The Belgium Situation

This Page was designed, to make serious efforts on a resolution of the existing conflicts in Belgium.
If you have useful ideas, informations or links, please go ahead...

Background Informations (please add, if something is missing)

Probably best overview can be found in the moment on:

Steps towards a solution

Indymedia Resolve (by IMC Conflict Resolution Group)

Clarifying the situation (a conflict analysis)


Keep on working towards a solution

Have a group of conflict- and process-focused facilitators, who might:
  • be in dialogue with the single imcs/parties and asking them, what are the main problems & possibilities they see
  • intervene gently when accusations start again on global lists (like imc-communication), like:
    • remind the people to focus on the problem and not the persons
    • remind the people, to look on the process and on what stage of the process they are in (like: we already had this accusations. Now, we gonna look at this and that...)
    • be friendly and open hearted, but concret
    • finally: keep it short!
  • present their results
  • propose possible solutions
  • ...??? (probably much more)

Some general informations about conflict resolution

Seven guidelines for handling conflicts constructively


Ask yourself what it is you don't know yet. Keep in mind that you don't know what story is foremost in other people's minds. Each individual has his or her own story about what is important and why. Insight into these different stories can make a great difference for how you and other people handle the conflict. Take on conflict situations with an intention to understand more about what is going on. Ask open-ended questions, questions that help you to understand the background of the conflict better. People's images of what is significant in specific situations are important causes to how they behave. These images can change. Remember also to remain open to learning new things about yourself and how other people perceive you. Maybe other parties feel that you have contributed more to the problems than you are aware of.

Separate problem and person. Formulate the conflict issues as shared problems that you have to solve cooperatively. Abstain from blaming and voicing negative opinions about others. State clearly what you feel and want and invite your counterpart to help finding solutions. Opinions and emotions should be expressed in ways that facilitate the process of achieving satisfying outcomes. Keep in mind that there is always some kind of positive intention behind people's actions, even if unskillfully expressed.

Be clear, straightforward and concrete in you communication. State clearly what you have seen, heard and experienced that influenced your views in the matter at hand. Tell the other person what is important to you, why you find it important, what you feel and what you hope for. Express you own emotions and frustrated needs in clear and concrete words. Ask for the counterpart's feelings and needs in a way that conveys that you care about them.

Maintain the contact with your counterpart. Breaking off the contact with the counterpart in a conflict often leads to a rapid conflict escalation. Do what you can to keep the communication going. Work to improve your relationship even if there are conflict issues that seem impossible to resolve. Offer to do something small that meets one of your counterpart's wishes and suggest small things your counterpart can do to meet your own needs and wishes. Even if marginal, such acts can strenghten the hope that it will be possible to change the nature of the relationship in a positive direction.

Look for the needs and interests that lie behind concrete standpoints. Bargaining about standpoints often leads to stalemates or unsatisfying solutions. Inquire into what needs and interests would be satisfied by certain concrete demands and explore if there are alternative and mutually acceptable ways of satisfying those needs and interests. Regard blaming, accusations and negative opinions as unskillful ways of expressing emotions. Show understanding for the feelings of the counterpart without letting yourself be provoked by the attacks you are the target for. Inquire into what is really important and significant for yourself and keep those values and needs in mind during the course of the conflict.

Make it easy for your counterpart to be constructive. Avoid triggering the defensiveness of your counterpart by blaming, accusing, criticizing and diagnosing. Extend appreciation and respect for the counterpart where you can do so sincerely. Show you counterpart that you care about the issues and needs that are important to him or her. Take responsibility for your own contributions to the conflict events.

Develop your ability to look at the conflict from the outside. Review the conflict history in its entirety. Notice what kinds of actions influence the tensions of the conflict in positive and negative directions. Take care to develop your awareness of how you can influence the further course of events in the conflict in a constructive direction. Test your own image of what is going on by talking with impartial persons. Assume responsibility for what happens. Take on problems you see as early as possible, before they have a chance to develop into major conflict issues.

Conflict Resolution and Game Theory

\x84Negotiation and conflict resolution have a connection to games. Game theory views negotiation as \x93if it were a puzzle to be solved. The key question for game theorists is: How do parties make optimal choices when these choices are contingent on what other people (or players)?\x94 The most famous example of such a situation, where parties have to make choices contingent on what others do, is the socalled Prisoner\x92s Dilemma, of which a variety of forms exists.
The basic real life situation is the case of two prisoners who are suspected of having committed a crime together and are interrogated by a judge separately and do not know what the other has responded or is going to respond to the judge. If they both confess and inform on the other, they both get a five-year sentence. If they both do not confess and remain silent, they are imprisoned for only one year. If one confesses and informs on the other and the other denies to have committed the crime, the confessor is freed while the other is sentenced to ten year of imprisonment.
Transforming this situation into a game in a casino, it could be played in such a way where the two players both get 3 points if they remain silent and cooperate with each other(non- zero-sum game: both win), lose one point both when they confess and inform on the other, but win 5 points if they confess and the other remains silent, who then loses 3 points (a zero-sum game: the winner takes it all). Obviously, there is the danger in this game that both players want to realize their highest individual result, tempted to earn 5 points, and therefore both lose (lose-lose outcome); while in the situation where both cooperate both win (win-win outcome).
Conflict situations can be somehow similar to such game situations. If both conflict parties insist in their maximal claims in a conflict, it is possible that they will both lose. If they start to cooperate, there can be a mutual gain for both parties involved.\x93
From: (page 36) - \x84Towards a World without Frontiers, Conflict Resolution and the Border Dispute between Ecuador and Peru\x93

-- BeN - 14 May 2005
Topic revision: r6 - 28 Oct 2005, AlsteR
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