By Leisna Diana Aribam
On the 3rd of November, it signifies precisely the completion of the sixth month of the ongoing violence in Manipur. The violence, stemming from an ethnic conflict between the Meitei and Kuki communities, has persisted, resulting in more than 175 fatalities and over 1,000 injuries. Many residents have been displaced, with tens of thousands seeking refuge in government-operated camps.
War and conflict have plagued humanity throughout history, leading to immense suffering, loss of life, and destruction. In the face of these challenges, the role of youths in promoting peace and ending conflicts between communities is paramount.
It is imperative for us, as the youth, to take proactive initiatives during this ongoing six-month-long conflict in our state. As students, we have a crucial role to play in facilitating various strategies to bring an end to the conflict. It is essential that we actively engage in efforts to promote peace and seek solutions to resolve the situation.
Relying on a government that appears indecisive is not a productive approach. Waiting for their actions might prove futile. As youths, we should not wait for the government to take steps. Instead, it is imperative for us to consider what contributions we can make to address the situation.
Youths, with their energy, passion, and innovative thinking, can play a pivotal role in fostering understanding, dialogue, and reconciliation. This article explores the significant contributions that youths can make to put an end to wars and conflicts between communities.
Before stating the list of actions that youth can take to bring peace, I want to draw attention to why war is never the solution.
War is never the solution for several compelling reasons:
Human Cost: Wars result in the loss of countless lives, including soldiers, civilians, and even children. The human cost of war is immeasurable, causing immense suffering and irreparable emotional scars for generations.
Destruction and Displacement: Wars lead to widespread destruction of infrastructure, homes, and communities. People are forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees and internally displaced, exacerbating humanitarian crises.
Economic Impact: Wars cripple economies. The resources spent on warfare could be channelled into education, healthcare, and development. Rebuilding after a war is a costly and time-consuming process, diverting resources away from essential social programs.
Environmental Damage: Wars often result in environmental degradation, including deforestation, pollution, and damage to ecosystems. The use of certain weapons and military activities can lead to long-term environmental consequences, affecting both humans and wildlife.
Escalation of Hatred: Wars fuel hatred and animosity between nations and communities. The cycle of revenge and retaliation can perpetuate conflict for generations, making it difficult to achieve lasting peace.
Undermining Human Rights: During wars, human rights are frequently violated. Civilians, especially vulnerable populations such as women and children, often suffer from atrocities, including displacement, sexual violence, and forced labour.
Promotion of Dialogue:
Peaceful dialogue, negotiation, and diplomacy offer more effective ways to resolve disputes and conflicts. By engaging in constructive conversations, nations and communities can find common ground and work towards mutually beneficial solutions.
Preservation of Humanity:
The most compelling reason war is never the solution is the preservation of humanity. Choosing peace, understanding, and cooperation over conflict and violence is essential for the progress, well-being, and survival of the human race.
History has shown that wars rarely lead to sustainable solutions. They might bring temporary changes, but often, the underlying issues remain unresolved, leading to the potential for future conflicts.
The significant contributions that youths can facilitate to put an end to wars and conflicts between communities.
Building Bridges of Understanding
One of the fundamental ways youths can contribute to ending conflicts is by promoting understanding between communities. Through education and awareness campaigns, youths can debunk stereotypes and prejudices that often fuel animosity. By engaging in open dialogue and encouraging empathy, youths can bridge the gap between communities, fostering an environment of mutual respect and tolerance.
Conduct workshops on conflict resolution, empathy, and tolerance. Provide training sessions to community members, emphasizing the significance of peaceful coexistence and resolving disputes through non-violent means.
Promoting Peaceful Dialogue
Youths possess the unique ability to facilitate peaceful dialogue between conflicting parties. Their fresh perspectives and willingness to listen can create a conducive atmosphere for negotiation and compromise. Youth-led initiatives, such as peace talks, forums, and workshops, provide platforms for communities to express their grievances, discuss concerns, and explore peaceful solutions. By mediating conversations and encouraging active participation, youths can inspire reconciliation and harmony.
Act as mediators during tense situations, helping to de-escalate conflicts and prevent violence. Mediation efforts can help in resolving immediate disputes and build trust among the conflicting parties.
Harnessing Technology for Peace
In today's digital age, technology offers powerful tools to connect people and spread messages of peace. Youths can leverage social media, online platforms, and digital communication to raise awareness about the impact of war and conflict. By sharing stories of resilience, promoting peacebuilding initiatives, and organizing online campaigns, youths can inspire global solidarity and mobilize support for peace efforts.
Promoting Education and Conflict Resolution Skills
Education is a cornerstone for building peaceful societies. Youths can actively engage in educational initiatives that promote conflict resolution skills, tolerance, and understanding. By organizing workshops in schools and communities, youths can teach essential conflict resolution techniques, communication skills, and emotional intelligence. Equipping future generations with these skills can create a culture of peace, where conflicts are resolved through dialogue and understanding rather than violence.
Crisis Mediation: Act as mediators during tense situations, helping to de-escalate conflicts and prevent violence. Mediation efforts can help in resolving immediate disputes and build trust among the conflicting parties.
In the midst of the ongoing six-month-long violence in Manipur, the government has remained unresponsive to the plight of its people. It is crucial for us, as the youth, to take proactive actions during this crisis. When our state is engulfed in turmoil, and many are left homeless, silence is not an option. Instead of waiting for the government to act, we must step up and initiate measures to quell the conflict.
Our focus should not only be on resolving the conflict but also on providing emotional support to those seeking refuge in relief camps. By extending a helping hand and showing empathy, we can make a significant difference in the lives of those affected. Let us unite, join our efforts, and work towards saving Manipur. Together, our collective strength and determination can bring about positive change, making our state emerge stronger from this challenging situation.