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 which took the Qena governorate as case study for the reality of conflicts and tensions in Upper Egypt. In this regard, the project planned two visits on the field by the research team to the city of Qena and the Hijaz village in the same governorate. The choise 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 the lower ladder of development according to the Human Development Indicators. This leaves a clear return on the nature of the crises and their level of intensity.
There are main implications revealed by the research paper; vengeance is one of the basic facts in Qena and in the viallage of Hijaz, but this does not deny the existence of tensions in the vengeance system in both areas, since it became a sort of social institution with the aim of achieving social control. The matter evolved from the collective request from 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 Hijaz is considered lower than the losses linked to tribal tensions in the city of Qena. In the village of Hijaz violence takes an uncontrolled form as result of the relative density of social interactions, while in Qena violence is clearer in its expression. Furthermore, the customary conciliation committees acquired a great importance in settling the disputes both tribal and religious.
The political polarization is one of the data present in Qena more than in Hijaz, and this is strictly linked to the relations of interest which link the tribes in Qena to the systems of government, which fuels conflicts and debates among the tribes. Concurrently to these data, the state seems almost absent in the field of comprehensive development or in giving a real vision of the society’s priorities and needs. Thus this leaves room for other actors to fill the empty space left by the state.
To sum up it is possible to refer various recommendations that can contribute to alleviate crises in the society of Qena and to divide them in two main groups: the first one is linked to the state and its relations to society, since the matter requires the state to put a clear-cut development plan, re-balance the historical legacy of the centrality of the capital and open areas for the independent movement of the community towards growth. It i salso 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 focus on the content, on supporting creative thinking and at the same time take into consideration the social concerns of each governorate. Therefore education is employed 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 conciliation committees successful in rebuilding the deformed social fabric. The second group of recommendations is linked to the social aspect, since the area of “ElManadir” or “____ are developed as an arena for debate and deliberation to become more expression of the youth and the women, and in particular 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 a true recognition of the social needs away from sectarian or tribal prejudices.