CREATIVE TRANSFORMATION OF CONFLICT: Case Study of Makungu High School in Bukavu /DRCongo by Christian Walungwa Bitela

I have received an article displaying peace building in action from Christian Walungwa Bitela that I thought would interest those of you who are reading this blog. Christian is deeply interested in the peace building field and is working to promote peace in Bukavu /DRCongo. His email is bitelachristian@yahoo.fr if you would like to contact him about his work. The work that he is doing is something that will always be necessary in our world and is definitely something that a peace studies student could pursue after college.

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 INTRODUCTION

This new approach of resolving conflict peacefully has been edited by Professors Cynthia E. Cohen, Roberto Gutérrez Varea and Polly O. Walker, Volume I and II (June and December 2011).  For us, we have organized workshops with teachers and pupils in order to strengthen this approach in the Congolese contexts. The local media were also conveyed to cover workshops held in Bukavu/DRC.    The main objective was focusing to the appropriation of target groups of this approach  of  promoting  the concepts of peace by organizing  peace clubs  in which pupils  and teachers will discuss some themes related to peace and it will be covered by the local media in order to extend the peace  messages.  

Furthermore, the Acting Together resources focus the stories of creative and courageous artists and peace builders working in zones of violent , and demonstrate how performances of many kinds are used to support non violent resistance to abuses of authority , re-humanization of enemies , and reconciliation in the aftermath of violent conflict . This is the case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in which we are living. It is a country in which is facing of different challenges such as armed conflict, youth manipulations, and land conflict and so on.   

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Pupils of Makungu are learning acting together principles in order to avoid conflict and to promote peace in their milieu. This workshop has been covered by the local media in Bukavu/DRC.   

 We think it is wise to define several items. This will help teachers and pupils to be familiar with new items. Christian W. Bitela( 2016 :6 ) highlighted that  conflict can be positive and negative, and that conflict can actually helppeople and communities to grow if managed well.  In this way William J. Kreidler(1996:1-3) argues that conflict as normal and natural part of everyone’s life. He added that conflict is simply that disputes and disagreement that occur between people. While we tend to think of conflict as negative only it can also be positive.  Conflict can lead to learning and growth.  In fact, one could agree that without conflict there is no growth or progress, there is only stagnation. It is the constructive use of conflict that allows society to move forward. According to Acting Together Approach (2011:239 vol. II) defines conflict as a means of difference between two or more parties that impacts them in significant way. Conflict can be based on differences in values, power, or access to needed or designed resources. It aims at gaining a better understanding of the context of the conflict and the parties roles’ in it. It added that conflict cycles mean stages through which conflict typically move, which include latent or hidden conflict, emergence or articulation of conflict escalation, stalemate, descalation , resolution , peace building and reconciliation.

As far as Conflict resolution is concerned is a range of methods for addressing conflict that rely on faith in the rationality and fundamental good will of people. Processes of conflict resolution generally include negotiation, mediation and diplomacy. In this way conflict transformation relates the addresses human conflict through non violent approaches that increase mutual understanding and respect. Different scholars denote that conflict transformation is flexible, but in structure and process, and views peace as a continuously evolving and developing qualities of relationships. Deven and Ramaih in Acting Together (2011:255) argues that a creative transformation of conflict is an open window on how artists and practitioners can address ethical dilemma and risks of doing harm. In this view will strength the collaboration between peace building and performance fields.  We think that it wise to say by involving teachers and pupils as we have done at Makungu by playing theaters on peace may resolve some problems in the Congolese contexts. It is quite important to invest in pupils and teachers in this approach may be they used it in their daily life. When we talk about conflict transformation, we refer to fundamental change of human beings such as youth, women and journalists and so on.

 This workshop involves pupils in order to teach them about the reality of violence against women in the UNSCR 1325.  It has been covered by the local media and a journalist was lecturing a theme related to Youth and Journalism in promoting peace in the Congolese Context.    

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Terms peace building and conflict transformation show that the works are interchangeably aiming at creating change which is not mitigates violence; but also shows the underlying dynamics that characterize and perpetuate a conflict ordinary system. It requires cooperation of several actors of civil society, often for years, decades or generation. Cynthia E.(2011:9) argues that ‘conflict resolution’, ‘peace’ and ‘coexistence’ may have negative connotations in places where they have been used to suppress rather than to understand and address the underlying sources of conflict. Peace building is not an effort to suppress conflicts, but rather an effort to channel ‘the energy directed by conflict in constructive, non violent rather than destructive and violent directions. Peace building is working toward ‘ a world where diversity is embraced for its positive potential, respect for persons is a core value  between different groups . In this way, Conflict transformation requires a change of different stakeholders and it must be a process. We are required to be implicated in this approach so that peace may be effective in all over the world in general and in the DRC in particular.

The meeting of teachers and journalists are reflecting of the mechanism of avoiding conflict which affects the eastern part of the DRC.    

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The word creativity means a process involving the discovery of new ideas or concepts, or associations of existing ideas or concepts, fueled by the process of either conscious or unconscious insights. In this way, we share the same view with Lederarch( 2011:11) describes the capacity required for the creative transformation of conflict as ‘moral imagination’. It allows individuals to simultaneously stay grounded in the troubles of the real world and be open to the possibilities of a better one.

   To sum up:

 It is important to organize different peace building clubs at schools. 

                                                 References

  1. Ministry of Education (1972-1973): Planning the Education to all p.20 (DRC).
  2. The report of EDS (2007): Education report. DRC
  3. Christian W. Bitela (2016 :6) : A field analysis of the dynamics of conflict in the South Kivu/ DRcongo . Edition Universitaire Européennes  en Allemagne 
  4. William J. Kreidler(1996:1-3): Adventures in peace building. ESR. Cambridge.
  5. Cynthia E. Cohen, Roberto Gutiérrez Varea, Polly O. Walke (2011:239) Acting Together Performance and the creative Transformation of conflict. .New village Press. Oakland Ca.
  6. Devenand Ramaih (2011: 255) in Acting Together Performance and Creative

         Transformation of conflict. Article.Volume I. New village Press. Oakland Ca.

  1. Cynthia E.(2011:9) Perfmance through the lens of Conflict Transformation in Acting

              Together. Volume I. Article ,New village Press. Oakland Ca.

  1. Lederarch P.( 2011 : 11) The moral imagination in Acting Together Performance and

  Creative Transformation of Conflict. Article , volume I. New village Press. Oakl

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