Encountering Conflict

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“Encountering conflict changes both those in power and those without power”

Conflict can be a manipulating force that transforms those in power to uncontrollable variables beyond our imagination of moral humanity. It is the powerless that are called to rapidly adapt process and calculate these changes in order to survive. In a conflict change is inevitable for both parties involved; we are all somehow affected and shaped by conflict. In the film “Paradise Road” this concept of powerful versus the powerless is explored through the way in which the Prisoners of war were unpredictably ambushed by the Japanese which ultimately forced the women to change their ways and unite as one, instead of a group of multicultural imprisoned individuals. The women were oblivious to their capture and had the expectation to be treated with the basic human rights stated under the Geneva Convention, although their expectations were forced changed when they were faced with the harsh conditions of Sumatra. This “unexpected ambush” could almost fall under the category of Guerrilla warfare which refers to conflicts by small groups which use military tactics such as raids and the ‘element of surprise’ with extraordinary mobility to harass a vulnerable target. This form of warfare was also experienced in a more modern scenario between the years of 1975-1979 within the civil wars of Cambodia, where the peasant civilians formed a “piece group” known as the Khmer Rouge, which unexpectedly changed into a “lower class” army out to anyone who was in the “upper-class society” or who had an education.
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