Cycle of violence
In the cartoon you have seen a complete cycle of violence. A good metaphor to explain the processes of conflict is the life cycle of a fire. Read about each stage in this cycle and the part of the story that represents this stage.
Stage 1: Gathering materials for the fire
Before a fire is started, materials for the fire are collected. Some of these materials are dry and ready to burn. There will not be a fire before someone lights it, but the materials are there.
This stands for a potential conflict. Flammable materials in a social conflict may be injustice, inequality or a fundamental difference in goals. In a smaller context, the same ingredients apply.
In this part of the story it becomes clear that Ebei and Oti already feel that they are a minority in the school based on their tribe. Even though this has not been a problem before it is a situation that needs very little to be turned into an argument.
Stage 2: Fire is lit
In the next stage someone strikes a match. The fire starts to burn. The driest materials, collected in the first stage, catch fire first.
In a conflict, the start of the fire is the confrontation. This can be a confrontation between political parties, like a large public demonstration. Social unrest may explode. At a lower level, a certain mean remark may be the match sparks off the fight.
This is the first spark in that list the fire. But there are many more in the story, such as the cartoon, the encounter with Onyancha...all these sparks together make the fire burn.
Stage 3: Raging fire
The fire burns as far and fast as it can, burning wildly out of control. Even the materials that were not to dry in the beginning, can be captured by the raging fire.
In terms of a conflict: the confrontation reaches a bigger crisis. In the largest context, we speak of war. At a lower level, you could think of a someone engaging in fights structurally, involving more and more peers and getting angry about all kinds of other things that had been under the surface before.
Here the fire has really started to rage, it has turned violent and other people are getting involved.
Stage 4: Glowing coal
At some point, the fire shrinks. All the fuel is burned. The flames largely vanish but coals continue to glow. The fire seems to have disappeared, but new fuel would immediately bring back the flames.
This stands for an unresolved conflict. The signs of conflict may have died out, but the conflict is still alive. In this stage, a conflict can either continue or cool down to a peaceful level. But new ‘fuel’ would
At this point the actual fighting has cooled down but the conflict hasn't been resolved yet.
Stage 5: Everything cool again
In the end, all fires go out; no more flames and no more burning coals. Everything is cool again. The ashes remain. What is burnt is lost, but the place where the fire was, is now safe.
In this final stage of conflict, it is time to rebuild what has been lost and let new things grow on the scorched earth.
At this point the fire has been completely cooled down, now it is crucial to be open and talk about what happened to prevent another cycle of violence!