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Summary Report: Qena Religious and Tribal Conflict Transformation Project

  • المركز الإقليمي للوساطة والحوار
  • Monday, 06 April 2015

This paper is considered the outcome of the project on conflict transformation that took Qena governorate as a case study for the real situation of conflicts and tensions in Upper Egypt. In this regards, the project planned two field visits by the research team to the city of Qena and Hijaza village in the same governorate.

The choice of Qena (as a case study) is based on various considerations including the nature of the demography of the governorate with tribal and religious diversities, and the complexity of the scene of the conflicts and controversies which often take a more violent form, as well as the fact that the governorate is located at a lower place in development according to the Human Development Indicators. This clearly reflects on the nature of the crises and their level of intensity.

MAIN IMPLICATIONS

There are main implications revealed by the research paper; vengeance is one of the basic facts in Qena and in the viallage of Hijaza, but this does not rule out the existence of tensions in the vengeance system in both areas, since it became a sort of social institutionalization with the aim of achieving social control.

The matter evolved from the collective request of the involved family to limit the vengeance status to the perpetrator of the crime only without extending it to all the members of the family or of the tribe. The number of victims and the volume of losses linked to religious tensions in Hijaza is considered lower than the losses linked to tribal tensions in the city of Qena. In the village of Hijaza violence takes an uncontrolled form as result of the relative density of social interactions, while in Qena violence is clearer in its expression. has been developed as an arena for debate and deliberately became a place for more expression of youth and women, particularly in a transient formula for the tribe, together with the establishment of a partnership among the CSOs to develop a comprehensive vision of their role based on true recognition of social needs away from sectarian or tribal prejudices.

Furthermore, the customary reconciliation committees acquired a greater importance in settling the disputes; both tribal and religious ones.

The political polarization is among the phenomena present in Qena more than Hijaza, and this is strictly linked to the relations linking the tribes in Qena to the government institutions, which fuels conflicts and debates among the tribes. Concurrently to this data, the state seems almost absent in the field of comprehensive development or in providing real vision of the society’s priorities and needs, thus, leaving a gap for other actors to fill.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To sum up, it is possible to bring up various recommendations that can contribute to alleviate crises in the society of Qena, which can be categorized in two groups. The first group is linked to the state and its relations with society, since the matter requires the state to put a clear-cut development plan, re-balance the historical legacy of the capital centralization, and open areas for independent movements of the community towards growth.

 It is also required to complete the picture of the state in the Upper Egypt society through its services, supervisory, executive and legislative institutions, so that the state will not be limited just to the picture of a policeman.

In the same context, the formulation of new educational policies focusing on the content, on supporting creative thinking and at the same time taking into consideration the social concerns of each governorate is another recommendation. Therefore education is materialized in settling local disputes. The state can benefit from the experiences of other states that passed through similar problems and crises, by recalling transitional justice experiences and reconciliation committees that succeeded in rebuilding their deformed social cohesion.

The second group of recommendations is linked to the social aspect, since the area of “ElManadir” has been developed as an arena for debate and deliberately became a place for more expression of youth and women, particularly in a transient formula for the tribe, together with the establishment of a partnership among the CSOs to develop a comprehensive vision of their role based on true recognition of social needs away from sectarian or tribal prejudices.


Furthermore, the customary reconciliation committees acquired a greater importance in settling the disputes; both tribal and religious ones.

The political polarization is among the phenomena present in Qena more than Hijaza, and this is strictly linked to the relations linking the tribes in Qena to the government institutions, which fuels conflicts and debates among the tribes. Concurrently to this data, the state seems almost absent in the field of comprehensive development or in providing real vision of the society’s priorities and needs, thus, leaving a gap for other actors to fill.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

To sum up, it is possible to bring up various recommendations that can contribute to alleviate crises in the society of Qena, which can be categorized in two groups. The first group is linked to the state and its relations with society, since the matter requires the state to put a clear-cut development plan, re-balance the historical legacy of the capital centralization, and open areas for independent movements of the community towards growth.

 It is also required to complete the picture of the state in the Upper Egypt society through its services, supervisory, executive and legislative institutions, so that the state will not be limited just to the picture of a policeman.

In the same context, the formulation of new educational policies focusing on the content, on supporting creative thinking and at the same time taking into consideration the social concerns of each governorate is another recommendation. Therefore education is materialized in settling local disputes. The state can benefit from the experiences of other states that passed through similar problems and crises, by recalling transitional justice experiences and reconciliation committees that succeeded in rebuilding their deformed social cohesion.

The second group of recommendations is linked to the social aspect, since the area of “ElManadir” has been developed as an arena for debate and deliberately became a place for more expression of youth and women, particularly in a transient formula for the tribe, together with the establishment of a partnership among the CSOs to develop a comprehensive vision of their role based on true recognition of social needs away from sectarian or tribal prejudices.

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