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|Stages of conflict - Part 2|
Making peace that lasts (reconciliation) is not a common action. Most people
would rather get their own way or win. In the same way that the build-up to
conflict goes through phases, resolving conflict goes through different phases
to move a conflict situation from high to low.
Phase 4 - Disengagement
Fighting must stop or no reconciliation can take place. It is a high risk to
disengage. Trust levels are low and parties fear being tricked or losing advantage
to the other side.
Truce or cease-fire
A cease-fire says merely what people will not do. e.g. fire at the
enemy. A truce moves a step back from the brink. Parties agree there
can be no winners at the moment and they will not attack. This is
an initial trust, as it gives both sides the chance to be flexible
without losing face.
Withdrawing from confrontation is a major step towards lasting peace.
People surrender entrenched positions voluntarily, recognising the cost
of conflict is too high to go on paying. This is progress, but it is
still a long way from reconciliation
Phase 5 - Convergence
In this stage a process of coming together and understanding one another occurs.
Finding common ground and a vision for a common future develops as the two parties
share facts, feelings and hope.
With communication restored, the parties learn to listen to each other
again. They talk openly about where they are now and why they acted
in a certain way in the conflict, in a way that has a cleansing effect.
People now come together more than physically and socially. They become
emotionally and spiritually vulnerable to each other. They must not
deny there was hurt, nor quash the emotions pretending all is forgiven
when it has not been discussed.
Sharing the vision
The key issue now is 'can the parties get it together for the future?'
This is complete when there is an agreed statement of intent.
Phase 6 - Integration
The joint goal is ongoing unity and harmony. This stage in the process owns
and values the other's interests and well being, appreciates differences, and
brings a changed relationship on both sides. Integration involves:
Confessing - owning up, admitting
This recognises that both parties have wronged each other and both
need to confess. One-sided confession will not do. To admit our part
in causing conflict is not easy. We are vulnerable, but the main concern
is to restore peace - not as surrender or submission, nor ignoring
the wrongs done, but in the hope of a new future.
Repenting - expressing regret
and sorrow, apologising
This hurdle is a vital pe-requisite to reconciliation. We must acknowledge
our failures and wrong or hurtful actions. We feel so bad about them
that we turn from them and aim never to go back.
Forgiving - choosing to overlook
When our 'enemy' changes we have no option. We forgive and there is
a cost. We lose our 'right' to punish, take advantage or declare victory.