The world is in a constant state of transition, but even more change is taking place as humanity lives through an age of fragmentation that is being experienced globally, as well as in local settings. The clash of values and narratives, which are symptoms of fragmentation, are occurring more frequently. They are becoming further entrenched by rising conflicts, migration and displacement, food crisis, hunger, changing climate, and inflation. Unfortunately, these factors complicate ways of finding solutions to common problems. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, warns of the “risk of geopolitical fragmentation, as geopolitics turn into geo-economics with negative impacts.” She points out that a fundamental shift is taking place “from a world of relative predictability and stability, to greater uncertainty and volatility.”
The wave of fragmentation has also greatly impacted people’s movements around the world. There are two global trends that require closer examination. First, State policy of divide et impera has shifted to define and rule. This shift is evident through narratives manufactured by States with the same intensity that propagates the false idea that Indigenous Peoples are products of geography alone, and not both history and geography. The results are fragmenting a peoples’ collective rights and consciousness causing them to turn against each other. Second, people’s movements appear to be more and more entrapped in the language of solutions. This is largely due to systems of State dominion as they continue to push for solutions without conceding any rights to the people. This approach is shortsighted and only promotes short term peace while removing the possibilities of a sustained enduring peace.
The plague of fragmentation is also enveloping the Nagas causing uncertainty and emotional volatility. The current political reality is informing the leaders and people of the need to do something about the fragmented Naga house. This division is only turning Nagas against each other, and as it closes their minds inwards it is weakening their inherent capacity to chart a destiny that opens the way forward. By being pushed into a corner of exclusivism and isolation, Nagas are being reduced to a people without a vision, and like a body with no head it is moving directionless. The acute fragmentation has blurred and undermined the Naga perception of reality. And, in turn, the Naga peoples’ ability to conduct their affairs with reason, resolve and dignity is being negatively affected.
Many understand the urgency for Nagas to address their present condition. The question has always centered on how.
On September 22, 2022, the then Prime Minister of Israel, Yair Lapid, in his address to the UN General Assembly told the world of the painful trauma and burden of the holocaust in which six million Jews were murdered. And, he went on to say how 75 years after they attained their State, they are now a Start-Up Nation and a world leader. How did this happen? Lapid explained, “It happened because we decided not to be a victim. We chose not to dwell on the pain of the past. But rather to focus on the hope of the future. We chose to invest our energies into building a nation. Into building a happy society, optimistic and creative.”
Perhaps there are some lessons Nagas can glean from their experience. Can Nagas decide to stop being a victim? Can Nagas start looking at Naga reconciliation as a prudent means through which Nagas can chart their own destiny and be makers of their own future? Yes, Reconciliation involves transforming broken relationships and creating the space for truth, forgiveness, justice and peace to meet in trust and harmony. Yet reconciliation is so much more. It is about exploring and creating common ground, which in turn must be translated into a relationship of commitment and collaboration. After all, collaboration is about working with others to produce something together and achieve shared goals that benefit everyone. Truly, this is unity in purpose.
Now is the time for Naga leaders to genuinely pursue unity in purpose, harness positive energy in finding common ground, and developing a collaborative mechanism to define a geopolitical history determined by people and rights.