Conflict is an inevitable occurrence of disagreement that tend to take place between or within individuals. It is triggered when one’s values and beliefs regarding their historical, cultural and religious aspects are challeneged. Most of the times conflict does occur between the powerful and the powerless. However, this is not the only case; conflict also exist within each individual, even though the circumstances are varied for each and every one of us. Thus, conflict is a matter that can be found between those in power and those who don’t, between individuals (interpersonal) and within individuals (intrapersonal).
More often that not, conflict occurs between the powerful and the powerless. For those cases that fall under this condition, it typically began with an imbalance of equality, two sides fighting for superiority or just to maintain their own survival. Bruce Beresford’s Paradise road exposes this very distinction but the ones who hold the power and those who don’t, i.e. the supposedly superior Japanese soldiers who are keeping a watch of the women in the Prisoner of War camp. Those Japanese soldiers treat the western women horribly just for the mere fact theat they are who they are – caucasian women. The women who are unfortunate enough to be stuck in this situation have to go through traumatising experiences.
They are beaten up brutally – generally for no particular reason, starved for a long period of time, having to face misogynistic behaviours of the Japanese, and most of all, they have no say whatsoever in in response to this degradation. However, this imbalance of power is not only distinct between the Japanese and the women but also between the Japanese themselves. For instance, the interpreter of the colonel is subtly seen the be against what the Japanese are doing and their treatment towards the women. However, he has no power against those higher-ranked soldiers and there is no way that he would be able to voice his opinions without getting in immense trouble. Thus, both cases reveal that no matter which side an individual is on, conflict will always occur when there are opposing beliefs and values. And this usually happens between the powerful and powerless where those in control may feel superior and degrade whoever’s inferior in their eyes.
Conflict does not only occur between the powerful and the powerless but just between any individual despite whether they hold any power or not. This could be found in everyday lives between close-knit members such as family and friends, to a much bigger scale that may possibly be related to historical, cultural and religious dynamics. In the film, there is an evident occurrence of conflict where the women are involved in a quarrel regarding one side’s suspicion of the other side’s soap stealing. This may seem like such a feeble cause to a physical fight, but the stress and pressure surrounding them just magnify such details. This hostility is also caused by the difference of nationalities between these women, hence going back again to cultural issues that tend to trigger conflicts from happening. On another occasion, it could also be seen that the women are suspecting each other from being the Japanese spy due to Wing’s death. Then again, this issue arises due to the lack of trust the women have amongst each other. Thus, conflict does not need to concern the existence of power to occur, as it has evidently taken place amid the powerless.
Furthermore, other than occuring between the powerful and the powerless or just amongst a group of individuals, conflict similarly occur within individuals. Each individual will always posess conflict within themselves one way or another. It may be due to small issues but the more serious ones tend to trigger stronger worries and result in severe consequences. Looking back to the film, an example of a bigger scale intrapersonal conflict can be found within the chosen women who are exposed to the choice: to stay at the camp and maintain whatever’s left of their dignity or to give in and ‘work’ at the mansion in exchange of desperately yearned privileges? As shown, some women choose the latter and it’s revealed later on their expressions that some don’t seem very pleased with their decision. However, that is the judgment that they have made and every decision has their own consequences. No matter which side of the conflicting thoughts every individual lean towards, there will always be inevitable repercussion.
Conflict is an unavoidable and ongoing matterr that has been occurring from the start beginning of time. Many factors may trigger its occurrence and it can fall in numerous categories. Most of the times, conflict can be found to take place between those who are in power and those who are powerless. However, it’s not always the case. Conflict may also occur amongst general individuals, despite whether they posess any power or not. Conflict also occur within individuals regarding the difficult choices that they have to settle on every now and then. Every individual approaches conflict differently and it should be understood that every conflict has its consequences, no matter which decision one decided to take.