Armed conflict series: Wrapping up

20 November 2013 | ResolutionPossible

Our Armed conflict series complements our Armed conflict pages in the ‘Focus on:’ section of our website. While the pages focus on facts and information, the series intends to raise questions and inspire dialogue. Through the blogs and contributions we challenge our existing perceptions of issues that directly affect us. The series also emphasises how we ourselves impact the world and the people around us.

Below you will find an overview of all the blogs and contributions we have published throughout the Armed conflict series.

Conflict and me

The series began with a recognition that even if conflicts are on the other side of the world and may seem far removed from our everyday lives, we are still directly connected to various conflicts: our governments make decisions on our behalves on military interventions and aid, as well as many of the products we buy are built of materials that originate in conflict regions.

Conflict and me

Conflict and me: Have a look at this diagram to see some of the basic connections between ‘you’ and conflict.

 

 Military intervention

In our blogs we looked at military interventions and why they are taking place as well as pros and cons of regional and international intervention.

Tom Hardy and Erik Fredrikson both shared what in their view could be a contributing factor for (western) interference in central and eastern Africa. Tom discussed the natural resources as part of the attraction, Erik focused more on the alleged spread of terrorism as an incentive to maintain military presence in the region.

Lindsay Murch asked the question about what damage can be done with international interventions, using the example of US drones strikes in Pakistan. Is it actually helping to resolve the conflict, or is it heightening tensions in the region and anti-West sentiment?

Language

Ashlee Buczek shared with us the problem that can arise when using certain terminology when talking about armed groups. Using the example of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), she explains how using words such as ‘evil’ when talking about the LRA, we close the door to sustainable solutions by not focusing on other parties responsible such as the Uganda government, therefore not addressing the root causes. Using such language may incite people to back up a military intervention, but will not necessarily fix the problem.

Alastair Mears also addresses how the use of a certain kinds of official language can influence how we view things. He looks at ‘cyberterrorism’, for example, trying to find out when a cyber attack becomes an act of ‘terrorism’ rather than a ‘normal’ cyber-attack. In his second contribution he discusses the discourse around the attack on a British soldier in London earlier this year, where again wording such as ‘terrorist’ are highly loaded: one person’s terrorist can be another’s freedom fighter.

Remembering the fallen

It was no coincidence that we chose to publish our Armed conflict series around the 11th of November. We found that Armistice Day is an extremely sensitive subject, and even within the ResPoss team we all have a wide range of opinions. One thing is for sure: we all recognise the need to remember. We highlighted the different ways that people remember, whether the focus is on the fallen soldiers, challenging war itself or remembering the fallen civilians who have no choice of living in conflict stricken areas. Joe Glenton shared with us his views of conscientious objection and how it is still viewed with the same attitude as it was during the First World War.

Hug a tree army

Please share your thoughts with us. So far most of our contributions and blogs have questioned military intervention: Join the conversation whether you agree or disagree, we’d love to hear from you. [Cartoon: Daryl Cagle]

Armed conflict is a complex and loaded topic. We recognise that most of the pieces we have so far published lean towards an anti-war sentiment. We are, however, looking forward to receiving contributions by those who view military intervention as necessary. As always, we recognise that everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has something to contribute, and we think there is huge value in listening to points of view which conflict with your own. Doing so will create a better understanding with the opportunity to develop sustainable solutions to these conflicts and, ultimately, a better world.

What have we missed? Do you have a perspective to share, questions to add, or ideas to put on the table?

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Better understanding: better world.

Contributing writers/research for this series: Tom Hardy and Hannah Caswell.

 

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