Unit Eight: Peace and Conflict - HSC English 1st Paper Passage

Mohammed Ahsan

 Unit Eight: 
Peace and Conflict 

Unit Eight:  Peace and Conflict  - HSC English 1st Paper Passage

Lesson 1 
Conflict: Causes and Types

Conflict can be described as a disagreement among individuals and groups characterized by antagonism and brutality. This usually happens when parties to conflict cannot agree on a peaceful resolution of a contentious issue. Very often elements of conflict such as opposing interests or needs, misunderstandings, stress and frustration and a lack of communication contribute to an escalation of hostility. However, not all conflicts lead to fights, and a third party intervention often resolves a conflict,

Conflict is an inevitable part of life. It is as varied as causes that contribute to it. All of us have our own opinions, ideas and beliefs. We also have our own way of look- ing at things and we act according to what we think is proper. If, however, we are too rigid about these, and do not allow others to freely express their opinions and beliefs, or even the right to hold them, conflict becomes inevitable. Conflict involves two or more parties, but we may have conflict within our own selves. If we read the great tragedies of Shakespeare we realize how his tragic heroes suffered from conflicts within. Conflict thus influences our actions and decisions., and the way we conduct ourselves in society.

Conflicts are basically of three types arising out of three different causes. Economic conflict: Resources are limited, and so groups or individuals come into conflict with each other to possess as much of these resources as possible, thus giving rise to hostile behaviours among those involved.

Value conflict: It is concerned with the varied preferences and ideologies that people have as their principles. Conflicts driven by this factor are demonstrated in wars wherein contending parties have their separate sets of beliefs that they assert in an aggressive manner.

Power conflict: It occurs when the parties involved intend to maximize what influence they have in the social setting. Such a situation can happen among individuals, groups or even nations.

Conflicts are also classified into the four following types.

Interpersonal conflicts: This type of conflict refers to an antagonism between two individuals. This occurs typically because of differences among people. Apparently, it is a natural occurrence which, if there are no hostilities involved, can eventually help in personal growth or developing our relationship with others.

Intrapersonal conflict: It occurs within an individual. The experience takes place in the person's mind. Hence, it is a type of conflict that is psychological, involving the individual's thoughts, values, principles, and emotions.

Intragroup conflict: It is a type of conflict that happens among individuals within a team. It arises from interpersonal disagreements or differences in views and ideas. Within a team, conflict can be helpful in coming up with decisions which will eventually allow the members to reach their objectives as a team. However, if the conflict is serious and it disrupts harmony among the members, then some helpful guidance from a different party will be needed for its resolution.

Intergroup conflict: It takes place when a misunderstanding arises among different teams within an organization. This is due to the varied sets of goals and interests of these different groups. In addition, competition also contributes to intergroup conflict.

Lesson 2
Cruelties of Conflict

Poem 1
Alone by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou had a remarkable range of interests and careers. She was a dancer, a singer and an editor. In addition, she also acted on stage and in the film. But writing was what she enjoyed most. She was a popular poet praised for the way she incorporated social and political themes in her poems without compromising their poetic and stylistic qualities. She wrote her poems in a language that is known as the Black vernacular, a language the black people in America use in their everyday life. Her poems often deal with serious matters but they also use humour and give out hope. Angelou's experience of racial discrimination in her childhood and her involvement in civil right movement in the 1960s made her a committed campaigner for human rights, social justice and peace. She died on 28 may, 2014 at the age of 86.

Here is a poem Angelou wrote about human relationship, more particularly, togetherness, without which our lives become meaningless, no matter how wealthy or well-connected we are. Read the poem and try to find out why she stressed the words 'alone' and 'nobody'. You will see that she has used these words ironically to bring home the message that no one should be alone, that human society depends on healthy relationships among its members.]

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
 And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
 And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
 But nobody
Can make it out' here alone.   ['to make out: to deal with a situation;  make progress]

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
 Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires ['banshee: In Irish legend, a female spirit who whose wails or shrieks       herald the death of a family member]
With money they can't use
 Their wives run round like banshees²
Their children sing the blues³ 
They've got expensive doctors

To cure their hearts of stone.['sing the blues: feeling depressed or discouraged] ['to have a heart of stone: to be unkind, uncaring or cruel]
But nobody
No, nobody

Can make it out here alone. 
Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
 Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely 
I'll tell you what I know
 Storm clouds are gathering 
The wind is gonna' blow     ['gonna: informal use, means 'going to']
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody 
Can make it out here alone.

Lesson 3 
"The Old Man at the Bridge" by Ernest Hemingway

An old man with steel rimmed spectacles and very dusty clothes sat by the side of the road. There was a pontoon bridge across the river and carts, trucks, and men, women and children were crossing it. The male-drawn carts staggered up the steep bank from the bridge with soldiers helping push against the spokes of the wheels. The trucks ground up and away heading out of it all and the peasants plodded along in the ankle deep dust. But the old man sat there without moving. He was too tired to go any farther.

It was my business to cross the bridge, explore the bridgehead beyond and find out to what point the enemy had advanced. I did this and returned over the bridge. There were not so many carts now and very few people on foot, but the old man was still there.

"Where do you come from?" I asked him.

"From San Carlos," he said, and smiled.

That was his native town and so it gave him pleasure to mention it and he smiled.

"I was taking care of animals," he explained.

"Oh," I said, not quite understanding.

"Yes," he said, "I stayed, you see, taking care of animals. I was the last one to leave the town of San Carlos."

He did not look like a shepherd nor a herdsman and I looked at his black dusty clothes and his gray dusty face and his steel rimmed spectacles and said, "What animals were they?"

"Various animals," he said, and shook his head. "I had to leave them."

I was watching the bridge and the African looking country of the Ebro Delta and wondering how long now it would be before we would see the enemy, and listening all the while for the first noises that would signal that ever mysterious event called contact, and the old man still sat there.

"What animals were they?" I asked.

"There were three animals altogether," he explained. "There were two goats and a cat and then there were four pairs of pigeons."

"And you had to leave them?" I asked.

"Yes. Because of the artillery. The captain told me to go because of the artillery." "And you have no family?" I asked, watching the far end of the bridge where a few last carts were hurrying down the slope of the bank.

"No," he said, "only the animals I stated. The cat, of course, will be all right. A cat can look out for itself, but I cannot think what will become of the others."

"What politics have you?" I asked.

"I am without politics," he said. "I am seventy-six years old. I have come twelve kilometers now and I think now I can go no further."

"This is not a good place to stop," I said. "If you can make it, there are trucks up the road where it forks for Tortosa."

"I will wait a while," he said, " and then I will go. Where do the trucks go?"

"Towards Barcelona," I told him.

"I know no one in that direction," he said, "but thank you very much. Thank you again very much."

He looked at me very blankly and tiredly, and then said, having to share his worry with someone, "The cat will be all right, I am sure. There is no need to be unquiet about the cat. But the others. Now what do you think about the others?"

"Why they'll probably come through it all right."

"You think so?"

"Why not," I said, watching the far bank where now there were no carts.

"But what will they do under the artillery when I was told to leave because of the artillery?"

"Did you leave the dove cage unlocked?" I asked.


"Then they'll fly."

"Yes, certainly they'll fly. But the others. It's better not to think about the others," he said.

"If you are rested I would go," I urged. "Get up and try to walk now."

"Thank you," he said and got to his feet, swayed from side to side and then sat down backwards in the dust.

"I was taking care of animals," he said dully, but no longer to me. "I was only taking care of animals."

There was nothing to do about him. It was Easter Sunday and the Fascists were advancing toward the Ebro. It was a gray overcast day with a low ceiling so their planes were not up. That and the fact that cats know how to look after themselves was all the good luck that old man would ever have.

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