‘Who we are is truly tested and proven when we encounter conflict.’
It is intrinsically human to experience conflict; thus, we will all be forced to respond to conflict at various times and in various forms throughout the course of our lives, and in order to live serenely we attempt to avoid and resolve conflict. Whilst conflict may merely involve two parties disagreeing over minor differences of opinion (the permutations of which being largely insignificant), we have seen throughout history that major conflicts in the form of war and international political unrest, lead many to experience horrific and life-changing conflicts of a larger scale. Our challenge is to deal with conflict that might be well beyond the reaches of our control, and wholly influenced by the actions of others. Noting the diverse contexts of such conflict, what emerges is the extraordinary way that we can be tested, and how we emerge from such harrowing circumstances. We begin to question not the battle itself- conflict has occurred and will occur again- but the human behavior behind the conflict and our responses to such conditions. Those who experience conflict are truly tested and the core of their characters brought into sharp focus as they make sense of their experiences and those of the people around them. For the woman incarcerated at the end of Bruce Bereford’s ‘Paradise Road’ it is the conflict of enduring a war and all that this encompasses, including cultural prejudice and misunderstanding, violence and torture. For others in our world’s recent history such as Nelson Mandela, it was the conflict of enduring persistent ignorance, discrimination and injustice. Through the stories of these people we can see that while conflict can often breed further disagreement and suffering, it may indeed prompt some to act in extraordinary ways that are bigger and more complex than they might have realized themselves. They are led to articulate through their responses to conflict, who they...
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