Intentional Divisions

Mari Fitzduff

Professor and Director of the MA Conflict and Coexistence Programme at Brandeis University

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

For instance, most problems today are caused by lack of ability to manage diversity by governments. Most governments, in fact, often politically use diversity to gain. So the Sinhalese and the Tamils were doing fine until the government decided at one stage politically to exclude Tamils from the university and civil service, etc. A lot of the existing LTTEs, actually the organizers were students who were disenfranchised by the government within a particular time.

The same in Northern Ireland where the unionist government felt too afraid to ensure that Catholics were included, etc., and of course then the cycle began when the civil rights movement began. What you meet with is a government who, albeit best knowledge, will still decide to go a certain way in terms of deciding what they politically need. That brings us to our work in leadership, because what we find is that politicians are more often followers than leaders and usually their first thought is for their own sustenance and their party's sustenance. We've been looking particularly at the model of transaction vs. transformation; Mandela vs. Milosevic. Unfortunately there are few Mandelas, few who are prepared to be of their own group but go beyond their own group, and that is extraordinarily difficult to find.