THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by Bertolt Brecht
SUMMER OF 1945: Ruins of the Caucasian Village
After the second World War, members of two Collective Farms- Collective Goat Farm Rosa Luxemburg and Collective Fruit Farm Galinsk dispute over the Rosa Luxemburg farm which belongs to the Collective Goat Farm. A delegate is sent from the State Reconstruction Commission from Tiflis to oversee the resolution of the matter.
The Goat Farmers are resolute that the land belong to them because: they used to inhabit the land before the world war broke out, their goats do not produce good cheese because of the difference in grass between where they live and Rosa Luxemburg (pg8), it does not smell of morning in the morning where they were moved(pg8), they want to come back home to their neighbours that is, members of the Collective Fruit Farm(pg9) and their houses are not that destroyed so it will save the government funds for reconstruction. (pg9) All these excuses are given by THE OLD MAN ON THE RIGHT who insists that the valley belongs to them by law. He is supported by the PEASANT WOMAN, RIGHT.
The members of the Collective Fruit Farm, Galinsk led by KATO and GIRL TRACTORIST, in their defense on why they need the Rosa Luxemburg Farm come up with elaborate plans which they drew during the war on how, if given the disputed land, will make the area more productive through irrigation. Their plan will only work well if the disputed farm were included.(pg10) Everyone is excited to see the plans except the OLD MAN, RIGHT.
After the two Collective Farms have submitted their reasons to the delegate, the matter is resolved that the land be given to the Collective Fruit Farm, Galinsk. Thereafter, a musician, ARKADI comes to perform a song to celebrate the peaceful resolution of the matter.
The kind of arbitration we see in this act is raise the question on heavy issues on conflict resolution which in Africa, especially those concerning land, have left bloodshed and bitter wounds. In Kenya for example, anger is always shown during or after elections where the pain of certain community loosing land is gushed in violent bloodshed. It is evident that, those in leadership are procrastinating with the resolution of this thorny issue for political reasons.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE PROLOGUE
1. The assembly of the two collective farms.
2. Role play shown when the warring collective farms presented their reasons on why they should have ROSA LUXEMBURG.
3. Peaceful settlement and celebration of both parties
QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER ONE
1. Outline the problems affecting effective conflict resolution in Africa.
2. Compare the works of KOFI ANNAN in conflict resolution in KENYA to the work done by the DELEGATE from TIFLIS
OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER ONE
1. Role play is a significant tool in conflict resolution, evidently it is also important to allow dialogue which is based on mature analysis of all that is presented. As a good negotiator, one needs to be at ease with both faction and engage with them at the interpersonal level. The DELEGATE engages the two collective farms as a friend and not professional negotiator.
2. Time is of essence in conflict resolution, allowing too much time dilutes or inflames the two warring parties as seen in the time allocated within the prologue.
AKOKO’s marriage to chief AWOUR KEMBO is and exemplary marriage which epitomizes respect and understanding from each partner. It is a marriage that one can describe as a marriage ordained from the word go. Essentially many picture love as the cornerstone of any successful marriage. It is not a myth though, love is a glue that unites a relationship.
It is common knowledge that AKOKO and KEMBO never dated but what stands out is, the magnetic pull with which OWUOR KEMBO was compelled to paying 30 heads of cattle unflinchingly. Much less their marriage became astonishingly successful.
I would digress from the above question and point out that, if the meaning of love is looked along the line of dating and being allowed to make a choice on who you want to marry, then, that kind of love is irrelevant. But if love, is based on understanding each other then, love is always a key ingredient in successful marriages.
Therefore on the grounds of my first definition of love, I would agree that, love is not that important in successful marriages. AKOKO did not choose a suitor for herserlf. It was rather her father who set the rules of engagement. In fact the chief, ODERO GOGNI, had established that, she would only marry a son of a chief and that she should be a MIKAI. All this rules were to fulfill ODERO GOGNI’s selfish ambitions, they never focused on the interest of AKOKO, the girl to be married of.
On the other hand, OWUOR KEMBO was in dire need of a MIKAI. His evaluation of the girl was based on hearsay from the JAWANG’YO (spy) who had been sent to look for a suitor. This establishes the fact that, even the man himself never knew the girl he intended to marry especially in circumstances like those of OWUOR KEMBO. He only saw AKOKO for the first time when she had been called to come and greet the guests.
Even after the ‘inspection’ AKOKO had no say in the matter until the time she was married off. In the present society it would be weird to go of with a stranger because of the dictates of the society.
NYABERA, the daughter of AKOKO is too married of to OKUMU without question for picayune reason that OKUMU was near home and so she would be around to help her mother when help is needed. She seem contented in her marriage despite the unfortunate incidents of death which claimed her children. Without question, when her husband dies, she is inherited. She commits to her new association with dedication until OGOMA KWACH, forsakes his family to be with her.
From the above relationships, the society dictates the rules of engagements and the two parties do not really know what they are getting to. The submissively bow to culture and as seen manage to make their relationships work.
However, in the generation of MARK ANTHONY OLOO SIGU, there is a slight digress from the norm. MARK spots ELIZABETH AWITI and declares his love for her before the elders from the two clans could meet and negotiate. Similarly, AORO SIGU, proposes to his long time girlfriend, WANDIA MUGO before the two can even meet their parents. Despite the change in the tradition of the institution of marriage, the two relationships manage to have successful matrimony.
In the case of VERA and ANTHONY MUHAMBE, their steady love is mired with VERA’s educational ambitions. It crumbles and VERA joins OPUS DEI. REBECCAH (BECKY) has love for money. We do not exactly know whether she loved JOHN COURTNEY, but the fact that she married him and was wounded when he left shows that there was love between them. VERA in fact admires the love between them when she pays them a visit after breaking up with MUHAMBE. This union crumbles due to infidelity.
In conclusion, successful marriages, even devoid love, heavily depends on the devotion of the two parties involved, sacrifice and understanding. MARK, after cheating on his wife bowed to shame and moved on with life forgetting the sad incident. AWITI hearing the rumours chose to bury all and kept on a stoic face. OWUOR KEMBO, even though his wife was hard at give birth chose to be with her as her sole companion.