May 01

Presumably many of you, like myself, were shocked by the recent events in Bangkok, and we can only hope that by the time you read this article, the tense situation on Ratchadapisek has already been defused.

During the previous weeks it was hard to ignore how little knowledge about modern strategies of conflict resolution seems to exist in this country. According to F. Glasl’s 9-stage model of conflict escalation, the country is already trapped in a ‘lose-lose’ stage: there is only one other level of escalation remaining now, ultimately aiming at the physical destruction of opponents – if necessary, at the price of self destruction… Needless to say who would have to pay this price in a national crisis.

For organizations or in couple therapy, it is state-of-the-art to involve an external party to resolve insolvable and chronic conflicts or a hardening of the situation. Such a consultant or mediator will take a neutral position and attend and support a process of de-escalation and reconciliation. In a catch-22 situation like the current one, however, it requires either a powerful outside party or one of the conflicting parties to involve a mediator! Let us hope that our politicians succeed in finally doing that – ideally, as discreetly as many couples do it when they need help, instead of argueing in front of TV cameras, as we have recently experienced.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010; Pictures (c)

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Thoughts on “Caught in a Stalemate” (2):

  1. Comment by Rudi:

    “Peaceful civilians”:

    In jedem anderen Land wäre es undenkbar, daß ein Mob (mag sein, daß 90% an sich friedfertig sind, aber warum fuhren sie dann nach den ja wirklich etliche Male ausgesprochenen Ultimaten und Warnungen nicht heim?) eine ganze Stadt blockiert, die Wirtschaft nachhaltig schädigt und täglich Granaten wirft – und Polizei und Militär schauen zu. Da wäre schon viel früher durchgegriffen worden… daß das Tote zur Folge hat, ist extrem schlimm, aber wenn nichts getan würde, wäre es im Endeffekt noch viel katastrophaler. Demos sind eine Sache, terroristische Anschläge oder die Schädigung unschuldiger Dritter sind aber nicht hinnehmbar. Danke für diesen Artikel – leider zu spät!

  2. Comment by r.l.fellner:

    Hello Rudi,

    this article was published in a local newspaper at May 15 – at a time when there was still room for mediation. Unfortunately, both sides (at least officially) declined any kind of involvement or advice from other countries or international organizations. However, it has to be said that it is quite uncommon in Asian culture to ask ‘strangers’ for help if conflicts arise, usually all efforts go into solving them within the affected group itself… sometimes at a very high price.

    Kind regards and thanks for sharing your thoughts,

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