One of the most recognizable features of our landscape today are the valleys of conflict that cuts across the view, trapping people and resources into separated schisms covered by whirling fog. These are the conflicts which obsess our headline writers and dominate our news. They are not most people’s everyday experience of life, but they obscure our view and add so much to the difficulty of navigating across the land that we have no choice but to build the bridges necessary to unite the different sides. We must bring the light of day to all those enured in conflicts, so they can see the view from the outsides of their chasms.
Conflict entraps all those who are touched by it, innocent or not, perpetrator or victim; they are compelled to look in instead of out. The irony is that many of these valleys were dug out purposefully, by some group expecting to improve their view by placing another group out of sight. Not unnaturally, those forced into the valley resist and start to climb out, at which point the original creators of the valley return to dig wider and deeper, until they find themselves living in the same valley with those they sought to displace.
While conflicts originate with an intention to hoard resources, they act like valleys and inevitably develop watersheds that divert resources from all around to flow down their course. The resources (approximately $3,000,000 a minute as of the time of writing this) consumed in conflicts are stolen from their better uses, be they people or materials, ideas or energy, they have been diverted from their alternative application.
Whatever their origins, we must clear the fog and build the steps that will allow those inside and outside the valleys of conflict to look up and move forward.