Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Conflict…. What can be good about it?

Conflict theory states that our society cannot exist if peace and harmony reign. In fact, it goes as far as stating that conflict is necessary in order for our society and us as humans have a chance to live. Although it challenges what seems to be common sense, conflict is good for our society and our advancement as a species. Today, we are able to see conflict all over the news and even within our neighboring city, Cd. Juarez. People for the past couple of years have seen an influx in the violent war that is happening in this city. More and more people are being killed, and social structures are being demolished. We see this with the police force being exposed as corrupt and even now the military being exposed as one that is violating human rights. These structures were once set up to protect us and serve the public but now instead of doing this they seem to be hurting the public. In this case do you think that good can come out of this conflict? Or do you think that this conflict will only result in change, that being simply change (bad or good)? Also can you think of any instances through which conflict created change?


  1. I was at the Violence on the Border conference where Gustavo de la Rosa, the attorney from Juarez spoke of corruption in the Mexican military. I agree, there are always bad apples in a bunch, but I do not agree that the entire military is corrupt and is being used to loot and torture the population in Mexico.

    Unfortunately, I have personally witnessed this violence- I lost a loved one to it on January 17, this year. My husband was shot trying to protect his cousin- my husband lived- his cousin received one fatal shot near the back of the head. He was 26. An attempted car-jacking gone wrong, I won't go into more detail except to say the municipal police literally moved out of the way while my husband and his cousin were screaming for help, all the while being chased by two vehicles. That corruption was more than obvious.

    At the scene of the crime, after the shooting, the first people to arrive, before any local police, were the military. They blocked the crime scene, they gave what medical attention they could, although they weren't able to save Jesus, my husband's cousin. Nonetheless, no local police showed up to interrogate the witnesses, even though the chase had caused another serious accident less than a block away.

    Perhaps this was just a coincidence, and my husband and his cousin bumped into the only two corrupt cops in the city, which we all know is false. What is not a coincidence, and I am a witness to, is that the military is doing the best they can to protect innocent lives.
    I am sure Mr. De la Rosa has merit, and evidence to support his conclusions, but I don't think we should stereotype the entire military because of what he said.

    However, going back to the original question, I do believe this conflict is resulting in change. For one, this sort of violence isn't giving any room for mediocre criminals, you are either with the cartels, or against them. For those who are with them, they better be serious about their loyalty, their lives depend on it. But I can safely say the majority of the population in Mexico is against them, we all know someone or have ourselves been victims of this, even if we are on the US side.

    I think this conflict is creating change for the positive, much of the population in Mexico is united against this conflict, they all want the cartels out of their lives and away from their loved ones. I think the negative change is what we see in the news everyday, the shootings, executions, kidnappings, homicide- an unprecedented amount of violence for any Mexican city.

    I think a good example of conflict creating change is the incident where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. This led to the boycott of the buses, a very important precursor to the Civil Rights Movement which led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Another example of conflict that created change dates back to the time of the Civil War, with the first Constitutional Convention that led to the creation of the Constitution. Without the conflict the colonies had with England, perhaps we would still be under the Queen's rule! The Civil War, an enormous ball of conflict, led to the independence of the colonies and the creation of the United States.

    Perhaps my emotion on the subject is blinding me to reality, I can admit to that, but I am honest about what I saw. It wasn't only in this particular incident, just two days ago 5,000 additional troops arrived to Ciudad Juarez for the sole purpose of protecting the population. So perhaps the military does have a percentage of bad apples, but tell me- what bureaucracy doesn't? Unfortunately, Mexico can't rely on the police force, anyone who has been stopped by a "transito" or local cop can attest to that- 5 bucks can get them off your back! The military, at the very least, is making big busts of drugs and weapons on the border, which is a lot more than the local police can say.

  2. What is occurring in our neighboring city of Cd. Juarez is very unfortunate and hits very close to home with us here in El Paso. I don’t have family there nor have I first handedly encountered any personal traumatic experiences. I was very touched by u2girl’s story and my condolences to her family. My dad does travel to Chihuahua about once every two months on his own to help finish the home that he and my mother hope to retire in once I graduate. The violence always terrifies me when I hear another tragic story but I hold faith that my father will be safe.
    Part of my assurance is the people of that great city. Although it may seem that they are being defeated, most of the people in the city of Juarez are standing up and are doing whatever it takes to lead a normal life and defend their beloved city.
    I recently saw a story that was featured on CNN where the mayor of Rosarito, a neighboring town to Tijuana, has not seen any violent acts involving the cartel since the beginning of the year. Also, spring break seems to be promising and safe for many tourists planning to spend their vacations’ in Mexico. Although it is not safe to say the same here in Cd. Juarez, I have faith that the military, the citizens of Cd. Juarez, and hopefully the majority of the police force will help end these tragic wars.
    I feel that the people of Cd. Juarez can defiantly see the good in this conflict now. They realized that evil is trying to take over them and they will not let that happen. I love seeing stories of citizens uniting and forcing groups within their communities in effort to stop the violence. I feel that this will defiantly be a lasting communion. As I have stated, it is unfortunate but the world needs to see how Mexico’s tight bond with religion and faith will help this country prevail and win this war against drugs.
    A conflict through which change was created would be the war that us Americans are involved in right now. I like this example because there have been good changes and bad changes. We have seen the fall of Saddam Hussein as well as the rise of a new democracy for their government and people of Iraq. Yet, we have seen all the wrongs that we did throughout the years of the war and the affect it has ad here at home and on our soldiers.

  3. I do believe that conflict is good for change talking about Cd. Juarez I think that all of that violence that is happening there is good and it is the consequence of not having any conflict at all. I believe that it is the result of the past governments compliance with the drug cartels. They had threatened them and they would also give them money so it was easier to just comply and go with the flow not caring about the many people that was being harmed by all of those drug cartels. Now I believe that the government is actually doing something or trying to and this is why the conflict began.
    Moreover, this conflict has cost the society many lives and it is also costing the reputation of Mexico and therefore it is affecting tourism and the economy of the country. This conflict may have a really bad side but at the end I really hope that it brings something good to the city where I was born. Furthermore, I can think about another conflict like that similar to Juarez’ in Colombia, actually the president that dealt at that time with the conflict (and I cannot remember when that was) came to Juarez to give a conference about the similar situation and how he faced it. He said that it was hard but not impossible and the situation in Colombia is not the best but it is better now than it was back then.

  4. As far as violence goes in our neighboring city, I think good can come out of this conflict. Change is going to happen, good or bad, however whether it is good or bad will ultimately lie in who comes out with the power. Mexico can come out with a country whose social services and structures have been overhauled to produce a stronger democracy or it can come out with a country whose social structures have failed and produced a failed democracy and possibly a dictatorship or something equivalent. We also have to keep in mind the different conflicts occurring in Mexico. there are the conflicts most apparent which are the cartel conflicts but then there is the conflicts between the cartels and the government for power. underlying all this is perhaps a class conflict with the almost dissappearance of the middle class. Change will definately occur and a good example that is similar to this conflict is Iraq. A dictatorship was removed, social structures failed after that removal, and now other social structures govern iraq including tribal influences.

  5. According to Coser, the functions of external violent conflict include strengthening group boundaries and increasing solidarity. It is possible drug groups may become more unified in combating the authorities, subsequently intensifying bloodshed. However, for all the unity violent conflict may engender, prolonged violence becomes dysfunctional. As Merton states, society cannot assume all functions are functional. What is more, according to Dahrendorf, conflict diminishes as resources are spent. If the resources of drug groups diminish, Cd. Juarez may begin to recover and possibly attain law and order; however, if the resources of the city diminish, the violence may continue and devastate the region. Thus, one important consideration is whose resources will diminish first. In my opinion, if the drug cartels succeed, if their resources do not atrophy, the end result will undoubtedly be horrific.

  6. I think everyone can agree that what is going on in Juarez is very unfortumate but I also believe that some kind of change whether it is good or bad change can come out of this conflict. Obviously, we hope that good change comes out of the situation however, it is very possible that bad change can occur as well. I belive conflict theory is correct in saying that if peace and harmony reign, society is not possible. However, we have to redefine that definition becuase not only do harmony and peace not mean the same thing as they used to mean, but they also mean different things for different societies and cultures. What you think as peacful and harmonious might not be what I think is peaceful and harmonious. Take suicide bombers for example, they think they are at peace and it is peaceful and harmonious to do what they are doing when a lot of people might disagree with that. A lot of good things have come out of instances where there has been conflict.Countries have gained independence out of conflict and racial segregation has been abolished to due conflict. Hopefully another good thing can come out of what is going on in Juarez becuase they sure do deserve good.