SOMEWHERE—Sources confirmed yesterday that a series of riots, bombings, and urban firefights has left hundreds dead and many more wounded in the latest flare-up in the long-standing conflict between the pro-something group and the anti-something group.
The latest round of bloodletting, which comes after weeks of public demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, was reportedly sparked by renewed vows from pro-something leaders to get the thing they want, a thing that anti-something leaders have long insisted their opponents cannot rightfully claim.
“We must and will respond when provoked,” said a spokesman for the pro-somethings in a statement released to the media. “We cannot sit idly by while our supporters are killed by an enemy determined to [do what we oppose].”
According to sources, what began earlier in the day as crowds of pro-something and anti-something protesters chanting pro-something and anti-something slogans quickly devolved into rocks being thrown from both sides. Witnesses confirmed that the Anti-Something Militia and Pro-Something Guard soon joined in with live ammunition, fanning the flames as they each carried out larger-scale operations well into the night.
In response, members of the diplomatic community have condemned the latest escalation of violence, calling for the anti-somethings and the pro-somethings to lay down their weapons and resume talks.
“These acts of aggression are unacceptable,” said a U.N. official in a statement carefully worded so as not to suggest any strong allegiance either in support of or in opposition to the pro-something faction. “Therefore, we ask that both sides cease their assaults and initiate an open dialogue. Only then can there be any hope for a solution.”
This week’s fighting reportedly marks the first incident since the groups signed last year’s widely publicized accords, which stated that while neither side may do the thing they want, they are prohibited from stopping the other group from doing the thing that they want—an agreement leaders from both sides hailed as a significant step toward peace.
However, citing the attacks as a possible retaliation for last year’s pro-something incursion—which was itself retribution for the anti-something offensive from the year before—experts say that the recent bloodshed is merely the newest chapter of an intractable conflict that has spanned several centuries.
“It’s important to recognize that these people have been raised their entire lives to demonize each other,” said a renowned scholar who recently returned from a trip to the region. “The two sides in this conflict have been fighting over [a thing that one group wants and the other group does not want] for generations. It’s simply part of their identity.”
Academics noted that to truly understand the Anti-Pro conflict, one must consider the conflict’s historical background, including the social issues, governmental structures, geopolitical alliances, education, access to health care, sanitation, economics, role of women, flow of illegal arms, ethnicity, and religion.
Additionally, sources said, it is important to note the internal strife being faced by other players in the region, who are currently working to maintain their own tenuous peace between their pro-something and anti-something groups.
“Unfortunately, despite pressure from [anti-somethings and pro-somethings living abroad], a full-scale intervention from the international community remains unlikely,” said an expert who is well acquainted with the agendas of both those who want a thing to happen and those who don’t want a thing to happen. “Given the great complexity of the situation, we may be looking at a long and violent stalemate.”