Communal Conflict

October 13, 2015

Since the early phases of human civilization countries have constantly been in conflict among one another, especially within the Global South.

Countries of the Global South are underdeveloped countries predominantly located in the Southern Hemisphere of the world. The Global South contains governments that are below the income-per capita $2,700 threshold, and are typically more violent than those above it. This violence is often caused by forms of mass communal dissensions reflecting upon ethnical, racial, territorial, or religious differences between two or more parties. One example was the sought Independence of Indonesia between 1945 and 1946. Problems arose once ”the Japanese surrendered in 1945, the east Indies nationalists seized the opportunity to throw off the colonial yoke of the Dutch and proclaim the independent state of Indonesia which the Japanese had promised them” (Cavendish, 1999). Once Indonesia signed off on its Proclamation of Independence from the Dutch, neither governments of Communism or Islam (specifically the Dutch) were happy about the nationalist’s decisions. Leaders of the nationalist both Achmed Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta understood this, and in turn, they decided to “collaborate with the Japanese and helped to organize a Japanese-backed Indonesian army” (Cavendish, 1999).  Eventually, the nationalist’s iniated armed violence against the Dutch. According to Cavendish, the Dutch “had powerful reasons for recovering the East Indies and believed that most Indonesians wanted them to return” (Cavendish, 1999). The Dutch then evaded in to the cities of Java and Sumatra attacking a number of citizens, ultimately resulting in the deaths of approximately 10,000 Indonesians.

The role identity politics among the powers of the Indonesians and Dutch were of grievance, greed and feasibility. The Dutch had successfully colonized and ruled the Indonesians for over 300 years prior to their independence. The Indonesians wanted to establish a new regime, and were tired of being governed by unfavorable leaders of the Netherlands. The citizens of Indonesia -with the help of the Japanese- cultivated a movement to take down the Dutch. The violence ensued, and on August 17, 1945, Indonesia was officially an independent entity. They believed that the Indonesians weren’t prepared for their own independence. Though, the Dutch themselves weren’t capable of maintaining the colonization of Indonesia either. Following WWII, the Dutch economy had been crippled because of Germany’s onslaught under the allegiance of Hitler. They understood that they needed to let go of Indonesia, but still they were unwilling to do so. Their greed consumed the richness of Indonesia’s natural resources. Such resources included “Tea, coffee, spices, textiles, petroleum, and minerals” (RNW, 2011). Another factor that led to the violence that dismount was the feasibility of the geographic landscape of Indonesia. The varying islands, mountains, and isolated regions allowed for secluded fighting locations. Furthermore, the Netherland nation was nearly half way across the world. The lack of large populations among the Dutch enabled significant advantages for the Indonesian army. One that would cement their national independence and freedom politically.

The situation between the Indonesians and the Dutch is just one of many examples that show how these three elements attribute to the communal conflicts within the Global South. Conflicts that have resulted in social, economic, ethical or religious divide among such countries. The answers to resolve these conflicts are complex. Some theorists suggest that the powers of the Global North should help to establish some substance of stability (often economically) in order to maintain balance and order. Muthien explains,” How to remain part of structurally unequal economic global relations, as a matter of survival, a system that requires significant cutbacks in social spending, while simultaneously caring for its citizens. Only the global North can significantly alter the violences that structural economic programmes wreak on real people, only developed countries can fundamentally alter unequal trade through e.g. the WTO” (Muthien, pg. 8). However, these countries are still responsible for their unraveling. Muthien suggests they should overcome their hatred and violence toward one another, acknowledge their diversity, and finally make efforts to eradicate poverty and promote global peace. In time, these efforts will blossom and help alleviate the barbaric actions held within these crippled nations.

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