“If there’s no conflict, there are no stories worth telling – or reading”

By Emmanuel Sekondi. Emmanuel, 26, currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria, and shares his opinions on conflict in relation to storytelling in the article below. Please read his article and share your thoughts and comments below.

Conflict is a problematic occurrence that is usual in every society, but which no person or society at large willingly intends to experience. In spite of the problems it proves to humanity, conflict also acts to ingrain itself in the psyche of humanity, making unforgettable events in human life. Where and when there is prevalence of conflict, regardless of the degree, it always serves as a memorable occurrence in societal history. The fact is understood that with no events, there is no history, and conflict happens to be one of the primary events that showcase the history of a particular society. The riots that have prevailed in a particular society will always be historical to the society. These riots cannot be forgotten quickly, even if the people who experienced such riots do not live anymore. The Apartheid decadence and rot that submerged South Africa as at the time of its regime cannot be forgotten in contemporary South African society. This is because the inimical occurrences of the Apartheid still remain stuck in the psyches of South Africans. Conflict, as a matter of fact, is a tool that makes societies hold onto the ‘past-ness’ of their past. The most remarkable events so far in history are the conflicting ones. Before peace can be sustained there must be conflict in one way or another. This indicates that peace cannot reign without any element of preceding conflict within the human realm. For freedom to be garnered, there must be an instance of conflict, because, without it, oppression would keep knocking on the door of humanity on a regular basis. The Soweto massacre of South Africa in the year 1976 will always be ringing in the psyche of the South Africans no matter what, and this is a result of the event being one of conflict that claimed a myriad lives and left numerous wounded.

Racism is another kind of event that alarmed the universe in terms of conflict. Racism is an occurrence that cannot be forgotten in the blink of an eye simply because of the conflicting issues it posed during its tacit reign in America and Europe. African-Americans will never forget the enslavement of their race in the era of slavery. In American plantations, slaves were forcibly detached of their dignity as humans. They were exposed to all kinds of dehumanisation, maltreatment and discrimination. The slaves, realising these incongruities, began revolting against their masters for their freedom to be ascertained. The slaves’ revolt amounted to a tenacious conflict, which led to their emancipation. The freedom from their status of inferiority was garnered through conflict. If not for conflict, it would have been a practice of normalcy in placing one race over the others in contemporary society. In every aspect of life, there is conflict, and there is no aspect of life that is free from conflict as far as the universe is concerned. Conflict is as old as the universe itself, which indicates that conflict and the universe exist together, and have existed together from the days of the past to those of the present. Even in the present, however, racism has been a conflicting issue threatening the togetherness and unity of mankind in the contemporary universe.

The universe has witnessed numerous conflicts ranging from world wars, inter-ethnic clashes, civil wars, racial clashes, international wars, communal clashes and many more. With the aforementioned explications in mind, it is justifiable that “if there’s no conflict, there are no stories worth telling – or reading “. The reason behind this justification is that stories often reflect occurrences in the world, which are caused by all kinds of predicaments. For a story to not convey any element of conflict in it means for it to eventually lose its tale or readership. And when a story loses this, it would definitely be worthless of narration.

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