On the Fault Line: Managing tensions and divisions within societies

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The most evident complications stem from what it means to be located near a military frontline in the first place. First, this means that there is a real and constant threat of invasion, yet the perceptions of this threat are far from uniform, as are the feelings towards the potential invader. Third, being perceived as high-risk sites means that such cities inevitably deflect investment, contributing to increased economic hardship and dependency on external support.

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Finally, there are the flows of internally displaced persons IDPs and refugees generated by the conflict. Such flows are usually initially directed towards safe areas within short distances from the areas of armed conflict, confronting the local authorities with an immediate requirement to provide shelter, while simultaneously increasing housing demand and the burden on public services such as healthcare and schooling. Because it is common for IDPs and refugees to experience social, economic and psychological distress, it is crucial for frontline-faultline cities to work for their correct and rapid integration.

Former IDPs who have had to spend time elsewhere in Ukraine have now returned to cities where they must re-encounter neighbours who had chosen to escape to Russia. Geopolitical faultline-frontline cities must thus also contend with the task of mending the relations between groups with opposing experiences of the war, particularly among IDPs and returnees, but also among those who chose not to leave.

Geopolitical fault-line cities are sites of heightened political confrontation, places where irreconcilable narratives tensely coexist, and where fundamental aspects of historical memory collide. During the s, both Russia and Ukraine followed this path, albeit with hesitation, but neither country ever succeeded in making a clean break with its past Burant , Pipes In other words, while Communism may well be dead, memories of the Communist past are not, but these memories are fragmented, open to manipulation and, above all, highly contested. At the centre of this process is the status of the Holodomor as genocide aimed specifically at Ukrainians as decreed by law under President Yushchenko , or as a tragedy victimising all, irrespective of ethnicity.

In practice, the local elites handled the matter by looking for some kind of compromise, e. Hence, the monument commemorating the 21 Luhansk natives that fell victim to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army OUN-UPA , which was uncovered in Luhansk as late as in , is far more eye-catching than the stone raised two years earlier in remembrance of the thousands of local victims of the Holodomor.

While the Holodomor is one of the major enjeux in the geopolitics of memory — both within Ukraine and beyond its borders — it is by far not the only one. Geopolitical fault-line cities such as Kharkiv or Luhansk persistently experience conflict over antagonistic symbols, and while Soviet and Soviet-inspired monuments and street-names dominate their cityscapes or at least, they did until the implementation of the recent laws on de-communisation [5] , they offer resistance to the dominant anti-Soviet counter-narrative stemming from Kyiv.

Except for a small number of true Communist believers, Lenin has become more a symbol of resistance against nationalist Kyiv-Ukraine, rather than of the very ideology he championed Zhurzhenko Thus, unlike in ethno-nationally divided cities, where tailored myths are artificially projected onto specific sites and into the overall aesthetics of the city Bakshi , , geopolitical fault-line cities experience a more thorough decoupling between place and meaning. In other words, there is more ambiguity in the air, there is a multitude of narratives and counter-narratives, but also plenty of symbolic capital up for grabs by local elites and political entrepreneurs cf.

Forest and Johnson In Kharkiv, the Party of Regions ultimately consigned interpretations of history that were alternative to those dominating in the city to discursive and visual marginality and insignificance, and the attention was shifted towards smaller monuments Zhurzhenko However, as Bakshi , notes, conflict and disruption alter the bond between place and memory at its core.

Likewise, unlike in Kyiv, where the colours of the Ukrainian flag are ubiquitous, the celebration of Ukrainian Kharkiv was at best timid. The local administration, it seems, had silenced the elephant in the living room. Ironically, this was not long after he declared that he would have defended the Lenin monument at any cost Bershidsky This chapter cautiously theorised the geopolitical fault-line city, attempting to extract it as a useful concept from the heterogeneous club of cities that are spoken of as divided, contested, polarised or dual.

Any comprehensive analysis of geopolitical fault-line cities — or of any city for that matter — would necessitate deep engagement, possibly including ethnographic fieldwork, with the characteristics and sources of the conflicts taking place in them cf.

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Allegra et al. A crucial aspect distinguishing the geopolitical fault-line city from other divided cities relates to the potential for the spread of conflict.

If conflict in classic fault-line cities tends to remain localised — because it mostly relates to localised concrete concerns held by opposing groups — conflict in geopolitical fault-line cities tends to be very abstract and, therefore, easier to manipulate and export. Therefore, the Donbas war and the furtive Russian annexation of Crimea have revamped the confrontational attitudes present between parts of the Russian-speaking community and the non-Russian majority elsewhere, especially in Latvia, projecting cities such as Riga and Daugavpils into the frontlines of the current geopolitical struggle over the minds and allegiances of their populations.

Yet Riga and Daugavpils are fundamentally different: while Daugavpils is an almost entirely Russian-speaking borderland city, Riga is a multi-lingual geopolitical fault-line capital where a growing geopolitical identity schism Birka overlaps with the unsettling characteristics of classic divided cities, particularly ethnic residential segregation. This may exacerbate the potential for conflict in this city.

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Geopolitical imaginaries and controversies over empty signifiers hijack and polarise the political debate and population alike. Because the disputed issues are only partially rooted in the local conditions, the situation in geopolitical fault-line cities is potentially more volatile, and the unfolding of conflict less predictable. Until two or three years ago, Odessa, Dnipro, Kharkiv and Donetsk were generally assumed to be similar in terms of the political orientations and geopolitical preferences of their residents. Previously underestimated differences between these cities and, above all, physical distance from the Russian Federation, have rapidly tilted the balance in favour of the one or of the other side.

However, in the meantime, the widening gap between the truths portrayed within the Russian and non-Russian informational spaces activates the fault-line between opposing factions in these cities. New earthquakes cannot be excluded. The Soviet propaganda machine effectively silenced or misrepresented most of what happened before this date, including the Soviet occupation of parts of Poland and of the Baltics, as well as the war on Finland see Portnov for an insightful discussion on the official memory of the GPW in Ukraine and Belarus since However, more recently, and especially since about , popular views on foreign policy have converged; e.

Like in Ukraine, tensions run stronger in relation to foreign policy preferences and geopolitical alignment. At the same time, however, the relative attractiveness of non-citizenship may exacerbate some of the geopolitical fault-line characteristics of the cities where non-citizens are most numerous.

Deal Making and Peace Building: A New Approach to Reducing Conflict

They require the effacement of all communist symbols, monuments and toponyms present on Ukrainian soil, with the exception of those commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. A recent high profile city renaming is that of former Dnipropetrovsk, now Dnipro. Initially thought to be controversial, evidence suggests that the laws have not been met with much resistance on ideological grounds Shevel Unlike similar efforts in the Donbas, it did not succeed. Allegra, M. Anderson, J. Armandon, E. Bakshi, A.

On the fault line : managing tensions and divisions within societies

Barkanov, B. Sussex and R. Nigeria has avoided severe ethnic and religious conflict since its civil war in the late s by adopting just such an approach. Ethiopia is trying to mitigate conflict by decentralizing power directly to major identity groups, without any attempt to break them up. Time will tell whether this approach, which has worked well on other continents in Canada, Belgium, India, and so on , can work in Africa. Regionalism , which he does not discuss, can also mitigate identity conflict by making the state less relevant to individual groups.

In places such as West Africa where many tiny fragile states exist side-by-side, only a regional approach is likely make a substantial difference given the weakness of state institutions. Entries RSS. The trajectory of conflict in this context Therefore, in theory, the contemporary Nigerian flows from the description of ethnic conflicts in state shares the basic features of a pluralist state.

Nigeria since independence by Oloruntimehin However, an empirical observation of the and Ayoade as additive, cumulative manner of managing plurality gives the verdict and consecutive. A conflict is additive when of a seeming inability or failure of the Nigerian statements of actors are unrelated to the triggers state to adequately and impartially live up to of conflict. Conflict is cumulative when victims such billing.


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The materials, which sometimes worsens the conflict micro-macro explanation of conflicts which has because of the discriminatory or become relevant to the situation of Jos is a disproportionate way it is done. The political situation in which the animosity between two response is when commissions of inquiry are set major ethnic groups is rehashed at the micro up. However, their recommendations hardly get level amongst individuals over negligible. For published or implemented. Another type of example, individual disagreements over stalls in political response includes the creation of new markets easily degenerate into horrendous inter- administrative units which sometimes renames ethnic confrontations due to existing animosity the conflict.

For example, the buffer zone between the groups belonged to by the created by Colonel Peter Ogar one time military individuals. The four causations of conflicts governor of Kwara State as one of the measures described above characterize the trajectory of to address incessant border disputes between the the Jos crises. According to World Bank between July and October Nwolise failure to implement the first came out with a comprehensive report on the white paper from a judicial commission of strategic assessment of conflicts in Nigeria.

The inquiry headed by Justice Nweje set up by assessment contains a detailed analysis of issues Colonel Attah paved the way for the devastating that have engendered violent conflicts in Nigeria war of in Aguleri and Umuleri. This such as ethnicity, indigene-settler dichotomy, shows the fragility that trails most state led the Niger Delta crisis and ethno-religious approaches without the complementary support tensions.

The report also points out the of other stakeholders especially NGOs. The report as well categorizes In Nigeria it can also be observed that this has government responses to conflict as; security not fulfilled its objective in most cases. The response; often reactive and based on force most apparent of such places is the Niger—Delta ignoring the root causes of conflict. Although, region of the country. Since when the this is helpful in checkmating parallel Niger Delta Development Board was economies on which militias usually rely on, the constituted, successive economic responses have limitation of such security approach lies in its not met the needs of the people and neither has likelihood to make the conflict worse than it it changed the adversarial relationship between hitherto was.

Wennmann observes that the people of the region and the federal organized armed groups change their methods if government of Nigeria. Social response includes existing strategies no longer look effective and activities of organisations like the National external variables change. It is therefore illusory Orientation Agency NOA alongside the to think that, when one method of financing is government; however this often has minimal cut, a belligerent could ask for mercy, accept a effect on the parties in conflict. There are also peace plan and reintegrate to civil society.

Autochthony of social response. Geschiere observes that recent was created in The appellation Jos obsession with autochthony and violent forms of emerged as a mispronunciation of Guash of exclusion of so-called strangers even when they Hausa traders by the Europeans Simbine are citizens of the same country have Jos was established as a tin city by the undermined the whole concept of national European patrons of the Royal Niger Company citizenship. Specifically the narratives of the RNC between and but became a conflict dwell on issues that touch on the township in Simbine Simbine following; ownership of Jos, indigeneship of describes Jos as a mini-Nigeria Jos, efforts at Islamisation, delimitation of because virtually all ethnic-nationalities are electoral wards; blockage of roads during fairly represented.

However, the indigenous worship, indiscriminate use of loud speakers; groups are the Berom, Angas, Geomai, Afizere Fulanis trespassing on farm lands with their and Rukuba, Simbine and Suleiman cattles; alleged discrimination against Muslims The two including Plateau, Albert presents main groups in the Jos crises are the indigenes views of residents living in Jos wherein majority comprising the Berom, Angas, Geomai, Afizere of them described the Jos crises as ethno- and Rukuba on one hand and the Hausa settlers religious. In the context of peace studies, the on the other hand referred to as Jasawa in local conflict can be described as value and resource- parlance.

One feature of the conflict is the use of based because of the intrinsic link of land to narratives by the two groups. Adebanwi survival and autochthony to identity and observes that story-telling is now belonging. This affirms the finding of Albert recognised as a basic strategy for coming to that a major reason for the violent terms with the challenges of human and conflict between the Hausa and the host community lives. The forms and functions of community is the control of land resources and narratives include the discovery, revelation, and market places.


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  4. Within the context of the Jos presentation of truth and the enactment of crises, the aforementioned issues are taken as interest or the wielding of power Lucaites and the intervening variables between plurality and Condit, However, narratives are conflict in the city. The inability to creatively not without consequences as argued by Bennet and positively manage these intervening and Edelman quoted in Adebanwi variables underscores the weakness of the that in addition to suggesting an interpretation Nigerian state as a pluralist and impartial entity.

    Jimenez and in the contexts of additive, cumulative, Laremont identify the flaws in consecutive and micro-macro causation. The conflict also occurs in the context First, the international Society for Civil of a weak state. One of the characteristics of a Liberties and the Rule of Law gave the number weak state is its inability to prevent the use of of Nigerians killed outside the law since as violence by non-state actors and by 34, out of which 13, resulted from ethno- unauthorised means Darschivili Also, this paper posits that the inability Human Rights Watch gave 11, for the period of a state to creatively manage plurality can as of to but as at Campbell reveals well be taken as form of weakness.

    This is that an NGO-affiliated to the Jos crises told him because while some countries such as Belgium, to multiply the figures by five because Nigerian Malaysia and Switzerland have managed officials often understate statistics of mortalities. So, the Jos crises can ; November 28, ; January 17 and be broadly assessed in the context of the the March 7, Suleiman In the the year The conflict became underdevelopment.

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    Track-One Approaches Nevertheless, the Nigerian State has responded Context to protect the lives and property of its citizens in With the casualties so far recorded and the Jos. This has resulted in the deployment of the fragility of existing peace in Jos, it is clear that it military to the city and its environs. Maina has become a national emergency with a very describes this in operational terms as high cost in human lives and property.

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