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conflict management/negotiation news is news

Can't buy me happiness (with your revenge).

I’m not Iraqi, so I’m certainly not an Iraqi victim of Saddam Hussein’s reign of horror. But I can say this: in the following quote I found in Haaretz just now, you can find the major misconception apparent in too many conflicts that people sloppily attempt to patch up.

“Now all the victims’ families will be happy because Saddam got his just sentence,” said Hamza, who lives in Diwaniyah, a Shiite town 130 kilometers south of Baghdad.

Happy? Really?

Retaliation will never bring happiness. It’s a fact of conflict management and resolution courses. It’s a fact of life.

It might bring other things – a (sometimes false) sense of justice, the accomplishment of your revenge, settlement to your bloodthirst, a bit of quiet for the moment – all that, until the next round is played.

The dead are already dead; the maimed are maimed… They will always be that and it’s a reality victims live with everyday for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t matter whether retaliation happens or not. Happiness will not be theirs because of the next attack.

It’s a basic concept in my conflict management degree. What can bring about real feelings of settlement, of relaxation, of calm is born of creation: New existence from nothing. Healing from the memories. Energy towards reconcilation.

It sounds rosy and unrealistic – that’s why it’s so tempting to think that revenge will make you happy. But it won’t. Because your brother is still dead, your sister was still raped and your son will never know his father.

So doesn’t that make you want to try something else… to achieve happiness?