bullied. It discusses how both had similarities, for example they both dealt with conflict at home. Towards the end it talks about the boy getting thrown to the ground and him shouting out to her to help him.

But she ‘turned her back, and just walked away’. Kate Miller-Heidke encountered conflict and regrets the decision she made. Now she is motivated to make sure people of the younger generation do not make the same decision she made. Like Kate Miller- Heidke, Michael Gallagher, the father of Aidan Gallagher who was killed in the Omagh bombing wanted create a more satisfying life for himself, but also wanted to raise awareness that murders were not being brought to justice. He set up an Omagh Support and Self Help Group, which since 1998 have not stopped their ight. They have protested outside IRA meetings, written to the English Prime Minister and have talked to numerous newspapers but nothing has happened in relation towards the terrorist. In 2002, Michael Gallagher stated “what happened in Omagh is still capable of happening in other towns”. Because of him he has taught the world many lessons; the most important is never to give up on a just cause Traumatic conflict can motivate people to immense heights, which can make an inspiring difference to our world today.

Like Michael Gallagher, Glen McGrath lost a loved one and has not stopped fighting for what he believes in since his personal conflict. His wife, Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer. Jane McGrath had a passionate belief that every woman diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia should be able to benefit from the support of a specialist breast care nurse. Therefore, together they started up the McGrath Foundation in 2002. An additional aim of the project was to increase the awareness of breast cancer in younger women.

Jane passed away at the age of 41. Glen McGrath is more determined and devoted to the McGrath foundation by the inspiration of his loving wife. This proves that conflict can really touch people which motivates them to make a change, encouraging them to greater heights. These people have so much strength, their experiences power them on. Encountering painful conflict can bring out the best in people such as the old saying ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’ suggests people acknowledge they have made a difference in the world and become satisfied.

This is the beginning to the start of their journey to recovery or acceptance. In the movie ‘Omagh’, Michael Gallagher, his wife and two daughters have not stopped fighting for the loss of their son, who was killed in the bombing. This tragedy caused conflict between the family, but they have learnt that they need to stick together to succeed their mission of bringing the terrorists to justice. The disaster of the Omagh bombing has bought the family close, them standing up for what they believe in has helped them start their journey of recovery with each other.

Another inspiration for making something out of a terrible situation is in the novel ‘Triage’ by Scott Anderson, the character Joaquin Morales managed to escape his village that was invaded. Joaquin lost his family dealing with the conflict of losing his family and survivor’s guilt. Joaquin become a psychologist for war criminals, hoping to change them and make them realise what monstrosities they caused. This would save many lives and hopefully bring peace to Spain. This experience helped Joaquin to begin his journey of acceptance of what had happen to him.

Joaquin quoted “I’m still here. I’m still smiling” meaning that he has learnt to live with himself after encountering conflict, which motivated him in saving many lives. Conflict is a subject that everyone in the world deals with everyday, from light issues to vigorous intensities. Conflict is incredibly powerful, it can tear people apart but it also brings the best out of many inspirational humans. Conflict can motivate people to extreme lengths which can make a huge difference in the world. These differences also help the individual to deal and maybe even overcome their own conflict.

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