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October 28, 2012

Images and Rhetoric of Conflict Essay

Out of the numerous instincts that comprise and encompass the temperament of human nature one of the most dangerous instincts and characteristics that motivates and instigates an individual to initiate wars and bloodshed of innocent people is the innate and inherent ability of humans that motivates them in the grotesque business of conducting and engaging in war.
Hence psychologists that have studied the various aspects of human nature have finally led to the conclusion that it is the instinct of humans to cause destruction and devastation (Allen, 1999; p.172).
In this context and for further enlightening upon the matter it is important that the problem of human nature is dealt on a psychological platform with the development of the study that has been made by different psychologists and the different perspectives that have been provided by different ideologies emerging in different time periods for developing an effective approach towards the understanding of the entire issue.
Sigmund Freud and the concept of warfare
One of the significant contributions that have been made in developing a clear approach towards this has been the prominent psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's was a revolutionary psychologist and theorist with few "illusions about human nature and civilization. In Fact, he had been persistently exposing what he observed as conflicts and strivings the hidden mask of civilization (Roth, 1998; p. 7).
He was dissatisfied with some of his own theories and felt the need to address the Human tendency for self-destruction more decisively (Gay, 1988; p. 15). Freud’s version of the question of all times became: Why do Humans act so often against their own best interest-event the desire to survive? (Reiff, 1979; p.121) Freud believed that we are born with the internal feelings of aggression and violence, which we use as a tool to obtain the things we want, but unluckily, society restricts the use of this horrible behavior for clear reasons (Freud, 1918; p. 143).
The display of aggressive behavior would cause us to lose love and respect ending in lowered self-esteem. In order to get through life without imposing this unacceptable behavior upon society, we have in our superego, incorporated something called 'guilt', which in turn makes us feel embarrassed of this pushy, difficult insistence of gratification side of ourselves (Hollitscher, 2003; p.92).
However, this creates within us an eternal conflict that rages on through our everyday lives, in the unconscious level of our minds, where we only dimly recognize it.
 In addition to this it is also important to realize and understand a complex instinct of human personality which is that human beings have always been enticed and intrigued by things that provide them a sense of power within themselves and in order to acquire this feeling of power it is not important that humans take support of war.
This feeling of gratification can be obtained even by the efforts of humans through acquiring greater area and land for the maximization of their territory and hegemony.  According to Freud it is the ability of a human being to engage in conflict or in a state of war in order to ensure and guarantee his own survival and sustenance.
In this context the opinion that has been presented by Freud seems to align with the survival of the fittest concept that was earlier presented by Darwin, hence the interpretation of the presence of this instinct that has been made by Freud provides a biological justification for the people to engage in such grotesque and sometimes brutal exercises (Reef, 2007; p .95).
However it is also important to mention here that it is not mandatory that the fulfillment of this instinct of human beings is only gratified through war means or through clashes that result in bloodshed of innocent people. This can be an outcome of any such attempts or ways which are an outcome comprising clash or conflict of interests between two different people.
At any place or setting whether it is an organization or on a political scale it is the clash of interests between two people or leaders of a state that thrusts the whole state and its people into a state of gruesome war.
Another very important concept that needs to be mentioned here is the fact that the concept and presence of his destructive instinct of man is also dependent upon the identity of an individual, at any place where a human being begins to realize that his identity is being suppressed, it is precisely at that moment that the violent characteristics of his temperament begin to express itself.
The concept of identity as termed by other psychologists has been synonymously interpreted with nationhood that plays an extremely pivotal role in the determination of the identity of an individual. Any kind of threat that a person feels is being taken against his identity aggravates the violence within his personality.
However despite of all the adverse repercussions that may result because of such violent behavior it is important to mention in accordance with the opinion presented by Freud is that war in some cases also acts in the potential advantage in many cases when involving issues related to identity and nationality.
In many of these circumstances as even proved by history the usage and application of such violent behavior has led to the formation of a revolution where a barbaric and terrorizing regime ruled by a single man and his officials is overthrown allowing a new form of government and people to take over the authority and power in their hands and then leading a country into a new phase of development and prosperity for the country.
The application of war and violence when applied in this context has proved to be really helpful in the formation of democratic governments and their liberty from monarchic and totalitarian regimes.
When discussing the perspective of Freud on the issue it is also important to shed light upon the ways that he has proposed through which such kind of warfare conflict can be averted (Ginneken, 2007; p. 64). According to him this intensity and destruction that his human instinct has the ability to cause can only be suppressed if a central authority has been established which possesses the ultimate and sole authority of addressing and resolving the problems and complications that people encounter in different facets of life.
On the flip side bitter ground reality remains the same that in a multi-ethnic and religious community people would never allow any authority to decide or take decisions on their part or behalf especially when they are told and integrated with the feeling that they are intellectual and humanistic enough to take their good or bad decisions in their life without the consent of any superior authority whether it includes the state or any other social institution that influences their life.
Secondly, in this context it is also important to shift the focus of attention towards the authority that will be handling this position of resolving conflicts between people (Shepard, 2003; p.84). While performing the task of such immense responsibility there are a number of questions that need to be addressed before their appointment and election such as who will be the people serving in such positions? Why should the people express their confidence in the decisions that they take for them? What will be the biases that will influence their decision making process in the process of legislation and other important state matters? Should these people be elected after the consideration of their religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds? Should their election be executed on democratic grounds or by a higher authority? Whom will these decision makers be accountable to and what measures will be taken to ensure the transparency of this accountability process?  
War and mass media
When considered in contemporary context it is very important to highlight the role and participation that mass media and mainstream media channels have played in designing and engineering public and political opinion in a way that can help the governments in power to achieve and acquire their interests whether they may be localized at their very own state level or are related to the attainment of their strategic goals and objectives on a global platform. (Friedman, 1993 pg: 100)
A very comprehensible example that can be quoted in this context is the example of Iraq War of 1991 (Lando, 2007; p. 48). The events that occurred prior to war were based upon the orchestration of a person that gained enough power and authority due to which he was on the verge of directly confronting with the authority and hegemony of the United States. (Latimer, 2001 pg: 67)
Such an image was engineered primarily by mainstream US electronic and print media that formulated the public and political perception that Saddam Husain was about to initiate a nuclear war in the world. A similar image was projected about the leader during the year 2003 when US launched a full-fledged military operation in Iraq against the regime of the tyrant.
Many of them at that time ignored the fact that it was the US in the first place that first took the initiative of imposing a barbaric ruler of the Ba’ath party upon the people of Iraq and provided him with all the financial and military assistance that he required for conducting the wide scale genocide and massacre of Kurd people in the country.
In another example a similar kind of perceptional orchestration was witnessed when Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak suffered the same treatment as any other dictator that was at one point of time a pet of the United States.
 After the rule of over three decades over the people of Egypt the United States then started a similar propaganda against the Egyptian regime in order to formulate the perception in the minds of its people that it was basically a dictator that they had been feeding for so long and now it is time that US makes a move and designs a strategy to outset the dictator that has basically destroyed the people and resources of Egypt by conducting wide scale corruption and discrepancy in each and every sector of the country. (Telegraph, 2011)
 Once again the history repeated itself through which political perception was intentionally transformed into public perception representing the voice of American people. Once again authentic facts and information regarding the entire scenario were sidelined by American media and government which they effectively used as a tool in order to overthrow the government.
They ignored the fundamental fact that it was America once again that provided enormous military and financial assistance to Egypt in the first in order to make the state the second highest recipient of US aid after Israel. It was under the cover of this assistance that Mubarak was able to foster, germinate and strengthen a regime that stood and then crumbled and ultimately collapsed as soon as relations with US began to experience friction. (Blomfield, 2011)
Feminism and warfare
The feminist school of thought allows women the sole liberty and freedom to take their decisions regarding their life, family and profession by analyzing and assessing their strengths and weaknesses and not depending themselves upon the decisions taken by others at their part or behalf. The Third Wave feminism provides women the authority that they need to mold and structure their lives according to their own conveniences and facilities.
 It accentuates upon the contribution of women in the different facets of life whether it is politics, business, entrepreneurship, public figures and celebrities all of which are icons for the society to follow in one way or the other. It is basically an outcome of the feminist ideology that we know women like Hillary Clinton as the current US Secretary of State and Margaret Thatcher as the Iron Lady of United Kingdom. (Humm, 1992 pg: 123)
It is the same feminism that has motivated the rise of entrepreneurs like Indra Nooyi and Ophrah Winfrey that have revolutionized the role and participation of women and the achievement that they can acquire in any field.
Coming towards the warfare aspect of the feminist school of thought it is interesting to note here that the long journey and struggle that women have gone through is nothing less than an eternal war that they have fought at various fronts. (Cornell, 1998 pg: 37)
Even though the physical or tangible existence of this type of war is difficult to find, but if the struggle and effort demonstrated by women in different ways for the acquisition of liberty and equality is assessed we will come to realize that the entire timeline of determination and extraordinary struggle is nothing less than a war itself.
 However it is also important to mention here that their participation and role in physical war is also worth appreciating. Since the feminist school of thought is based upon the provision of equal social, political and economic rights for women, it comes as no shock that they also emphasize upon the equal participation of women in war related operations and exercises. (Flexner, 1996 pg: 89)
The argument of feminist advocates is based upon the fact that women and children are merely described as the innocent victims of war despite of the fact that the reality behind the entire scenario is quite different.
Feminists emphasize upon the fact that over 90% if the people that have become victims and have lost their lives because of the vicious anti-war US strategies have been non-combatants such as children and women who became preys of the immense collateral damage and destruction that these wars have created. (Chew, 2007: pg1)
Moreover it is the women that have to face the physical and mental pain and trauma when in a land ravaged by nuclear explosions results in the birth of either physically or mentally deformed or paralyzed children.
Furthermore due to prolonged engagement of war many innocent families including women and children have become victims of the crimes that are conducted in the midst and turmoil of war which includes the wiping of whole families.
Hence in either case it is the women that are normally targeted in situation of such intense and immense turbulence because of the ease with which they can be targeted. It is therefore important to provide significance to the notion that has been put forward by pro-feminist ideologues in the form of providing substantial military and war participation to women.
One of the examples that can be viewed in the context of women participation in such issues as either an atrocity or a revolutionary initiative is the presence and appointment of female guards for the psychotic Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi.
He is the only leader in the world that has appointed and elected women as his personal security guards and before their appointment they have to swear allegiance that for ensuring the safety and security of the leader they will not refrain from putting their lives at stake.
The entire situation can be analyzed from two different perspectives. The pro-feminist faction would definitely not view it optimistically as they would regard Qaddafi of using and sacrificing women to ensure his survival even when he can fulfill the same job by appointing strong and brawny men for his purpose.
They can also argue that these women apart from the security function become a victim of the psychotic distinctiveness that a leader like Qaddafi intends to establish in every possible way. However from a neutral point of view it can also be said that by providing women with this job he has basically explored a new frontier in which women can discover their potentials and others like them can engage in similar professions also.
The feminist school agrees with the fact that has been established by earlier psychologists regarding the instinct of human nature and its tendency to cause destruction, but they simultaneously also pressurize upon the fact that since women are the most vulnerable group of society during such military operations it is important that they should either be trained in a way to ensure their own security or they should be provided adequate opportunities so that they may teach the enemy a lesson instead of becoming an easy prey for them.  (Chew, 2007: pg1)
In conclusion it would be appropriate to state that since the nature of human is highly unpredictable it is not easy to speculate the ways and methods that humans usually apply in order to achieve their objectives.
The instinct of man and its absurd alignment towards destruction is something that comprehensibly manifests the fact that sometimes it is difficult to differentiate man from animals, especially in such circumstances. In circumstances when he begins to acquire a sense of pleasure and satisfaction by causing destruction and devastation to people by bombarding them and killing them for almost no reason.
At the same time another very clear manifestation of human nature that is revealed by such an act is about the presence of sheer contradiction in things that man says and what he practices.
When these bombardments or war related exercises are conducted on the people of another country, they regard it as an act of eliminating terrorism or in case of collateral damage intend to apply reconciliatory policies, but when a similar kind of activity takes place in their very own land and kills their very own people, they take a hardline stance for demanding justice or revenge.


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