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.