Wednesday, July 22, 2015

On conflicts and the conflict

By Inna Sukhenko

This day made proved the fact – and my dear research partner (thank you, Dr. Kalyango) was right at the class – a conflict is of human nature.  
I started today’s morning with a conflict – unfortunately but I did – my alarm sounded but I had a conflict with myself – getting up immediately or letting myself sleep more 10 minutes. And this consideration took me approximately 10 minutes. 
Taking into account the time difference, also in the morning I had a skype conversation with my sister.  How strange it is, but the contemporary social media prevent us from missing our family very much and give a chance to conflict in a distance. While the skype conversation my sister and I were discussing which telephone company is better in providing the roaming connection in Ukraine (The one, which I supported, cut off my phone for having a “minus financial balance”). In our discussing we came to a real conflict defending the telephone company which we use.          
The SUSI scholars studied conflicts – their origin, nature, peculiarities – briefly, but the main directions on the further studying them were given to us, in particular – how to distinguish a conflict, how to deal with internal and external conflicts, how to prevent a conflict and how to solve a conflict. Some information was new for me, some was not. What a peace journalist should avoid in his/her professional activity got everybody involved in fast streaming processes of seeking for the answers. 
While answering the questions about what journalists should/shouln’t do in covering conflicts in mass media, I tried to reflect the conflict situation within Ukrainian background. And what Ukrainian journalists should/or shouldn’t do (and what they really do) while covering the military activities in the eastern part of Ukraine made me look up the right answers in the Ukrainian context.
Here and now I am not going to discuss the contemporary situation in the east of Ukraine, which is used to calling «a conflict». I would like to stress that a conflict can not result in about 7,000 people (these official data were spoken by Ukraine’s President in Munich in February, 2015). But due to the data, given by German newspaper «Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung», the death toll in the eastern part of Ukraine since April, 2014 equals to almost 50,000 people.
In January 2015 the UN Committee on humanitarian aid stated that the military activities in the eastern Ukraine resulted in 4808 killed, 10468 wounded and about 1 million refugees. The question is: which conflict can result in such data? 
The official name of the military events in eastern Ukraine is «ATO – anti-terrorist operation», along with this abbreviation Ukraine’s mass media tend to use such terms as «a war», «a war conflict», «military events» (notorious «political correctness»???). Under such dangerous circumstances the situation is difficult, painful and controversial. 
But I should stress – it is NOT a conflict. It is surely not a conflict when I see the funeral of my graduate – the young, strong, healthy, handsome man was killed near Donets airport, when I silently lay flowers under the portraits of my colleagues killed in Luhansk, when my neighbor returned from hospital without a low jaw, when at dinner my friend’s child asks his father: «Dad! How many enemies have you already killed?» (and this question – asked by the child who only
wanted to be proud of his father – made each guest stop eating and created a deathly silence covering the dining room).
And the most awful thing is that we are getting used to this situation – the report about the killed, wounded and refugees have not already been considered as something extraordinary, we have already got used to this situation and to these data from the east of Ukraine. 
And this situation results in a new internal conflict with myself – where is the line which divides the Ordinary and the Terrible?
One step forward has already been made – the syllabus on seminar «Media and Conflict» is in my hand. Thanks to SUSI.                         

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