Conflict is a dynamic, living process that is not only linear in progress, but also in curved and multi-directional lines. In order to understand the history of violent conflict, of wars, we need to grapple with the complexities and evolution of conflict dynamics.
How does conflict develop? How does conflict escalate into violence? How does it deepen our understanding of the past to understand historical conflict dynamics?
Print Handout 13: Conflict Like Fire Model. Sufficient copies should be printed depending on the number of groups (each group gets one set). Each paper should be cut into five sections according to the five paragraphs and the five names of the stages. After cutting them, shuffle the stages and distribute them to the group.
Warm-up (10 minutes):
We ask the participants to share fire phrases or references that are used to describe conflict (in daily conversations, news bulletins, popular proverbs…), such as “pour fuel on the fire”, “match that lit the fire,” “spark/ignite a conflict”. We ask about the similarities between conflict and fire (positive or negative).
Group Work (15 minutes):
We divide participants into 4 groups, and each group takes the cut out papers from Handout 13: Conflict Like Fire Model. Each group goes through the papers and discusses each stage, its definition and its significance, and they arrange the stages on the wall according to what they consider is the sequence of development, and put a name for each stage.
Group Presentation (10 minutes)
Together, we go through each stage and the suggested sequence, and give participants space to raise any questions of understanding.
Group Work (45 minutes):
We continue with the same groups. Each group projects the model of “conflict like fire” on the Civil War in Lebanon to visually relate the stages of the fire to the stages of the war in a drawing on the flip chart paper and answers the following questions:
Each group posts their drawing on the wall, and we walk around each of the fires.
Plenary Discussion (15 minutes):
We facilitate a discussion about what we can learn from using this tool, and how it is different from tools more commonly used by historians?