A Ohio University Press Book
Edited by S. A. Giannakos
The outbreak of numerous and simultaneous violent conflicts around the globe in the past decade resulted in immense human suffering and countless lost lives. In part, both results were aided by inactivity or by belated and often misplaced responses by the international community to the embattled groups. The apparent inability of the international community to respond firmly and purposefully to violent conflicts can be attributed partially to a general confusion and misunderstanding of the root causes of such conflicts. In some cases, the international community argued that violent conflicts could be attributed to irreconcilable ethnic differences, which, like earthquakes, are impossible to prevent or control.
At other times, the argument was that such conflicts were the results of evil leaders capable of engineering mass violent acts. Ethnic Conflict presents an interdisciplinary and comparative effort to explain the root causes of ethnic conflicts in terms of political, economic, and social common denominators that characterize all such conflicts. It seeks to dispel misplaced assumptions about violent domestic conflicts and, by providing a clearer picture of the mechanics of such conflicts, it hopes to assist in the process of conflict resolution and prevention.
S. A. Giannakos teaches at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. He spent most of the 1990s in the Balkans, researching and teaching nationalism and Balkan politics to students from the region. More info →
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Conflicts in the Horn have all too often dominated press coverage of Africa. This book exposes the subtle and ambiguous role ethnicity can plan in social conflict, a role that is nowhere as simple and direct as commonly assumed. Social conflict is routinely attributed to ethnic differentiation because dividing lines between rival groups often follow ethnic contours and cultural symbolism has proved a potent ideological weapon.
There is a new mood in Uganda. There is a determination to reak out of the bitter history of internal conflict. Uganda gives hope to all those other areas of the world where violence has become endemic such as Ulster, Lebanon, and Sri Lanka.Archbishop Desmond Tutu says in his foreword to this book: “In South Africa we are acutely aware of the meaning of the conflict. We are still living through it.”The importance of this book is that it is almost entirely by Ugandans themselves.
“Africa is no more prone to violent conflicts than other regions. Indeed, Africa’s share of the more than 180 million people who died from conflicts and atrocities in the twentieth century is relatively modest.… This is not to underestimate the immense impact of violent conflicts on Africa; it is merely to emphasize the need for more balanced debate and commentary.”
In case studies from the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Iraq, and Colombia, the contributors argue that early intervention to stabilize social, economic, and political systems offers the greatest promise, whereas military intervention at a later stage is both costlier and less likely to succeed.
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