Unfortunately such misunderstandings commonly erupt into violence. One has but look at the conflict that has occurred in Palestine for thousands of years to understand that cultural disagreements and right to ownership is a constant source of behavioral and cultural tension among peoples. Multiple factors motivate such tribes to fight for what they believe is legally or rightly theirs, particularly religious and strong cultural beliefs.
Problems often ensue when one group is unwilling to compromise on their stand or on their values, cognitions and motivation for pursuing a particular claim. In the case of the Assam tribal feud for example, varying militia groups have become involved in the conflict, claiming to represent either the Karbis or the Dimasas. Unfortunately in many cases like this the innocent again often end up severely injured or dead. Most of the dead reported in Assam include women and children or the elderly.
In this particular case feud survivors are now fleeing and in search of physical security in the face of increasing military armament and disagreement. People living within the area live in constant fear of recurring attacks, food shortages and other problems associated with long-term cultural clashes.
Cultural conflicts and misunderstandings commonly occur within homogenous populations and among people of varying cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Many times the source of conflict is a simple lack of understanding, knowledge or communication between two or more groups.
This is demonstrated in part by the abhorrent treatment U.S. soldiers delivered to Arab prisoners in Abu Ghraib. In this case lack of sensitivity toward some Arab cultural beliefs contributed to a problem that had already received too much press and had gotten out of hand. Sensitivity training and diversity training may have alleviated some of the harsh consequences faced by soldiers acting in this situation.
Other times a clash exists between minority groups and the population at large. In the case of suicide bombers few would argue that the actions of suicide bombers is forgivable or justifiable. In most cases these actions are largely considered acts of terror. But the individuals participating in suicide bombings are often motivated and influenced by strong cultural and religious beliefs. Some groups as pointed out in the article, including members of the Hamas believe that they will enjoy many rewards in the afterlife for their actions. This case demonstrates how some motivations and beliefs may be displaced, but still result in grave social and worldwide consequences.
In still other cases cultural classes occur within a more homogenous group. Intracultural conflicts are common and usually result when varying tribes within a similar culture do not agree or share the same values and beliefs. This is the case among the tribes in Assam, South Asia where varying tribe members are now engaging in battle to assert their authority over tribal and cultural practices. In these cases unfortunately cultural conflicts often result in militant activities and violence. Such violence more often than not does not solve the problems occurring within the cultures, but often results in harm to innocent victims and the deaths of women, children and the elderly.
These articles clearly demonstrate the need on several levels for more cross cultural understanding and training. Perhaps the first place to start with such training is the military, as more often than not military members are involved in cross cultural conflicts. Sensitivity and diversity training as well as greater attention toward communication might enable better collaboration and more willing participation among groups even when differences of beliefs or opinions exist. This in turn may reduce the level of violence currently associated with inter and intracultural differences and problems.
Bhaumik, S. (2005 - Oct). "Thousands flee Assam tribal feud." BBC News, Guwahati.