BLURRED LINES OF CONFLICT AND PEACE

A torn child
And burning flames
A cry for love
A cry for hate
the rain is shed
And blood is craved
For millions perish
None the brave.


A disdainful scene
And blanched faces
A layer of ash
The stench of rapists
A proclamation of love
To intangible skies
A loss of vision
Of what is in sight
Souls are sold
perfunctory smiles
A man might live
Humanity dies.

The chief of Russia’s general staff once stated that “War and peace, are becoming more blurred.” We live in a world where war and peace have no specific dimensions anymore. State-led belligerence is no longer what we see; instead states are combining efforts to establish peace in other states. ‘Gray Zone Conflicts’ have become the new norm since the world came out of the cold war era and nations have been brought to their knees by events that blindsided them. There is no more tension between countries leading to wars, just discontent among citizens, erupting into revolutions or civil war. Peace is an element that exists in a society till it doesn’t. Undercurrents of divergence exist perpetually, but so does peace, till one day the waves reach a point of no return and outright conflict transpires.

Recent conflicts have no traditionality to them and resultantly no guidebook to effectively terminate them. Gone are the days of the Mahabharata, with detailed rules defining every aspect of war, from moral to physical. Conflict today is erratic and far more dangerous than any other kind of conflict. More so because conflict today has no defined territorial boundaries and rarely identifiable leaders to negotiate with. A conversation with an American led to the statement “we should just drop a nuclear bomb on the ISIS”. The statement has stuck with me, making me realize that peace isn’t a one-shot solution, it’s a process that requires extensive dialogue. It also requires countries to be equipped with facing intra-state conflicts (including non-state actors) as opposed to inter-state conflicts. Just because violent conflict has been avoided, it does not mean that conflict has been resolved. When the root causes of dissension have been addressed and resolved, only then can we consider peace to have prevailed. Till disputes exist in the underbelly of society, it can inflate into full grown violent conflict at any moment.

Peace is something most of us hope can be achieved in the world. However, till we don’t try and understand the other sides’ perception of events, we will never be able to reach a conclusion which helps both sides. It’s a nasty case of prisoner’s dilemma, where all you can do is hope that both sides cooperate to reach an outcome beneficial to all. With the new types of conflict emerging where ambiguity is the norm, the dialogue has become more important than ever. We need to realize that each side has a story and all they need is a platform to voice it.