Monday, March 26, 2012

Butting Heads -- Writer's Poke #374


From Pakistan to India to Nepal, one link in the travels of Michael Palin’s Himalaya experiences is human conflict. Palin doesn’t necessarily dwell on it, but it’s always there, just underneath the surface.
Sometimes the conflict crosses borders, such as the battle over Kashmir, but other times the conflict is internal, such as the Communist insurgence in Nepal.
It might be a stupid and cliché question, but I’ll ask it anyway: Why can’t people all just get along?
In Pakistan, the people who seem to get along best are the ones, like the Kalash, who are completely isolated. But I’m sure that even the Kalash have their issues.
What affects this region? Poverty, illiteracy, lack of resources. Are these, or like reasons, explanation enough for why human conflict is inevitable? Is it the difference in religions practiced, philosophies held? Is the Himalaya region really all that much different from any other region of the planet in terms of human conflicts? In other words, it’s probably not the region itself that produces conflicts – it is the inhabitants themselves. Perhaps, then, it is fair to suggest that wherever humans exist, so will conflict.
What are the most productive ways to handle conflicts? Why are human beings not always so good at handling conflicts productively? Can conflict be considered “healthy”?
“A conflict begins and ends in the hearts and minds of people, not the hilltops.” – Amos Oz

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