Conflict Resolution - The Need for Healing  Memory Wounds

 

A short Preface:  I am honoured to have been asked to write an article for the Jubilee Souvenir of CISRS.  I wondered what might be appropriate for the occasion.  CISRS has rendered a very useful service for Christians involved in the non partisan Mission to Society in various ways.  Perhaps the most urgent need is to motivate the Church in its Mission of Peace Making and Conflict Resolution.  This article is offered in the hope that it might invoke many in-depth studies in this field.  What is presented below has no scholarly pretensions.  It is based on real life stories and observations on them.  But even more collections of such stories indeed would help a great deal.  I wish the CISRS continuation of its great ministry in the years to come. 

Dhyanchand Carr

 

Introduction           

  Perhaps it is good to be clear about definitions, the method and the scope of this paper from the very beginning.

   In this paper the term conflict is not restricted to violent eruptions from time to time such as territorial/ideological wars between nations or communal clashes between different ethnic/religious communities, violent reprisals of Dalit uprisings for liberation, or civil wars of various kinds within nations. This author would also like to include within its ambit, collectively shared resentment and anger such as that which pertains within a caste based hierarchical social order. The social relationships within such a society are sustained by a lot of falsehood, play acting or even subversive outwitting of the subjugated to keep them that way.  Such a conflictual tension is an on going one even if open feuds and fighting surface only rarely.  This situation is often misleadingly described as harmonious.   For true peace is not to be equated with absence of open clashes.  According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary even psychological distress due to opposition of incompatible wishes can be referred to as a conflict.   How exactly do memory wounds play a part in this sort of deceptive situations of apparent amity will become clear from the stories that we shall be narrating later.

   The next important term that needs to be explained at the very outset is what we mean by Memory Wounds.  Many communities whose tale is one of woe nurture wounds in their hearts festered by constantly kept alive memories of tragic events and of those deemed responsible for the hurts they have suffered.    Such memories are kept alive either by the shared stories of the victim community by story telling, through songs and ballads, by organizing commemorative events, by erecting monuments to remember the martyrs..

  The "victor community", on the other hand also glorifies its heroes who inflicted the pain, who won wars even wars of attrition, who was the author of their dominant and privileged position and sometimes even dare to say that all this was done with divine sanction and divine help.  Thus one way or the other memory wounds are kept alive.   Therefore, all those who are committed to the task of making true community need to diffuse the feelings of  revenge, resentment, sullen anger ... that are evoked by the memory wounds in the hearts of those who have suffered the hurts and also attempt to challenge the victors to refrain from their bragging and give up   their blasphemous religious convictions.    No real reconciliation and lasting peace can be attained without doing this double-pronged work of encouragement and challenge.  This double-pronged work is easier said than done.  For we cannot say to the victimized group/community that they should give up their commemorations and remove all monuments that honour the martyrs.  But their memories can be tempered with memories of those from the other side who transcended barriers and stood with them in solidarity.  And, more importantly, the commemorations can lead to events offering forgiveness and reconciliation diffusing anger and resentment.   There are examples to illustrate this from the stories that have been selected.   

   The methodology adopted for this paper is to narrate a number of stories and draw inferences from them and arrive at some ways of dealing with memory wounds in our community building and peace making endeavours.

Stories with Worldwide Repercussions

1.       The Fascist Anti Semitic Holocaust

   This is a well-known story for those of us who have become sixty plus.  However, this story and its roots in Christian history are not that well known among the younger generation. So let us retell that story briefly.

  Jewish religious fanaticism and Roman imperialistic arrogance joined hands in getting Jesus crucified two thousand years ago.  The Christians assumed that they had the right, therefore, to take vengeance upon the Jewish people.  When the Roman emperor Constantine became a Christian, Christianity became a state sponsored religion and enjoyed the patronage of the empire.  Christian persecution of the Jews started full measure from the fourth century onwards.  The Christians satisfied themselves that they had the right to kill the Jews because the Jews had invoked a curse upon themselves saying that the blood of Jesus can be requited upon them and upon their children.  So even the community of the Jewish people who had nothing to do with the crucifixion of Jesus were made victims by the Christians.  This persecution of the Jews took monstrous proportions in the 20th century.  Adolf Hitler started a massive ethnic cleansing pogrom and annihilated at least 6 million Jews who were living in Germany and Poland.  The Christian Church watched this without protest.  The slogan used by Hitler although he had no Christian faith was "Let us kill the Jesus Killers".  Only when along with this anti Semitic pogrom Hitler also started a military campaign against Britain then the British entered into the war dragging its colonies also into the war which became World War II.  The fifteen century long anti Semitic activities has left a big scar in the heart of the Jewish community.  Although after the war the allied forces started feeling guilty about their complicity and or silent sitting on the fence the wound is still festering.  This wound combined with the Arab-Muslim take over of the whole of Palestine had resulted in the scattering of the Jews all over Europe and then suffer the holocaust during World War II.  Therefore the Jewish community nurtures a grudge against the Muslims too. 

   The British and the Europeans tried to wash their guilt by carving out Israel and driving the Palestinian Arab people out of their homeland.  Religiously the problem was that both the Muslim people and the Jewish people claimed lineage from Abraham and so each ethno-religious group claimed that they were the real heirs to God's Promise of Palestine to the progeny of Abraham.  Christians also claimed that they were not real children of Abraham they were the true children of Abraham as all the promises to Isaac had now been transferred to Christians via Jesus the True Son of Abraham.  Thus Christians have been inflicting wounds on the psyche of both the Jewish and Arab-Muslim communities.  No serious effort has been taken either politically or religiously to deal with these memory wounds which are the root cause of the West Asian on going crisis. 

   This problem is immense for any of us to try to play the role of a peace-maker.  However, we can draw some useful lessons from this history. But before we do that let me hold up some rays of hope which might become a great light of hope if the committed people from each of the communities are able to put their heads together and do something.

   We started the story with the hand of the Jewish religious leaders in the crucifixion of Jesus two thousand years ago.  During the last two centuries there have been some notable Jewish scholars who have tried to reclaim Jesus as one of their prophets thereby at least indirectly admitting that religious animosity against him in his own days was a mistake of some power hungry religionists whose kind we find in every religion.  Christians on the other hand are trying to revisit the history that led Jesus to the Cross and are pointing out that perhaps there was a greater involvement of imperial forces in the planning and execution of Jesus and the role played by the Jewish community is only that of the High Priests who were collaborators.  On the other hand the majority of the Pharisees resented Roman imperialist arrogance, just as much as Jesus himself had done.   It was wrong on the part of the New Testament writers to give the impression that the Pharisees had a big hand in the conspiracy.  Present day Judaism is derived from the Rabbinic Tradition of the Pharisees and not of the Priestly tradition.  It is also pointed out how much Jesus himself owed his understanding to the tradition of the Pharisees.   All this means that both among the Jews and among the Christians there are attempts to own past mistakes and thereby to wipe out wrongly embedded bitter memories against each other.  These minority voices need to be made louder and more people on both sides need to be won over by such sober minded people who have a commitment towards a new human community of peace.

  Today there is an unfortunate growth of Islamaphobia because some militant leaders, having been frustrated by the so called Christian West's support to Zionism are resorting to suicide bombing and such other attacks on civilian life because they do not have the military might to engage powers like the US in warfare.  Nevertheless we need to note that there are Christian historians who vehemently condemn the Crusades and the current trend of "Islamophobia" thereby stretching out a hand of friendship to the Arab-Muslim community.  Similarly there is an increasing number of Arab-Muslim leaders who are willing to accommodate the State of Israel.  They do not approve of the blotting out of Israel from the map of Palestine.  So too are a small minority of Left wing Jewish politicians who are advocating cessation of hostility against the West Bank Palestinian people.  All these people are small in number within each of the communities.  But their voices can be made louder with some concerted effort on the part of those involved in the task of peace-making. But the sad fact, however, is that it is the voice of the Christian Fundamentalists who back Bush in his support for the arrogant Zionism is that which is loud and there is growing hearing among ignorant Christians in India to such pro Zionist advocacy because it is coupled with a false belief that it finds approval with Jesus. 

   Admittedly religious fundamentalism, imperialist ambitions and the desire to exploit and plunder natural resources play a large role in instigating and sustaining conflicts.  But along with these memory wounds also play an important role.  In the above story we should notice with a sense of abhorrence that the Jewish community having suffered much have now started emulating their tormentors in spite of many of their prophets warning them that they should rather behave differently precisely because of what they have suffered and put a stop to the vicious cycle of victim turning victor.    

2.       The Religious Root of Iraq War - An Assumed Wounded Memory

   It is well known that George Bush went to war against Iraq on a false story of Saddam Hussein hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction.  It is also well known that behind this deliberately spread falsehood was the clear motive of gaining control over the enormous oil reserves of Iraq.  However, what is not so well known is that Bush is backed by a vast number of fundamentalist Christians on the assumption that what Bush was doing had a clear mandate from God.  So they argued that Bush, a born again Christian leader, was acting on his faith commitment which drove him to complete an agenda of God which began at least 3000 years ago. 

    The story that falsely creates a memory wound to rationalize Bush's campaign is this:  When Moses led the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt towards freedom to re-enter Palestine, their Promised Land the people known as Amalakites, it seems, did not allow the fugitives to pass through their territory.  This action of the Amalakites hurt the people of Israel deeply and so God wanted to do something to teach the Amalakites.  However, God did not strike down the Amalakites then and there.  For some reason God decided to wait.  When Samuel the faith driven Prophet/Judge appeared on the scene nearly three hundred years later God put it into his heart to have the Amalakites rooted out completely not sparing even women and children.  So Samuel instructed the newly appointed king Saul to carry out this task.  But this king, however, had a human heart. So he did not carry out the task of ethnic cleansing as he had been instructed.  A remnant of the Amalakites survived much to the displeasure of God.  And, alas, God had to wait for 3000 years this time until the faith driven President of the US, George Bush appeared on the scene.  And, God put it into his heart through the modern day prophets like Jerry Fallwell that Bush needs to carry out the pending agenda of God by going to war against Saddam Hussein and the people of Iraq for they are indeed the Amalakites who were spared by Saul! 

   For any right thinking person this is indeed a far-fetched story.  But the story about the prophet Samuel and the Amalakites, indeed, is in the bible.   So it is exploited to the maximum by these fundamentalist supporters of Bush. They even suggest that King Saul himself got killed by a surviving Amalakite because of his disobedience.  But what the Amalakite performed was Mercy Killing on the requested of Saul who failed in his attempted suicide and pleaded with the passer-by Amalkite to kill him.  (See these two stories in I Samuel 15 and in II Samuel 2).  For anyone who loves God and knows that unfortunately the bible narrates some stories of Genocide as if ordered by God would readily discount such rationalizations.  Samuel should be seen as a fanatic who did not understand the heart of God and would appreciate the bold disobedience of Saul.  But not so with fundamentalist religious fanatics who also have insatiable imperialist ambitions for the US and think that it is God's will.  So they built up the story of Iraq as the surviving progeny of the people once called the Amalakites, convince themselves that God is vengeful on behalf of his favourites...and are prepared to go any length to justify the war of attrition against Iraq.  Our concern is to take note of how memory wounds, justifiable or otherwise, can play a terrible role in the affairs of the nations.  The Iraq war situation is by no means unique when supposed memory wounds kept alive have played havoc.  When the former Yugoslavia disintegrated after Tito civil war broke out in Serbia.  The Serbians were involved in ethnic cleansing against Bosnians.  The Serbians belonged to the Orthodox tradition of Christianity.  A majority of Bosnians were Muslims.  According to the Serbian collective memory Islam was spread among the Bosnians under the threat of the sword.  Even if this was true it happened several centuries ago and the present day Bosnian Muslims had nothing to do with trying to spread their religion through the might of the sword.  In spite of this historical fact the Serbian Orthodox Christians started killing the Bosnians.  Their Bishop told them "Go ahead, God is with you".  The pity was that no other Orthodox community, nor even the World Council of Churches, as far as I know, ever condemned the bishop's word spewing out communal hatred.  It is sad that Christians are all too ready to forget how Columbus boasted that he killed millions of native Americans of the South American continent when they refused to become Christians; how Vasco da Gama killed thousands in India forcing people to accept the Catholic faith and how James Cook’s chaplains instigated the convict-settlers of Australia to kill many aboriginals...By the grace of God the wounds inflicted have been to a great extent forgiven and forgotten.  But Christians justify ethnic cleansing and genocide hiding behind supposed memory wounds.

Similarly the non violent religion of Buddhism also fans communal hatred in Sri Lanka keeping alive the memory of how Buddhism was driven out of Tamilnadu by Saivite uprising during the first millennium and how Indian kings made incursions into the heartland of Sri Lanka and captured the kingdom of Kandy.  The majoritarian Sinhala chauvinism is not merely an ethnic animosity it goes far back in history to the anti Buddhist pogroms in Tamilnadu during several periods in the first millennium.  As far as I am aware there is little sense of remorse about this shameful part of our history.  Rather, even famous Tamil novelists, otherwise endowed with a fair sense of social justice, like Kalki have tried to defend the anti Buddhist pogrom as a political necessity because Buddhist Mutts were spy centres for northern kingdoms.  There is a suggestion in the way they write historical novels that Saivite religious revival as such had little to do with such pogroms.  While it is wrong to fan hurtful memories and keep them alive to sustain a situation of conflict and animosity it is equally wrong for those whose ancestors were responsible for inflicting the wounds to defend and rationalize those atrocious actions of the past.  Now let us move on to some contemporary stories.

3.       Inter-caste Tensions Kept Alive through Hurtful Memories

   I am aware of two neighboring villages one belonging to a Dalit Community and another to a deemed upper caste community.  Once a cowherd of the caste village washed his herd of animals in a pond, which was the source of drinking water for the Dalits.  Just because a Dalit elder scolded him and slapped him, for dirtying their source of drinking water, the next day five people of the Dalit village, 3 women and two men were killed in broad day light.  The police played it cool even when the assassins were clearly identified.  This started a series of killings back and forth.  None of the caste village assassins have been brought to books whereas seven young men who killed seven from the caste village, four women and three children, have since paid for the action of revenge.  They were awarded capital punishment and have been executed.  The people of the Dalit village still nurture the memory wound and often talk about wanting to get even in numbers. For they have lost 12 lives altogether whereas those who were the first to offend lost only seven lives.   Their memory wound will be healed only when the caste village people take the initiative in asking for pardon, give up their caste arrogance and are willing to treat their geographical neighbours as real neighbours in the spirit of the word.  But, to most deemed upper caste people, the very word apology is anathema when it comes to apologizing to the Dalits whom they regard as underdogs who have no right to life or dignity.  So behind the memory of ugly incidents such as the one narrated we need also to understand lies longstanding memories of hurts suffered to dignity even if no physical violence had taken place.  The single recent episode of physical violence and murder is but the eruption of a seething caste pride and arrogance like that of a silent volcano.  Therefore the reverse is also true.  Even in the absence of any eruptive violence the Dalits live with a heart full of hurt feelings.  For day in and day out their dignity is violated by the practices of indignity endorsed and practiced without any pang of conscience by the caste community.  The only way this dormant volcano can be totally cooled off is by a determined effort on the part of the caste groups in rooting out all the practices which drain away the dignity of the Dalit people and making bold new initiatives in treating all people alike.

4.       Commemorative Events, Celebration of Martyrs' Days...

   A particular untoward incident may have happened in a remote place.  But the story spreads and evokes feelings of sympathy and anger widely.  Thereafter year by year the event is commemorated all over wherever communities related to the hurt victim(s) live.  From then on the event becomes a memory wound of the community.

   We cannot say that such commemorative events should not be held.  For the very reason those events are held is not merely to honour the victim(s).  The purpose is to challenge the perpetrators of such events to change the values and traditions which are the breeding ground for such tragedies.  However, this desired result is not always achieved.  Rather, the commemorations often provoke the aggressive group to react with further violence or at least to disrupt the commemorative events.   How shall we approach such a situation?  Two stories come to my mind.

   The first one is the story of a little girl called Jeya.  She was a Dalit girl living near Salem.  She went to the local primary school run by the Panchayat Union.  She was studying in standard 3.  One day she felt thirsty and went and helped herself to a drink of water from the common water pot and used the common tumbler.  The teacher who saw her drink from the common water pot beat her with a stick and caused a severe wound in one of her eyes, which eventually lost its sight.  The school authorities with the help of the caste over lords of the village intimidated the father from reporting the incident to the police.  However, some social activists who came to know of the incident encouraged the father to file a complaint.  The media gave wide coverage and the incident became a story known all over the state of Tamilnadu.  Then there were two kinds of reactions.  Many were outraged.  And there were many non Dalits who expressed their anger at the persistence of such evil practice as not allowing Dalits to share water from common water sources.  However, The state association of teachers who felt ashamed, instead of reprimanding the teacher made a strenuous attempt to cover up by creating a story that the girl in fact had hurt her eye when she fell while playing and a sharp stone damaged her eye.  Another story was that she had quarreled with a fellow student and got beaten by the other girl.  The Collector conducted a mock enquiry and gave a non committal report saying that he could not really pin the blame on anyone....

   Dalit Liberation groups however, arranged for Jeya to travel to many places and tell her story.  In addition to the loss of sight which Jeya suffered her story has been added to the many tales of woe deeply embedded in the collective memory of the Dalit People.  It would be wrong on our part, to conclude, therefore, that the incident should not have been given wide publicity at all.  Only because of the publicity she was given expert treatment at the instance of the Chief Minister, however, too late.  At least hereafter authorities would act quickly and other teachers with the same kind of caste bias would be restrained.  So publicity and commemorations do have a place in the long walk to freedom of subjugated and oppressed people.  The positive effect was that the publicity and the commemorative events that subsequently followed did make many non Dalit people feel ashamed and come out in the open to condemn the continuance of the evil of denigrating practices. 

   The second story is the story of communal tension between Tamil Hindus and the Muslim people of the East Coast of Sri Lanka.  Due to various reasons the two communities living for long in amity fell out of each other and in the late eighties many mass massacres were done by both groups against one another.  It has now become common practice that both communities celebrate the anniversaries of these massacres.  However, something positive is happening.  The on going civil war and the Tsunami tragedy of two years ago have left many devastated.  The Methodist Church started nursery schools and also employment training programs and invited all needy folk of both communities to join in.  This gave the two communities physically proximate but mentally far apart from each other to transcend that mental distance and cross emotional barriers.

   During a discussion young people from both the communities said that they would campaign for the stoppage of these commemorative events.  But in the end came up with a positive decision.  Hereafter both communities will own the martyrs of all massacres as martyrs who gave their life for the peaceful coexistence of both communities.  The young people also pointed out that a bad practice of Muslims patronizing shops run by Muslims and vice versa was sustaining the divide between the two communities and once again hit upon the idea of starting cooperatives merging shops and making them into partnership enterprises.  How far they will succeed in making these dreams real is difficult to say.  But that they are beginning to dream such dreams is significant and a sign of hope for all of us interested in conflict resolution and achieving real peace.

5.       Stories for the Healing Process

   Wounded memories can be effectively dealt with, as has already been noted, only when those responsible for the inflicting of the wounds are willing to make amends.  However, the hurt victim communities also can take the first step in reaching out a hand of reconciliation and help the 'apology-shy' aggressor to be touched into changing.  Another approach is to spread counter stories which help diffuse feelings of fear, prejudice and hatred.  Hope these points will become clear as we listen to the following stories.

a)       Truth and Reconciliation initiated in South Africa soon after Nelson Mandela became president offered amnesty to everyone who owned up the atrocities they had committed.  Many Whites, who had indulged in murder and arson of the African people, exploited the opportunity to the maximum without showing any real sign of repentance.  So the program of Truth and Reconciliation came up for severe criticism internationally.  However, there were some really challenging stories within the African communities.  In June 1976, the school children of Soweto went on a procession protesting against the imposition of Afrikanas language as the medium of instruction in schools.  The police among whom there were many Black Constables too were ordered to shoot and disperse the rally.  In the shoot out many African Children lost their lives and many others were seriously wounded leaving them maimed and disabled in many ways.  How deep a scar this would have left on the community need not be mentioned?  The immediate offshoot of this merciless killing of children was the beginning of the Black Conscious Movement which took an exclusivist stand and began to work for a South Africa completely rid of all the Whites.  Nelson Mandela became the first President in 1993 i.e. 17 years after the killing of the children by government forces in Soweto.  Soon the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up and an appeal was made to the deeply hurt Black people to forgive and forget.  The mothers of the Soweto children who were killed and or maimed took up this call seriously.  They first of all sought out the mothers/wives/sisters of the soldiers who were involved in the shooting.  They extended an arm of reconciliation and hugged and showed their real affection.  This gesture deeply touched the families of the soldiers who spoke to those actually involved in the shooting and took them to meet with the families of the victims.  Real reconciliation was achieved and lasting friendships were forged.  This story was narrated to the present writer by a person from Soweto itself as an eye witness account.  The best way to heal memory wounds is for the hurt victim sector itself to take the initiative and reach out.  When something like this is attempted institutionally as in the case of the workings of the Commission it can be abused.  But when the people themselves take the initiative the effects can be far reaching and very profound indeed.

b)          In the year 2002 Graham Staines the Australian Missionary working in Orissa among the Leprosy stricken people was slain along with two of his sons by Bajrang Dal led by a man called Dara Singh.  Immediately on hearing the news his wife Gladys who was not with him at the time said that she would forgive the assailants and would not hold any grudge against the man or his followers.  She also stayed on for three more years to continue the work of caring for the leprosy stricken people in Manoharpur in Orissa.  This story received wide acclaim all over India.  Swami Agnivesh an ardent social activist working for communal harmony and for the liberation of the Dalits, organized a March from Bubeneshwar to Manoharpur and met with Gladys Staines and expressed his deep appreciation.  He said this spirit must be imbued in the heart of every Indian.  He also wondered how Gladys Staines was able to come up with such a remark so spontaneously and genuinely.  From this story we once again the importance of the initiative of the hurt and victimised communities and individuals and we also learn the importance of wide publicity and repeated recounting of such stories so that a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation indeed can take deep roots.  It needs to be said, however, real repentance may not always result.  As for in this instance there is no evidence that Bajrang Dal or its leader Dara Singh underwent any real change of heart. Even so this seems to be the only way forward. 

c)       Two Counter Stories.

         I owe these stories to Dr. Asgar Ali Engineer.  Both had to do with Anti Muslim riots in Maharashtra.

   The first is about a student hostel under a riotous mob attack.  The mob intent on destroying all the belongings of the Muslim student residents of a Govt. Hostel in Mumbai, gave an ultimatum to all the students to leave their rooms and come to the court yard.  They said that non Muslim students can bring their belongings whereas Muslim students had to leave all their possessions including books and study notes.  Then the building was set on fire.  Among the non Muslim students who came down there was a Brahmin student called Krsihnan.  Krishnan was in the final year of his Ph.D. studies in Physics.  He came down bare handed and stood with the Muslim students.  The fire completely destroyed all the possessions and books and study notes left behind, in the case of Krishnan his 90% finished dissertation manuscript and all the reference notes were also destroyed in the conflagration.  The Muslim students were astounded by this gesture of solidarity which cost Krishnan three years of hard study along with his belongings.  When he was asked, why he chose not to save even the manuscripts of his dissertation, it seems he simply said "Yes, I would have saved my dissertation but I would have lost my humanity".  When communal hatred and legitimate grievance on the part of those who are the victims is the order of the day it is a help to be reminded that there are people like Krishnan so that our hope is not completely quenched. 

   The next story also has to do with an anti Muslim riotous mob, this time in a rural setting.  A mob set out to set fire to the Muslim enclave in a village.  At the very entrance to the village was the Dalit settlement, then came the caste Hindu dwellings and on the other end were the Muslim dwellings.  The riotous mob with torches of fire entered the village and they declared their purpose of passing right through the Dalit and the Caste Hindu settlements.  None of the village people seemed to do anything to stop the rioters from proceeding on their intent.  But out came a single Dalit woman with a sickle in her hand and stood in front of the rioters and dared them to pass her saying that if they did she would succeed in slitting the throat of at least one of them before they could kill her and pass over her body.  The mobsters stood still and one by one left without any of them daring to cross her path to reach their destination.  The Dalit woman would have experienced a lot of insults and even abuse. Yet, she had not allowed her humanity to die.  Neither was she intimidated.  She did not share the gradually growing and fast catching on sentiment of animosity against the Muslims.  She challenged the rioters single handed with great courage.  

   Stories of this kind help others to give up their nourished prejudices and also help the victim community not to give up hope about the hostile majority.  The hostile majority can be cleansed and reduced in strength if there are those people with the human spirit alive in them do not keep quiet simply because they are in the minority. 

6.       Conclusion

   I do hope that you will be browse these stories and glean many lessons for the important task of conflict resolution.  In the first two stories about the Anti-Semitic Holocaust and that of Iraq war the wounded memories were concocted and used with political intent.  The real reason for the Zionist backlash against their Arab brethren and that of the US against Iraq have other motives of gaining control over the rich oil reserves of West Asia which are now owned by the Arab nations.  Greed, hegemonistic designs and imperialist arrogance are the real reasons.  Memory wounds are used to keep the supporters on their side.  But in the case of local and micro level conflicts the hurt memories do play an important role both in keeping alive the dormant volcanoes of resentment and anger as well as in fanning them into fires of conflagration.  We need to do all we can to diffuse the situation and bring about a reconciled peace.   Hope the stories shared would help a little in that direction.

 

 

Copyleft 2006 Dhyanchand Carr; All Rights Reserved