Easily Tipped Back into Violence
Image: An overlap of two images of unrest in Iraq and N. Ireland 2020 and 2021
The processes of ‘Nation Building’ and ‘Peace Building’ endure a complicated synergy and appear too tightly entangled, resulting in fragile practices, easily tipped back into violence.
Whilst post-conflict governments optimistically forge ahead with internationally backed, nation building initiatives, using international aid and unfamiliar stakeholders to help design dynamic gestures of resilience, modernity and progressive nation-building. The concurrent everyday peacebuilding initiatives struggle to keep up, thus creating a chasm from which disillusioned parties feel misrepresented, forgotten, and disorientated. These communities are often left to make sense of their entangled emotions of post-conflict trauma alone. A precarious social-economic existence that leaves groups vulnerable to political manipulation and radicalization.
In communities tormented by repeated violence, there is a reduction of social fabric that instills a trusted feeling of security, for many, the violence has destroyed their notion of ordinary life. It is within this threshold between a skewed notion of the ordinary, and the physical challenges faced by people enduring a post- conflict context, that peacebuilding has to be at its most diligent and dynamic.
More work is required in developing a sequence of site-specific, well supported and transparent approaches supporting the everyday (a network-of-meaning), an honest and sincere attempt to cleverly combine nation and peace building efforts that acknowledge the suffering and turmoil of local communities and of a nation transitioning from negative to positive peaceful conditions.
In the rush to develop a nation-state recognized and trusted by the international community, stakeholders can't afford to overlook the searing issue that precarious and volatile local conditions are easily amplified by jarring miscommunication, the political manipulation of memory, deliberate attempts to banish past wrongdoing to the realms of amnesia and encouraging the silencing of past’s uncomfortable truths.